By Michael Benjamin
There are always interesting anecdotes making their rounds in boxing that lends a lighter side to the fistic sport. One of the popular ones is of the boxer who went out upon the bell to be met with several crunching punches that caused his lips to balloon to a size. He returned to his corner, anticipating sound advice from his coach only to be told that, “You’re doing well my son, that joker cannot even touch you!” The pugilist returned to the fray, received another dose of the same treatment and returned to his corner to a similar analysis by his coach. The hapless boxer barely made it to his corner at the end of the fourth round only for his coach to pronounce, “You’re moving smoothly champ; he can hardly touch you; keep it that way.” Unable to contain himself any longer, the boxer, battered face and all, turned to his coach and blurted, “Well coach, if duh man ain’t knocking me ah want yo keep a eye pon de referee because somebody out there beating the hell out of me!”
There is something about the fistic sport that causes its participants to rationalize, sometimes along insane lines, in explaining situations in the square jungle. I remember, years ago, when the crowds trooped to the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall and witnessed classic slugfests that formed the topic of discussions long after the final bell had sounded. During a particular bout, both boxers stood centre ring, engaged in wicked exchanges when one of them abruptly stopped punching and walked back to his corner. Puzzled, the referee followed him and enquired if he had quit. With a bewildered look on his face, the boxer swore that he had heard the bell. It turned out that he had merely heard his ears bell resonating after he had received a wicked three punch combination.
There are so many anecdotes making their rounds in this fistic sport that one wonders how it could ever be considered a boring vocation.
Boxers are often referred to as braggarts; always promising all kinds of evil to their opponents. I guess it’s the only activity where someone could ‘murder his/her opponent (with blows)’ and not have to answer to the law. I remember the tale of the young pugilist who was regarded as the worst wife beater. Every night one could hear moans and groans, interspersed with wicked clouts, emanating from his apartment. One night, after one such session, the boxer emerged from his home but surprisingly, he was the one with bruises all over his body and face. Puzzled, his buddy asked him if he was the one on the receiving end of the blows. “Who, me?” he queried incredulously, “I had she begging pon she knees. “Oh yeah!” his buddy scoffed, “and what was she saying?”
“Well she was begging me to come from under the bed,” the boxer sheepishly replied.
Yes, boxing is indeed a sport for those with huge hearts but sometimes some pugilists turn out to be big babies with equally big gaps in their faces that they use to spew rhetoric. I’ve heard boxers at press conferences outlining what they had in store for their opponents; words that would attract the attention of the courts were it not for the special immunity these pugilists enjoyed. Notwithstanding, there are some boxers that are totally confused and are not even aware of who their respective opponents are.
A classic case occurred during a press conference when the two boxers comprising the main bout were quizzed of their plans and intentions. One, an ardent Christian replied, “Well, to tell you the truth, I will enter the ring wrapped in God’s armour and he will see me through.” The other pugilist, of Rastafarian faith, thumped his chest and bellowed, “Jah is I and I strength and protector; he will set I and I free from the enemy; victory is mine; Jah Rastafari.” All this time, the promoter, with a concerned look on his face was heard wondering aloud if he had signed the wrong pugilists; they were both abdicating their responsibilities to two unseen forces, maybe just in case something went wrong.
Then there was the boxer that signed his contract but on fight night decided that he was not satisfied with his purse. He complained to all and sundry but no one took him seriously. When his turn came to enter the ring, he was nowhere to be found. It was later discovered that after being issued with his gloves for the bout, the boxer simply placed the equipment on the table in the dressing room, left the venue and was last seen in a bus heading for the Stabroek Market. Officials surmised that he had lost his nerve or worse yet, his head. Less than one month later, prophesy was eerily fulfilled after that boxer was murdered in Berbice—his assailant had chopped off his head after they had a confrontation.
Boxers are always on the caustic end of wisecracks when it comes to speechifying but while some pugilists use unconventional jargon to dispel such claims one could not help but be tickled by the response of a certain pugilist to his interviewer just after winning his fight. He was asked, “So now that you’ve won this bout, where do you go from here?”
Taking a deep breath and oozing self-confidence, my pugilistic friend replied, “I am heading home for a bath, a big meal and a well-deserved rest.”
Another boxer, clearly bent on receiving the large purse, decided to do just enough to earn it and after receiving a tame one two combination, threw himself to the canvass while the ‘third man’ tolled away the count. When the referee reached nine, the boxer peeped out from swollen eyes and muttered, “You could count from nine to ninety nine, I ain’t getting up.” Notwithstanding, amidst all the fun poked at our pugilistic friends, they still find time for a delightful sense of humour but while some have demonstrated adeptness for this trait, some have been known to have no sense and a lot of humour as in the case of one pugilist who was diagnosed with an ailing heart condition. His opponent had complained to reporters, “dis man bragging an boasting but his heart is just not in the fight.
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