NOTE: Though this blog was originally about the production of a grappling movie, it now encompasses news and thoughts about fight sports and my personal training for fight sports such as submission grappling, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and various types of medieval armored combat and "historical fencing.")
Lat night I found
myself at a time and place and financial situation that I felt like
watching the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor.
So I did..
It was a very interesting night of boxing,
more interesting than several UFC nights I have seen. Not only was the
boxing technique displayed at a high level,but also the fight science
was very sound.
On top of that, the main event did not
disappoint. It was billed at the most anticipated fight of all time,
between a flamboyant, outspoken, controversial MMA fighter, and a
flamboyant, controversial boxing champions. But there were also three
other bouts broadcast on the Pay-Per-View program at the bar where I
Cruiserweight: Andrew Tabiti def. Steve
Cunningham. This was the first bout of the night. Tabiti had speed
and agility on his side. Cunningham was aggressive early, but lost his
effectiveness as the fight went on. At the end of the bout, when Tabiti
was awarded the win by the judges, a guy who was practically cosplaying
McGregor said that Tabiti did a great job controlling the fight, that he
had figured out Cunningham and just picked him apart. I could see that,
Tabiti had fought with a very open guard. His
fists were not close together in front of his face, as you might think
boxer would do. Cunningham, on the other hand held that pose for most of
the fight. Tabiti repeatedly picked this guard apart. He would shot a
left jab between those hands, bringing Cunningham's arms higher. Then he
would deliver a right hook to the body that would shake up Cunningham.
This would bring the arms down again, Then Tabiti would either deliver a
blow to the head or body with a left or right that would finish the
combination. Cunningham did not have an answer for this.
Light heavyweight: Badou Jack def. Nathan Cleverly
Cleverly, the champion of this division, entered with a black headband
that reminding me of nothing less that Ralph Macchio's adversary in
Karate Kid. The fighters looked to be even, matching each other with
quick, short, technically excellent combinations. I was distracted by
certain other peple at the bar, so I did not watch much else of the
fight. I did look up in time for the fifth round, however, where I
noticed that Jack was getting the advantage on Cleverly. He was landing
blows repeatedly as the champion bobbed and weaved in an attempt to not
Jack treated Cleverly's head like one of those
rubber ball-shaped speed bags that are elastically tethered to the
floor and ceiling. He would time the bob, measure the weave, and nail
Cleverly's head right when it came to the apex of its move. Eventually
the referee saw that Cleverly was not able to compose a counterattack to
Jack's offense, and stepped in to stop the fight. This gave Jack the
championship of the Light Heavyweight division.
Junior lightweight: Gervonta Davis def. Francisco Fonseca
was a wild fight! Apparently Davis is a bit of a loose cannon. He
entered the ring wearing a blue fuzzy hood, and had the same blue fake
fur on the sides of his trunks. He certainly was loose in the match. At
one point the Davis got his weight below Fonsceca, his arms around his
legs, and lifted him up as if he was going to dump him on the ground.
The referee stopped this, of course, but it definitely colored my
impression of him, and made me want to see him get beat.
feeling was increased by Davis' style of holding his hands behind his
back and sticking his chin out, daring Fonseca to knock his block off.
really wanted to see Davis' wildness and unsportsmanlike conduct be
defeated by control and skill from Fonseca, but instead of that
happening, Fonseca fought hard, but not well enough. After a blow that
passed over his head contacting the back of his head and neck with
David's arm, Fonseca fell to his knees. He grabbed Davis around the
waist until the referee broke up the engagement and started counting
Though the blow did not seem that hard,
Davis could not get up. He stayed on all fours, trying desperately to
bring some life back to his legs, for the duration of the count.
have seen a fighter in the Armored Combat League literally collapse
from exhaustion in the middle of the fight. His body just quit on him. It just up and shut down right there in the ring. Sometimes you can push the
body too far.That's what it looked like happened to Davis to me. He
simply pushed his body to far, and it shut down.
Super welterweight: Floyd Mayweather Jr. def. Conor McGregor
was what everyone came to see. Two flamboyant, loud-mouthes fighters
with attitude punch each other silly. Could an MMA fighter focus enough
on boxing skills to stay in the ring with a boxing champion? Was
Mayweather past his prime? These were just a few of the questions going
into the fight, but the smart money was on the guy with the 49-0 record.
came on early, aggressively striking Mayweather with well-targeted
punches. His style was...unorthodox, you might say, which is to be
expected. His MMA style is unorthodox. He trains to move as his body
wills and focuses those movements into strikes and grappling, so a sport
like boxing, which limits your toolset to that which enables you to
punch the head and torso, will be awkward.
Some of this
awkwardness really showed when McGregor would wind up taking
Mayweather's back, and pummeling him on the back of the head. Such a
move is not exactly allowed in boxing, and the referee had his hands
full trying to keep that sort of thing to a minimum.
also showboated a little bit, putting his hands behind his back and
sticking his chin out like Davis had in the match before. Bu this
outcome was not the same.
Mayweather is a professional boxing champion. He has won every professional boxing match he has ever fought. He got this.
the fight went into the 6th, 7th, and 8th rounds, Mayweather's fists,
which had been quiet at the start, began to come to life. McGregor's
face started feeling the leather. It began to become obvious that he was
goingwhere he wanted to in the ring, that McGregor, despite being
taller and appearing to be more aggressive, was not really the one in
control of the situation.
Between the 9th
ant 10th rounds, I had to go to the bathroom. By that time I ahd been
standing on my feet at this bar/club for over three hours, and that was
after the better part o the day spent walking through a museum and
standing around in armor at a wedding (I got paid to "officiate" a "Game
of Thrones"-style wedding in Chicago that day as a knight. It was
awesome). I was fighting sleep and shifting my weight back and forth on
my feet. So I rushed down to the men's room and did my business as fast
as I could.
When I got back up to the club floor, the
place was erupting. Mayweather had turned it up a notch. He was pursuing
McGregor, and it was apparent that any time he sent his fists in the
direction of McGregor, they would land on his face and body. Mayweather
had been measuring McGregor the whole fight, figuring out his timing,
his style, his beats, his tells, and now he had the formula to defeat
the crazy Irishman.
More than that. McGregor was
gassed. His moves had lost precision, his hands were hanging low, and he
was breathing heavy. With each blow, the bearded, tattooed warrior's
coordination declined. His steps evolved into a stagger.
is a subtle difference between "obvious" and "apparent." I'm not sure
which of those terms indicates a greater degree than the other, but when
one became the other, the referee (who had spent a little extra time
before the bout explaining how he was going to be a stern, but
"hands-off" referee) stepped in between them and called the fight,
giving the victory to Floyd Mayweather by technical knockout.
It was a brilliant game plan, worthy of a champion, and it worked.
found this very interesting, fascinating and exciting, particularly
because I had been chatting all night with the Connor McGregor cosplay
who had bet a thousand dollars on him, and because the crowd was very
partisan, between the ones rooting for McGregor and the ones rooting for
Mayweather (the Mayweather fans were chanting "USA! USA!" While the
McGregor fans were of a diversity that would rival that of the "very
fine" people and everyone else who was allegedly or actually protesting
the removal of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville). I found it so
fascinating, in fact, that I feslt the urge to post on my Facebook
"For the record : Mayweather did what a champion does."
HOO-BOY! What a ruckus that raised!
I am not a man who watches TMZ religiously. Not do I tend to follow
celebrity news much at all. So I completely missed all that business
about Floyd Mayweather beating up women. Of course, my Facebook friends
did not forget. Below are a smattering of the responses from Facebook:
"Get lots and lots of money for achievements of questionable value?"
earned his money in the ring.....he might not have earned it anywhere
else and he is a shit human being....but he won fair and square"
he not brought so much money into the city of Las Vegas, it seems
highly unlikely that he would have received multiple sentences so far
below the norm for those crimes.
Had he not been a successful boxer, he would be in jail not in a ring.
Had he not been a successful boxer, he would be the statistic he deserves to be.
You cannot separate the boxer from the criminal misogynist. They're the same guy."
term "champion" is so hollow on him as to not apply. He is a very
skilled boxer. I hope someone karmas the crap out of him in a dark
HOLY FREAKIN' WOWSHITS! WHAT DID I JUST STEP INTO!?!
I felt a need to explain/defend myself...
my defense, in my casual awareness of the event last night and even
lesser awareness of boxing since Evander Holyfield lost his ear, i
watched the fight last night in a vaccuum. I was paying attention to the
techniqes, strategy, and fight science used.
I was intrigued by tho possibilities of a very successful mma fighter
stepping into a fight in which he was not allowed to use all of his
tools. Also, i had never seen Mayweather box before, and was wondering
what made him win so much. So i was ignorant of any other considerations
when i made my post."
...and the love just kept coming...
"Ok. So the answer is: "Fight an unworthy challenger in a fixed system where he gets his ass kicked for 5 rounds.""
poor sportsmanship by fighting people he knows he can beat? Accepts
challenges from good fighters after they are no longer in their prime?"
Sometimes you just can't win. Or even enjoy a professional prize fight.