Sunday, August 27, 2017

And thus ends the road production of the Great White Hype

Ramblings Post #339
There is thing, this feeling that you've been somewhere before or done something before called Deja vu. I sometimes get it when I get invited to a thing and I'm a little nervous but when I pull up realize that not only have I been there before but I had a great time. That feeling that this isn't wholly original...

When it was announced, I was inclined to believe that MMA fighter in the heart of his career could beat a retired boxer. But then I didn't really pay attention to it because I don't really watch MMA and boxing stopped being exciting once the Eastern European man mountains got their hands on the heavyweight title. To me, MMA was always the sport of people who think waiting at red light means pickup your cell phone - people who expect to be entertained every second without having to think about it. Not that there isn't tremendous skill in MMA, it's just that the format doesn't lend itself to long form strategy - it's really an all-in sport every outing. In contrast, boxing requires "thinking long." And while I can appreciate the smaller weight classes and the talent within, for this kid of another age I've always viewed the heavyweights as the big draw - and the dominance out by the Klitschkos sucked the excitement out of the room.

shot by photographer Idris Elba for Mayweather Prod.
But back to this fight - Money Mayweather, a undefeated boxer of great skill, versus the human form of the Tasmanian Devil in the form of Connor McGregor. Mayweather a champion whose fights weren't quite the draw they used to be fighting a Irishman who had never boxed professionally before. And suddenly it struck me - I'd already seen this movie starring Samuel L. Jackson. And I'll be damned if that movie's scheme didn't work again - only this time in real life.

The Great White Hype (1996) is a film starring the aforementioned Sam Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Jamie Foxx and Damon Wayans as the heavyweight champion of the world. Only this champ is so good his fights are boring and no one wants to wants to watch anymore. His manager the Sultan, played by Sam Jackson, with his back against the wall recalls that the most profitable fight in history was Holmes v Cooney, even as he proclaims "Cooney's jab couldn't even break wind." Thus the Sultan promises the champ that he'll find him a white boxing opponent, and if he can't find one he'll create one. Thus is birthed Mayweather vs. McGregor, er, sorry Roper v. Conklin, where here Conklin is the last person the champ lost to in his amateur days. Sultan finagles a title shot for Conklin, nicknames him Irish Terry Conklin and before the dust can settle the seats and pay-per-view are selling like hot cakes.

Sound familiar, doesn't it?

Now, while Mayweather didn't show up for the fight overweight and smoking in the corner between rounds like the champ in the Great White Hype, in his own way he didn't take the fight seriously. Oh, he trained, but then training is what he does really, with the one night fight events really more interruptions. No, training is Mayweather's job and he's good at it. And I don't mean the pre-fight head massage because well, hell, I'd like a pre-anything head massage so more power to him. I say he didn't take the fight seriously because of something I heard on ESPN the next morning. As the announcers sat around one reported that the day of the fight - around 4pm - Mayweather visited a local casino and tried to place a bet on himself. This is not as crazy as it sounds. He thinks he's gonna win, he's going to try to win, the money is green, so why not? Only it wasn't a straight bet, Mayweather tried to place a bet that he'd win the fight in nine and half rounds.

Now,  when they called it,  McGregor is despite what he said later in the locker room interview, is clearly almost out on his feet. He's weaving, he can't really defend himself and he's about to take another almost two minutes of damage. In the NINTH round.The exact round Mayweather tried to place a bet on him winning. The announcer indicated that had the casino let him place it, Mayweather would have won the bet by about thirty seconds. This is why you don't normally let athletes bet on themselves.

Now, I'm not saying the fight was fixed. In the movie Conklin really thought he could win, and I'm certain McGregor was pretty sure he could pull off the upset was well. He is a proud, game fighter, who was winning the early rounds. But even before I knew what I know now I was of the opinion that the longer the fight lasted the better Mayweather's chances. MMA fights are intense but shorter, and I didn't think McGregor had enough time to build up his endurance, which is crucial to boxing. But it seems like Floyd has the sweet science down to well, a science.

And thus end's the road production of the Great White Hype. We applaud Floyd Mayweather in his deal roles of Sultan and champ. Tax problems goodbye.

Barkeep, I'll need a bottle of your cheapest champagne...and funnel. 

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