Saturday, October 29, 2011

Victoria aut Mors - Mike O'Dowd

The phrase "boxing hotbed" is one of those fight terms that gets thrown about with ease whether the user truly understands its meaning or not - like "shot," "exposed" and "ring generalship." 

There aren't many boxing hotbeds around right now, be it for lack of overall interest in the sport, or maybe even times just not being quite as tough as in previous eras. 

If asked which cities or regions of the U.S. frequently churn out young talent, the Great Lakes area probably wouldn't make the cut. 

For instance, Minnesota's finest crop in the last 20 or more years has been Will Grigsby, Jason Litzau and maybe Matt Vanda - not exactly the Murderer's Row of the fight game. 

Such wasn't always the case though. In the early 1900's, states like Wisconsin and Minnesota were not only producing respectable fighters (and a few very, very good ones), they were also included in the battle grounds of boxing legislation in that part of the country. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hopkins vs. Dawson - A Lost Battle

Photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews

As the mismanagement of boxing by those with say-so continues, its infrastructure a convoluted pile, the average fan's need for clarity remains an important factor in allowing sanity and boxing fanaticism to occupy the same gray matter. 

It doesn't take a fight game veteran to recognize which styles should be matched together. But absent aesthetically pleasing brawls, oft overlooked is the actual importance of a fight. 

Bloodshed is welcome, as are in-ring displays of primal brutality. While a high level of skill and/or class don't seem to be determining factors in what makes for a fun fight, many of the best smash-ups were fights that meant something. 

In the lead-up to the Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson fight, its importance to the light heavyweight division is a side conversation, riding shotgun to low expectations of the main event, and disappointing box office sales. 

It's not that much hinges on the outcome from an outside perspective, and many aren't interested period. However, it does bring clarity to a division that has threatened to become exciting and more relevant a few times in the last decade.