Scar Tissue Part 4: Imposters unmasked
By Jess E. Trail (January 27, 2005) 
For all serious boxing fans, a common dilemma we all face is the challenge of speaking with those who really know boxing at all. It could be an overall sports nut, or it could be just your average male who is attempting to project a supercharged macho image that solidifies a desperately sought reputation. Before we begin serious business, let’s take a look at the telltale signs that you are NOT speaking with an educated boxing fan.

You know you are talking to a fraudulent boxing fan when…

1. They ask who you think would’ve won a fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Bruce Lee.
- Real boxing fans don’t give a rat’s rectum about a match between Sugar Ray Leonard and Bruce Lee.
- And win what? A boxing match? A Winner-Take-All Death Match?

2. They tell you they would hate to meet Muhammad Ali in a dark alley.
-True boxing fans don’t think of Ali this way at all. He was the ultimate free-style artist in the ring. His mystique wasn’t about intimidation.

3. They are always telling you about awesome right hooks thrown by right-handed fighters.
- Just nod and smile. Don’t bother correcting them. I’ve done it before and it just serves to crush the male spirit. I have seen the reddened facial expression of silent and mutual acknowledgment of exposure and it is not pretty. It is as if they are exposed as a sissy… off in the distance, a dog always barks.

4. They describe how they just love boxing because they enjoy seeing two men get in the ring and “beat the hell out of each other.”
- Again, nod and smile. Resist the urge to explain the artistry and high-level strategy required of all world-class boxers. We enjoy a good brawl, but it goes far beyond the sentiments expressed.

5. They say that they would “get in the ring with Tyson (or insert alternate bad man) for $10 million.”
- These pizza eating sports lovers would, in all reality, wet their trunks, run from the ring before pre-fight instructions, be suspended by the state boxing commission and have their purse withheld for cowardice and breech of contract.

6. They talk endlessly about different subjects while you stare intensely at the television with your hands and feet moving involuntarily.

Drop me a line if you have a humorous or fascinating example of the dilemma outlined above.

I also wanted to take this edition of Scar Tissue and discuss a bit of the mail I have received. I have enjoyed it. Thank you for your responses.

First, and most importantly, a couple days ago I was thinking about the concept that I hold dear regarding all-time greats -- the avenging of defeats. At that point, the horror occurred to me that I had cruised through that subject regarding Joe Louis and had portrayed his first fight with Jersey Joe Walcott as a loss. It should have been a loss. Joe Louis’ reaction, both before and after the decision, was a rarity in boxing and a confession. And he gave Walcott a rematch and avenged it as if it were a loss. Of course, the decision was announced in favor of Louis. His example is one that should be observed in a tutorial on Exhibiting Class in the Ring. How many times have you seen someone raise their arms at the bell, when they were basically given a boxing clinic for 8, 10 or 12 rounds? Sometimes you see a fighter jump up on the corner post and flex after being clearly beaten.

I was curious to see the first email catching my error. Many thanks go out to boxing writer Ben Torres from Chicago for pointing this out in a recent email. Louis-Walcott I is far too significant to leave uncorrected. Yes, it was a figurative loss, but the integrity of our boxing records must not be mocked. Thanks again.

The numbers are in. Regarding the Ali-Louis dream match, of those expressing an opinion on the bout, 85% either totally or generally agreed, while 15% were, well, intensely opposed. Some were colorfully opposed. I enjoyed all the responses, entertaining and analyzing the disagreements as well as different angles and additional thoughts of those in agreement.

Now don’t forget, in dream matches, those who are ranked higher wouldn’t necessarily win in a heads up match. As stated before, ranking the greatest is in part about perception of accomplishment. It also cannot be missed that because a small great heavyweight from the past (many of them would’ve fought as cruisers today) may not have been able to overcome the size difference in some cases, doesn’t mean that their greatness should be diminished. For example, Jack Dempsey manhandled Jess Willard. Willard was very large, but he was like a big lumberjack. He wasn’t agile, graceful nor did he exhibit any special skills or a murderous punch. It wasn’t like Dempsey going up against Lennox Lewis. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not announcing a dream match or result here, just presenting the concept.

Once again, thank you for your feedback.

Also See: Scar Tissue Part 1: Louis vs. Ali
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 2: Holmes vs. Frazier
Also See: Scar Tissue Part 3: Liston vs. Foreman

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