Beautiful Brutality: Part One

Beautiful Brutality: Part One
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr., Doghouse Boxing (Oct 29, 2012) Doghouse Boxing

Beautiful Brutality
There is something magical about two combatants squaring off in a fight, whether the two are going toe to toe in a ring or cage, it offers up something much more than any other sport in the world. I most certainly respect other sports organizations, such as the NFL, NBA, or MLB, etc. But the manly art of self-defense, or also referred to as the “sweet science”, has that special little ump to it. Maybe it is because that it is man versus man; warrior takes on warrior kind of scenario. All though you have a team in the fight game, when that bell rings, you do not have somebody blocking for you, if you miss the beat, you taste leather, and there is nobody to blame but yourself.

Men have been fighting since the beginning of time; we have waged war for power, for protection, for land, and in the story of Cain and Abel, jealousy. As soon as a baby can make a fist, and throw a punch, they were smacking somebody for a toy. Long before there were gloves and protective gear, Gladiator’s inflicted pain on one another for sport, for their country, their land and their people. Hordes of people would gather to witness the brutality; the gentlemen’s sport has not been so gentle.

The Evolution of Fighting

For centuries prize fighting has been passed down from bare knuckle boxing, to Olympic Amateur boxing in 1908, men were gloved, rounds and rules were created, sanctioning bodies were created, champions where crowned, promoters thrived, and the fans kept coming, to see the blood and the brawn.

Also as time went by, the fight game evolved, it was not just two men trying to knock one another unconscious, strategies were thought of, styles were created, and a fighter learned his craft and tweaked his technique.

Boxers, brawlers, inside, outside fighters, counter punchers, everybody loves a slugger!

The sport of boxing has filled arenas, stadiums, casino’s for years now, legends have been born and names such as, Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Jack Johnson, Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, and countless others, have been somewhat immortalized.

My Era

My earliest memory of boxing was with my Papa Shields sitting in his trailer in Central Texas, between 1982-1984, I could not tell you who was fighting, but just the time with my Papa, was something else, and to see his face while these two beat the piss out of each other, it amazed me. Later on I found out through my mother that my granddad was a pugilist in the US Army, that sparked something in me, a sense of pride, a sense of, man, my papa, was a true fighter.

I was not blessed to grow up in the day of Joe Luis, or take a seat at Madison Square Garden back in the hay day, I did not get to cover great match-up’s such has Haggler vs. Hearns, or Chavez vs. Taylor. But, boy was I was electrified with “Kid Dynamite”, better known as, “Iron” Mike Tyson. To see this man who did not even stand six foot tall, putting fear in people’s hearts, dropping foe like flies, it took ahold of me, I wanted to be like Mike, and not the one with the last name of Jordon.

Now people can debate the greatest era of boxing, the most popular weight class, the legendary fighters, who the greatest is etc. My era, well, it was the 90’s heavyweights.

Tommy Morrison, Lennox Lewis, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, just to name a few, and most importantly, USA’s Tuesday Night Fights. Boxing was hot, it was thriving, Tyson was about to get out of prison and the fight world was ready for him to reign as he once did. But all though Tyson would once be crowned champion again, the king would be denied any reign, Holyfield took care of that in two unforgettable bouts, the later going down in history as the “ear biting” incident. All though boxing was still thriving with fighters such as Oscar De La Hoya, and Roy James Jr. A new fighting experience was lurking in the shadows, and would take the world on, and boxing head to head.

Mixed Martial Arts

Who was not a fan of Bruce Lee? We know many MMA disciplines have been around for ages, but the world was out for a shock when the UFC came rolling in as a sleeping giant.

My brother E.J. and I were at our local video store in Odessa, TX, yes, I said video store. It was around 1994, we came across something called The Ultimate Fighting Championship, so we rented it, and all though we both enjoyed it, I believe I was more blown away with the fighting styles and tactics. You see, I spoke on earlier how the fight game evolved, it was brutal back in the day, then regulated, and UFC seemed to bring back the brutality.  

To witness a man knee his opponent in his face, to ground and pound, or choke one another out, it captivated people, sort of like a shock jock, the UFC was the Howard Stern of the fight game, just not as raunchy.

So many men came from all parts of the world and popularized the sports of boxing, a few like Joe Luis, Larry Holmes, and Arturo Gatti became legends, and as boxing, the UFC has had its share of notables.

Royce Gracie, Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock, Randy Couture, and a handful of others have been crowned legends in the MMA, and the popularity of the UFC has grown to epic proportion. Smaller organizations have popped up everywhere; the cool kids are the ones fighting in the cage. The Ultimate Fighter reached out to a younger audience, suddenly being a tattooed, muscled up, hair dyed freak, who fought in the cage, made you popular. A slew of young men as well as women were wearing Tap Out T-Shirts. And with brash, out spoken, Dana White heading the UFC, the debate begun…was the UFC going to be the death of boxing?

Continued… Beautiful Brutality: Part Two Benny Henderson Jr

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