I'm certain I enjoyed this fight card way more than I will this weekend's De La Hoya v. Mayweather ego-rama glitz bout.
A local gym sponsored an outdoor Junior Olympics and novice fight card this past Saturday. I went to support the amateur team affiliated with my gym and trainer. Really a great time. The boxing crowd is the biggest cross-section of America there is, I am convinced, and facinating to people-watch. Fans came by Porsche Carerra, "hooptie", and on foot. White, Black, Latino, and Asian. Male and female. College educated, street educated, and a little crazy. In fighting shape and with the aid of a cane. Yet all wanting the same thing.... to see the sweet science practiced in person. My "notebook" from the event...
Squealing is universal. Preteen and teen girls squeal at boxing matches like they do at dance or acrobatics recitals. They squeal for anything really. They are as prissy outside the ring as they are ferocious in the ring.
High School Boxing Team? I really think boxing could be a high school sport if it is regulated properly. So many high school sports depend on size and height, but in boxing you can compete at any height or weight, so more kids could be involved in sports. There were easily 75 to 100 kids from across the state there affiliated with different clubs.
Thank goodness...Junior Olympics referees have a lot of latitude to halt a fight or call a time out if a kid gets rattled too hard, which is good to see. By the way, all JO fights require full headgear, mouthpieces, approved gloves, and a physician on site at all times.
Gotta Love It. My favorite luminaries in the crowd were the West Indian couple who were arguing because the husband talked to much and was drinking whiskey out of a soda bottle. She told the guy to shut up before he'd even sit down good.
Matchups. I still am mystified by the matching process for bouts. It is surprisingly loosley managed. It appears to be show up and hope you have someone in your weight class to fight. I just can't imagine this for tennis or any organized team sport. If anyone can shed light on this it would be helpful.
Double Elimination. The best bout I saw ended with both fighters going to the hospital to be treated for dehydration. The reason is it epitomized what the sport is about, giving all you have and leaving it in the ring. These guys were maybe 16. One kids' coach told me he was trying to impress upon his fighter the importance of discipline and training for the sport vs. street fighting skills. I would say after this bout he has learned that lesson. His opponent was more technically skilled, and the local fighter realized quickly that the wild haymakers he started with were not going to help him win. By the 2nd round he'd settled down and fought as he'd been taught to. Just before the final bell, one fighter just collapesed in exhaustion on the ropes. I'd call it a draw, but again it was refreshing to see kids fighting for the love of the sport.