You haven’t really watched boxing until you watch it with 30 drunk Mexican dudes crammed into a makeshift garage in Historic Filipinotown. But that’s what I did a few weeks ago when Manny Pacquiao fought Miguel Cotto for the WBO Welterweight title.
I’m not even really sure how I got there. Iowa lost to Ohio State in overtime earlier in the day and my neighbor Pablo, a punch-drunk former boxer in his own right, asked me if I wanted to go with him down the block to watch the fight. I decided to go. Mostly because I was already drunk and had no reason to say no. It could be hilarious, right?
My neighborhood is predominantly Hispanic and I’ve heard the neighborhood hoopla surrounding fights in the past, so I was curious. I’d also recalled watching interviews with Louis CK, Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy talking about how much they loved boxing. I’d also revisited Richard Pryor’s bit about the Ali-Spinks fight from Live in Concert. ESPN also just had a great 30 for 30 documentary on Ali-Holmes, which led me to rewatch When We Were Kings, Tyson, and a 10 part YouTube viewing of “The Thrilla in Manilla” documentary.
Fast forward to November 14th and I’m drinking Corona in front of a big screen TV in a garage with a bunch of strangers who don’t speak English. And I loved it.
If you would have asked me 3 weeks ago who the heavyweight champion of the world was, I’d have no idea. Now I want to see the Klitschko brothers beat the shit out of each other for my entertainment. I’m watching clips from HBO’s boxing podcast off of iTunes and reading blogs all over the Internet. I have no idea what’s wrong with me. But I do know that the top two fighters in the world, pound-for-pound, are Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. And when their 2010 fight gets announced, I’ll be just as excited as everybody else. That’s a boxing opinion!
I’ve heard people theorize in the past about the similarities between boxing to stand-up comedy. Maybe that’s what drew me in. Maybe I have a Mad Men-induced ideal of drinking whiskey and getting into boxing and horse racing to go along with my obsession with baseball. I really don’t know… Because that means I’d also have to get into horse racing. But for whatever reason, I’m loving something I couldn’t have cared less about a few months ago. Who’s jumping on the bandwagon with me? Nobody? Fine. More room in the Mexican garage for me.