“Where’s The Beef?”

10.29.04 - By Wray Edwards: With those words Clara Peller became an instant celebrity and an icon of fast-food advertising. When there is dominant talent in the Heavyweight Division, the beefers rule. Like him, or not, many of us, even to this day, get chills just watching Iron Mike enter the ring with his dangerous, animal magnetism and tragic potentials. Like them or not, whenever McCline, Golota, Vitali, or any other beast of the boxing savannah steps into the ring, we know there is always the possibility of a clash of titans..

Though many will decry the current crop, they are Our crop, and we should make the best of them we can. All things being equal, bigger IS better. Most women will tell you they’d like to be choked rather than tickled to death.

Given a choice, I would rather see a Heavyweight fight, than any other, if the opponents are, or were, benchmark performers in the history of the sport. “Shall I super-size that for you ma’am?” “Yes, yes, yes…oh God…oh God…yessssss!!”

Sailors on the decks of the British ships in pursuit of the German Mega-Battleship Bismarck watched in awe as they could literally see the 16” projectiles arcing through the air towards their fragile vessels. As they closed in, near the coast of France, to avenge the sinking of the
Hood, little mosquito-like bi-planes dropped torpedoes into the sea which eventually delivered the fatal body blows that sent the great dreadnought to the bottom. Punching power is where it’s at, and good heavies have the most of that commodity.

One of the really exciting things about Boxing is the differential between the fast and furious scraps of the lower weight classifications, and the awesome heavy guns of the higher weights. The sport always has the potential to deliver unique and surprising results along a wide spectrum of sizes and styles. Baseball, Football, Soccer and most other sports do not have the amazing continuum of personalities and separate divisions which give Boxing so much variety. Only auto racing holds a similar tension, where the specter of death and destruction are always so near. But even there, attempts are made to make the sport safer. Not so with Boxing.

Some people have preferences among the weight classifications, liking this or that division for its unique capacities and current personalities. But no contest in the world of single combat draws more attention and excitement, than monsters of the deep. When battlewagons of the ring heave into sight as they round the entrance door, their big guns cause deep feelings of anticipation and trepidation in the fans. The fans know a single shot, at any time, may hit the powder magazine or the combat information center and send one of these flagships of the boxing fleet to the bottom of the ring.

The sheer amplitude, of what are almost always telegraphed punches, leave our emotions glued to those great fisted arms as they gather momentum, from three or four feet away, to eventually land with frightening power. Someone said in reference to the Maginot Line (the French fortifications built to stop Germany should they ever attack again after WW I): “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity”. Mobility is not necessarily a standard attribute of these human siege weapons. The plan is to hope that your armor holds well enough for you to return fire.

Who will ever forget the ballistic energy in Danny William’s right, which wrought final destruction on Mike Tyson, even though it only struck Tyson’s glove? Never mind that Mike’s left was in the guard position. The incoming leather missile had so much momentum and vital power, that
it transferred lethal energy to his defensive shield, causing it, ironically, to become the engine of destruction which sunk the Iron Man’s hull.

When we get to the heavies we are watching the Boxing equivalent of thermo-nuclear war. Gone are the blurred flurries of the feathers, lights and welters. These guys test the limits of human survival; not with mere points scoring pity-pats, but with mind-altering crushers which would instantly kill normal human beings.

Heavies rare back and throw Volkswagens at each other. Boxing history is replete with images of human faces practically unrecognizable, as such, by one of these haymakers. Brewster’s left causing Wlad’s face to disfigure into a comic portrait of Al Bundy, as one poster put it; Ali’s salvos bringing instant, disfiguring cosmetic surgery to Chuvalo’s mug, and Sanders bravely leaning into the shocking power of Vitali’s battering ram fists, are just some examples of the magnitudes we see in the unlimited division.

There are, admittedly, problems in the heavyweight division. The alphabet sanctions, the nepotistic promoters, and the dearth of great rivalries, at present, have discouraged many who would vote for better times. Just be patient. They’re probably just over the horizon. This can’t go on forever. Nature abhors a vacuum, and pretty soon there will emerge dominant titans in the sport of boxing. As the fans, we hold in our hands the keys to the eventual success of the sport in general, and the unlimiteds in particular.

Our heroes are out there. They may be hiding, or about to emerge. They may be present fighters who have just not yet hit their stride…but they’re out there. There is a statistical probability that at least one of the fights on October 13th or Vitali/Wms on December 11th will turn into a great battle, with huge and powerful weapons being brought to bare on the two-legged fortresses who will ply the canvass for their pain and our pleasure. The snappy excitement of Trinidad/Mayorga, Morales/Hernandez or Corrales/Frietas must, at least for my purposes, be balanced by viewing, from time-to-time, the lumbering delivery of weapons of mass destruction which will shatter the tectonic plates of another boxer’s world.

There is something truly magnificent in watching the arcing beauty of heavyweight deliveries. The super-slow-mos are even better. Cock-fights are exciting but they lack the earth-mover quality which accompanies action by the capitol ships of the Boxing line. Speedboats flicking across the wave-tops can’t hold our attention for they are gone in a flash, and they don’t throw a roiling wake which rocks OUR boat. Give me a great big, leather-flinging Godzilla who can topple buildings and cause the natives to run in fear. Give me a writer who can mix metaphors without mercy, to extol the virtues of heavyweight heroes with a clear conscience, and I will give you some small inkling of how I love watching the big guys bring it.

So throw down for the Heavyweight PPV’s and let’s show everybody out there, boxers and other fans alike, that we support the big guns, and love to hear them roar.

Article posted on 29.10.2004

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