In San Antonio two weeks ago a fight that resonated across the boxing landscape took place. Undefeated Omar Figueroa and highly ranked Nihito Arakawa basically beat the tar out of each other for 12 rounds in a lightweight bout with the Japanese fighter taking the brunt of the damage. Now this has all been covered by the boxing media ad nauseum but, what has not been covered, because honestly it is almost impossible to cover, is the impact the fight had on your average sports fan and your standard UFC loving boxing hater.
The second one is mostly specific to my situation as I watched the fight with your standard grade annoying anti-boxing fan that through the opening bout on the card would not stop talking about how boxing is rigged and blah blah blah, only taking breaks to say how great MMA is and how punches with boxing gloves don’t hurt. Ugh.
So as I sat there quietly, because why engage an irrational person talking from their rear, as the Figueroa vs Arakawa fight was starting with a little interest previously stated annoying person. What then transpired over the course of 12 rounds was nothing short of spectacular and I’m not talking about the fight. I sat and watched not only a great fight but the unraveling of a boxing anti-fan. Said person went from still spouting non-sense to slowly showing signs of enjoyment to full on maniac cheering and oohing and awwing at every landed punch.
I could not help but take a few jabs, pun intended, at the person about what was happening. Then after the fight I thought about what I had witnessed, a boxing hater who could not even find one nice thing to say about the sport, who was talking about boxing as if it were the WWE, had in 12 rounds changed his entire tune and was geared up for the main event. I thought to myself that there had to be thousands of people that had this same experience, an epiphany about the joys of the sweet science, all because two guys were too stubborn to know when to say stop.
A lightweight title fight for an alphabet belt on in front of a fairly small crowd by San Antonio standards, shifted the needle in favor boxing and maybe it was not by all that much but, in this landscape of all that can be wrong with boxing on any given night its easy to forget how people are affected when it goes so amazingly right.