Tuesday, January 8, 2008

2 Nights, 2 Fights, 2 Cigars

I'll make a confession. I decided for the New Year that I'm going to pick up a different cigar and try it on each of the nights when I watch boxing, to enhance the experience, both of the smoking and the spectating. In other words, my New Year's resolution is to smoke more.

I've been enjoying Showtime's ShoBox/Championship Boxing, since I've had Showtime back in the summer. So, this past Friday/Saturday night I settled in each night with a cigar. Let me tell ya how it went, pilgrim.

Ultimately, on Friday the 4th with the Peterson brothers both fighting on the same night, the Macanudo Maduro that I smoked was more memorable than the fights themselves. Both brothers won each of their matches, first by KO, second one by decision. Of course, this is really no fault of ShoBox itself...the whole point of this series is to give national exposure to up-and-comers, and, thusly, these fights can be unevenly matched, etc. So they are always interesting to watch in my experience. It was a good night, a good smoke. But....

Saturday night was the humdinger. So I settle in with my Arturo Fuente Hemingway. Now, I had been reluctant, although digging an A.Fuente Double Robusto, to pick up the Hemingway. I figured, "the Hemingway?" What is that, for tourists? But some rave reviews of the cigar convinced me to be a tourist anyway. It didn't disappoint. Unlike the fight of the 5th.

Malignaggi vs. Ngoudjo was a title fight for the IBF Junior Welterweight. Just to fill you in, Malignaggi is an Italian from Brooklyn. Flashy, showbiz, and loud-mouthed, he promotes himself, and the Atlantic City audience was full of his people. He was the crowd favorite. But this was only the first defense of his title. Never have I watched a fight and wondered if I was somehow watching a different fight than what the commentary was speaking of. This was Ngoudjo's fight from top to bottom, yet Malignaggi won by decision. After the fight, Malignaggi, bleeding and looking out of breath, Ngoudjo stood without mark on his face, composed & smiling, seeming like he was fully capable of going another 12 rounds. It was as if mass hypnosis had the judges by the balls. I'm glad I had the smooth, pleasant Arturo Fuente cigar going to keep me calm, otherwise, I prolly woulda woke half the neighborhood (least of all the old lady, sleeping upstairs) with my cursing at the tv.

Luckily, I'm not the only one. Jack Todd, in his article for the Montreal Gazette, goes so far as to infer that the fight was fixed. However, my sense of the fight was that the boxing industry was really looking upon Malignaggi as the Great White Hope. And the fact is, from what I got out of watching this fight, is that he's merely the Great White Hype. Ngoudjo fought the better fight, but the only way Ngoudjo, a Cameroon-born fighter living in Montreal (thus perhaps Todd's hometown vehemence), would have won this fight was by KO.

The fix was in. Whether it was a fix of sentiment or a fix more formalized in money, a fix either which way. Anyway, this was merely one of the ways that one J.T. "Fries" Dockery passed a couple of winter weekend nights in the 21st century. Buck Rogers Smoking Ban Watusi With My 618 On, over.


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