Angels with Dirty Mouths
Boxing is worth defending, but if you live by the sword you die by the sword, and those who lie down with dogs wake up with fleas…
“It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”—Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
If hypocrisy is your thing, the commotion surrounding the latest outburst from Angel Garcia, father and trainer of Danny Garcia, who is fighting Keith Thurman on March 4, is an opportunity to spread your wings and take to the sky, at the risk plummeting back to earth from a stepstool misconstrued as a launch pad.
It’s old news now, and was old news at the recent presser when Garcia’s latest outburst occurred, that he is politically incorrect. In addition to having a mouth that just won’t quit, he is a small-minded bigot, a fact to which we should all to be accustomed and might as well get used to, given the givens. But the response to his most recent eruption, which wasn’t substantially different to his prior eruptions, suggests that memories are as short as they are insubstantial.
Several boxing writers are up in arms at Garcia’s choice of words. Noting the reactions of professional scribblers, no less than the reactions of the wannabees, playing armchair psychologist is bad enough. But to have them join hands with website owners with mob ties who feel compelled to weigh in on the propriety of such language in a public setting, you can be certain that we’ve fallen down a rabbit hole with no hand grips in sight.
(Several years ago I asked a gangster I knew if he ever watched The Sopranos. He made a face, shook his head and said, “I don’t like that language.” Extortion is okay. Blackmail is fine. And he had no problem firebombing small business. But using four-letter words was verboten, or proibito if you prefer.)
What Garcia said may have been inflammatory, but it doesn’t make him ineligible for boxing. His comments, in the words of Kevin Iole, were “despicable” and “outrageous,” but they are no more “despicable” or “outrageous” than other things we have heard or perhaps uttered ourselves when no one was listening or watching. But to call Garcia’s observations “the most despicable thing I have seen in nearly two decades of covering boxing,” as Dan Rafael has done, is to have forgotten, perhaps willfully, perhaps strategically, Mike Tyson biting off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997 and considerably more.
There’s no doubt that propriety has been breached, and not for the first or last time. There’s even less doubt that Garcia is doing what he imagines he needs to do in order to build the gate for the upcoming bout. He is offensive, join the club, but boxing has endured worse.
Expectations are low when it comes to our sport, especially by those whose who take cold comfort in the corporate strategems of the NFL and the like. Boxing is worth defending, but if you live by the sword you die by the sword, and those who lie down with dogs wake up with fleas.
We’d be well-advised to scratch well before proceeding to write poorly.