Been to the Fight

By Ben Thomsett on August 26, 2018
Been to the Fight
People who watch regularly don’t get angry in the same way as the casual observer.

And they don’t feel the need to hit someone just because they’re watching two people doing exactly that…

Loose cocaine residue covered every available surface near waist height. It was as if the restrooms sat by a Caribbean coral beach and fine white sand had blown in on a strong South American breeze. But there was no mistaking the real location. Drunk men lurched around on the white tiles and talked loudly and confidently. Down the large hallway an auditorium was packed with a slobbering crowd watching a night’s boxing action. You could hear the baying even if you went out to the car park.

Inside the venue the security team had their work cut out. Live boxing shows have a magical effect on some people. You can pick them out from across the hall: men staring intensely into the near distance, rigid with adrenaline and testosterone. They’d spent the early evening drinking quickly and now, after watching a couple of bouts, a switch had turned on inside what was left of their hormone-addled minds. Boxing looks easy if you’ve never done it before and you’re swimming in the beer tank. All you need is some latent aggression and two fists. Simple.

I sat back down at ringside. No-one was affected by the spell here. People who watch boxing regularly or are around the boxing world in some capacity don’t get angry in the same way as the casual observer. And they don’t feel the need to hit someone just because they’re watching two people doing exactly that.

Behind me, away from ringside, a young man was shouting at two security men in their black polo shirts. “Ya better know, blood,” he kept saying. They weren’t impressed. They were large and their arms were stretching further and further towards the guy. He started standing on his toes and puffing out his bony chest. He left in the end, a large pair of hands on each of his arms, airborne, screaming that he was coming back with a gun.

In the ring two young fighters were giving it everything. They’d trained. They weren’t angry, just trying to beat their opponent with better skill and better endurance. Despite all the out-of-the-ring violent clashes that kept popping up like ugly blisters, and the small rivers of piss flowing down the angled aisles like tributaries of something more foul and desperate, there was a beauty to the fight. Two champions taking something as simple as hitting each other and making it almost a religious experience. The sight was a jewel that deserved better surroundings.

When the last bout had finished the TV crew began packing up. Grim faces talked quietly with other grim faces down by ringside. Handshakes. A slap on the back. Out in the dressing rooms half of the occupants were sitting smiling. Another successful event for the promoter. He was grinning more and more inanely with each interview, I thought his teeth were trying to leave his mouth. Outside the venue small crowds of loud males laughed or pushed and shoved, some re-enacted the best parts of the fights. Autograph hunters hung around the entrance. The ambulances left the car park. The unauthorised merchants with their suitcases and mobile stalls had long gone. Programmes littered the asphalt. I nearly stepped on a half-eaten hotdog.

Millions had been made that night. Some careers had really taken off. Others were going to take time to rebuild. The crowd would go to bed happy. They’d been to the fight.

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  1. Casanovita de Ahome 10:54am, 08/26/2018

    “Ugly blisters”.... “rivers of piss” and cocaine sand storms! I’m betting this hell hole is somewhere in the UK!

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