The Long Weekend

By Michael Schmidt on June 30, 2011
The Long Weekend
The Fourth of July of course has a long history of "fireworks”

The reason I have the boxing bug this weekend is that I think we are finally going to get some heavyweight fireworks…

Fourth of July and Canada Day, July 1st, are here once again. “Schmidty, if you want to do something out of the box on your holiday weekend that’s fine.” Good heavens what was our fearless editor Robert E. thinking? You asked for it Mr. Editor and so shall you receive. It is a holiday weekend so let’s try not to get very serious. We started the weekend early. I am actually under a big willow tree this day, trying to get a little shuteye, while looking into a box, rather than out of the box, and it is a box full of fireworks.     

I have the boxing bug so bad for this extended holiday weekend that these fireworks are blasting little boxing analogies back and forth in my head. Boxing analysis, analyst, shrink is what I need here. Mr. Bernstein, Mr. Atlas, Tarver, Farhood, SOMEBODY please save me. Hey, Haye, here is one and you could not make these up any better; “The Golden Parachute,” instructions, “keep spectators back.” I kid you not. That has to be the “fan man” guy or whatever the hell he was called. You know the guy I mean. Mr. Drop-in-out-of-the-Sky into a world heavyweight title fight between Holyfield and Bowe. The lesson was learned on that one. The Golden Parachute Rule is pretty simple when you have a bunch of guys ringside that have doled out 1000s upon 1000s of dollars and you interrupt a Heavyweight Championship that they are at. The Golden Rule is the same guys figure they have the opportunity for a free shot, or two, or 20, a citizen’s arrest so to speak, minus perhaps the exercise of reasonable force. The result of such bout interruptus, as such; you are going to take a good old-fashioned “ass womping” from fans and security alike and that is exactly how it played out. A “Golden Parachute” indeed and certainly not the kind you would give to a CEO for a severance package, although I know a few that it may apply to, or upon very nicely indeed. I have been told that the “Fan Man’s” later life story was unfortunate and that perhaps is to be left for another time.

Here’s another one, “Cyclone” instructions, “place upright on firm level ground.” I am thinking Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, The Cyclone, being blown away by Hagler, Bobby Watts, in Philadelphia, in the Spectrum and of J Russell Peltz and all those Philly wars. Suffice to say it was pretty hard to stay upright on firm level ground with that great mix of promotion pitting one great middleweight, the aforesaid Hagler and Watts, Seales, and Briscoe included, may he rest in peace, against each other. Round and round, round after round, they went, in the circle game, trying to stay upright. ESPN could do one of their “The Best That Never Was” middleweight champions, that is, in regard to Bad Bennie. There isn’t one of those in the box, but that would be good wouldn’t it? “Bad Bennie,” light it up and watch it keep firing flaming shots again and again. Here is another great one. How about “Royal Jewels”? “You will see bright, light, shooting stars.” Instructions for “Royal Jewels”: “keep in a cool place, fire from a level base, do not place on a soft surface, could lead to the item tipping over and damage to persons.” Andrew Golota knows about “Royal Jewels,” soft places, and Bowe’s did not feel so “Royal” after dealing with Mr. Golota, although after more than a few shots south of the Rio Grande he probably saw bright, light, shooting stars, tipping over with damage to his person! Store in a cool place indeed! This brings a whole new meaning to ice bag!

Perhaps I should trace back a little bit. Every year for 26 years we have been coming to our Cottage on Georgian Bay, here in Canada, to celebrate this holiday weekend. Born of hard work this Cottage, I assure you, but the investment over the years has been more than worth it. Early morning runs, boat rides around the Islands, swimming in clean cold water on 1000 feet of secluded beach, spring fed ponds, late night fires, shooting stars on the backdrop of endless deep starscapes, fireflies, are all part of the package.  We mix our Canada Day with Fourth of July celebrations, not only as there are quite a few good folks from US of A that have places up here, but also son Jordan would have it no other way. Jordan is a big “techie” guy interested in anything computers, engines and military. You see our Mr. Jordan would tell you that nobody does “techie” top-of-the-line better than USA, USA. According to son Jordan we here in Canada, with our used submarines, give or take a few, helicopters that sometimes don’t fly very well, a horse, a buggy, just kidding, kind of, would probably be speaking a foreign language but for our good friends USA, USA, and the “techie” they put into the military business. If you are in Vegas for the next big fight and happen to be at The Gun Store partaking of shooting any darn firearm ever created by mankind and see some good-looking kid, 20 years old, six-feet-three, 225 pounds that looks like he is in heaven with that big grin on his face, say hello because it is probably Jordan. If he is talking to some ex-Navy Seal, back for a few months special-op, off-duty officer firearm instructor for the day, telling them something close to “To tell you the truth, shooting these things at targets is fun but how they actually work, and this new ” Saw and Pup,” and how they designed them, THAT’s cool,” well then, it is certainly Jordan.

Let’s get back to my willow tree! I am keeping one eye open. Bronson, our German shepherd/coyote dog, Gitchi Manitou Baja Tabby Wicasa Tankala, he of the Great Spirit Coyote Cat Little Big Man (see “Bronson, Haye and Tyson Fury”), chased a “Porky Pine,” as the boys are calling this beast that is shaped like Two Ton Tony Galento, up a tree about 30 minutes ago. “Porky Pine” decided to have a snooze way up there in the tree, with his legs draped over a big branch, lightly swinging in the breeze. Bronson, in kind, has fallen asleep at the base of the tree, waiting to cut the ring off on “Porky Pine,” and I suspect if Galento comes down Mr. Bronson is going to learn the true meaning of “stick and move.” Now on the other hand perhaps Galento up there should take heed of Billy Conn vs. Joe Louis, number one as it is best, as Conn found out too late, to let sleeping dogs lie, or in this case sleeping dog/coyote. At any rate, the reason I have the boxing bug so bad this weekend is that I think we are finally going to get some heavyweight fireworks as Mr. Haye makes Haye! I am not saying he is going to win but I suspect he is going to make it very, very entertaining. In fact, he already has. Calling a guy a “dick” to his face on HBO has to be worth some type of entertainment.

The Fourth of July of course has a long history of “fireworks” including but certainly not limited to Nelson over Gans, the 1910 Johnson vs. Jeffries fight, Dempsey destroying Willard to win the Heavyweight Championship of the World in 1919, and the 1923 Dempsey vs. Gibbons fight that bankrupted the town of Shelby, Montana. Dempsey was greeted that day, in the ring, by pop bottles being tossed his way and people had been required to empty their holsters before entering the arena. Indeed a firecracker exploded before the fight causing a moment of panic. The rest of the fight was void of fireworks, so it was reported, and the town could not afford any more fireworks after that one! Boxing back in those days was a major social occasion and the biggest of sporting events.

Let’s get back to my willow tree and the serenity of the cottage. Jordan has eight of his buddies here and three female friends are up as well. My friend Harding is down on the beach firing off a BB gun rifle at pop cans, that when shaken, and hit, spray ever so nicely. Harding has, give or take, 30 different guns at home so his use of a “little old” BB gun seems harmless, although we are talking about Harding here. Our wives are on the deck shaking their heads and let us not forget to keep an eye on our Bronson. Serenity indeed. In fact I like having all these kids up here. We have the space to accommodate them and they are a great group of kids and they are slowly converting back to boxing fans, sort of. On occasion, back home, we have “Fight Nights.” Mr. Jordan will rig up three jumbo TVs and speakers in the basement, we will order in a ton of pizza and wings, put up a big betting poster (whoever picks the round, and time in the round, and winner, closest to the time, takes home the money bag and it is only appropriate that the lawyer, Old Schmidty, handles the money bag) and have a great night of anywhere from 20 to 40 guys and girls, young, old and in-between. The problem, for the last two years, is that fight night had become more of a UFC night for Jordan and his crew and that is just not my viewing pleasure, thanks much. We are back to boxing nights recently and as one of Jordan’s close buddies has told me, “Well, Old Man’” (a term of endearment the young lads have placed upon me, I assure you),” the problem is that it is the same old guys, like Randy the Natural, and it’s getting kind of boring.” This is interesting, interesting indeed coming from the young crowd. The last big boxing fight night we did was Pacman vs. Hatton. My best buddy Harding won. Harding has also won our last three Super Bowl parties. I think I should bring Harding to Vegas. The last big heavyweight fight night we did was Lewis vs. Tyson. Harding won that night as well, taking home over $1,200 in the money bag. That was a special night. It was a night that lived in Harding infamy. When Tyson went down, Harding, as good a buddy as you could ever have, was yelling “look, look at Tyson, look at Tyson, he went down like a cheap hooker on King Street!” The room went silent, just for a moment, and then everyone laughed and Harding grabbed his money bag, but not before my brother, who always seems to be runner-up to Harding, asked what Harding knew of this “cheap” business. Interesting!

Let’s get back to my willow tree. Harding and I have devised our exit strategy for Saturday, to wander with Mr. Bronson down the road to Uncle Harry’s palatial pad. Uncle Harry used to be a Prison Warden and he is now retired. Harry is one of those great guys that makes friends with everybody he meets and who never seems to stop moving and working hard. He is one of those guys that always remembers jokes and always has one to tell in turn. He never seems to slow down, physically or mentally. Fun is work and work is fun for Harry. Bronson and Harry got along well at first sight and that is a first for Bronson. Go figure, but hey, Prison Warden and Bronson, probably not a bad fit for Bronson although, as stated before, we certainly do not want Bronson in the Pen. Harry has just what is required. He has a home theater room, eight-foot by 15- foot drop from the ceiling screen, surround sound, raised level seating, no windows, only one exit, just right for Haye vs. Klitschko fireworks, and for Harding, Bronson, and yours truly joining Harry, who happens to be one of those guys that is great company to be around, just a great fun guy! We have to enjoy ourselves as the ever insightful Harding has reminded me that average life expectancy only leaves me with about 25 more of these Canada Day, Fourth of July weekends to have a blast! Thank you Harding as that is an interesting way of looking at things. We better do it up right then. Dog/Coyote, noise, BB guns, young girls giggling and making out with the young lads over in the bush, wives rightfully complaining we should get the barbecue going and help out cooking those greasy sausages and hamburgers, and Galento, swaying in the breeze. Who could ask for anything more on this peaceful weekend? WHO THE HELL CARES—BRING IT ON. We will do it up, right, not uptight, and we will see on Saturday who is upright. My eyes are getting heavy. Those white puffy clouds over beyond the far Island look just like two fighters squaring off! Boxing analyst, shrink, please HELP ME.                                                                                 

It has been a long, long time since we have had heavyweight fireworks. Holmes vs. Norton, the 15th round, Frazier in the dressing room before Ali number one, with Burt Lancaster and Archie Moore looking very uncomfortable doing a pre-fight interview with a smoldering Frazier, not told of the arrangement, and that big left hook in 15, the Rumble in the Jungle, the Gorilla in Manila its gonna be a “thrilla,” what memories. Fireworks please. Somebody make one for next year please, “Hayemaker,” blast or no blast, you will not be disappointed. How about “Fury, stand upright, light wick, and retreat, short fuse….” Happy Canada Day and Happy Fourth of July to all. Have a Heavyweight Blast. Whether you are in the city, at the cottage, or elsewhere, follow the “Harding Rule,” as you only have so many of these holiday weekends left.

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  1. Brett 09:26am, 06/30/2011

    Great article Mike!

    I have boxing on the brain too this holiday weekend and can’t wait to see the big boys “rumble”.  Didn’t know that Haye called Wlad a “dick” to his face. Just hope the fight is entertaining and not a dud.
    Happy Holiday weekend to you too!!

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