Won’t Get Fooled Again?

By Robert Ecksel on March 16, 2019
Won’t Get Fooled Again?
Both men are brilliant boxer-punchers. Both men are near or at the top of their game.

The final words of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” may end up encapsulating tonight’s fight and all that preceded it…

“I’ll get on my knees and pray. We won’t be fooled again.”—Pete Townshend

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” was first released as a single in 1971 and immediately enshrined in the rock ‘n’ roll canon. It wasn’t as sexy as “Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones, which was released the same year, but most people loved it, with the exception of The Who’s lead singer, the venerable Roger Daltry, who told Rolling Stone in 2018, “That’s the only song I’m bloody bored shitless with.”

Pete Townshend wrote the song as a cautionary tale, which was as misunderstood then as it is now. But “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is an iconic rock anthem and its lyrics are ambiguous enough to have been appropriated, reinterpreted, and co-opted by divergent interests, which Townshend neither anticipated nor desired.

For example, in the May 26, 2006 issue of National Review, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was ranked the #1 conservative rock ‘n’ roll song in history. According to the magazine, “The conservative movement is full of disillusioned revolutionaries; this could be their theme song, an oath that swears off naïve idealism once and for all.”

Townshend had his doubts, not about naiveté and idealism, but, insisting the song was anti-establishment, about projecting a subtext to score political points.

“The song has no party-allied political message at all,” Townshend explained. “It is not precisely a song that decries revolution—it suggests that we will indeed fight in the streets—but that revolution, like all action can have results we cannot predict. Don’t expect to see what you expect to see. Expect nothing and you might gain everything.”

The recommendation to “Expect nothing and you might gain everything” might be relevant to tonight’s pay-per-view fight between IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia, the four-division champion who is moving up in weight in hopes of wresting the crown. Both men are undefeated. Both men are brilliant boxer-punchers. Both men are near or at the top of their game.

But intangibles are always in play.

Other small men have challenged big men, instead of the more common big men fighting small men to protect their perfect records, many times in the past and the results, with rare exceptions, were as one might expect. Middleweight champion Stanley Ketchel fought heavyweight champion Jack Johnson in 1909. Another middleweight champion, Mickey Walker, fought men bigger than himself many times in the 1920s and ‘30s. And there’s no forgetting, however hard one might try, the fight between Arturo Gatti and Joey Gamache in 2000.

Spence will make weight during the same day weigh-in, in accord with the rules of the IBF, and will rehydrate before the opening bell. They have this down to an exact science. Even if he comes in as a junior middleweight, the disparity between him and Garcia won’t equal the disparities between the fighters mentioned above. But a good big man almost always beats a good small man, no matter how skilled that small man may be. It’s less about partiality than laws of physics.

Tonight’s fight may be more competitive than many expect, but it just as likely will not. A body shot or broken nose could end it early. Whatever his walk-around weight, Garcia has never fought a welterweight, let alone a welterweight as gifted as Spence. He will be up against it. But both men deserve our respect. They are pound-for-pound fighters and no one begrudges what they will earn considering the risks in the present and down the line. But the matchmaking looks less a confection than a backroom concoction cooked up between in-house fighters and called “the best versus the best,” despite the overwhelming odds in Spence’s favor.

No one expects Spence to fight WBO champion Terence Crawford any time soon if ever given the givens. But with the many welterweight belts in circulation, almost all in possession of PBC fighters, why isn’t Spence unifying the titles? I hope I’m wrong, but a blowout is a real possibility. If that happens, the final words of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” may end up encapsulating tonight’s fight and all that preceded it.

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

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  1. Bruce 12:28pm, 03/16/2019

    I may be proven wrong but I don’t expect Spence-Garcia to do large PPV numbers.  Very few fighters in the Haymon stable seem to get the same level of exposure as Top Rank or even Golden Boy boxers and that translates to lower PPV numbers.

  2. ceylon 12:20pm, 03/16/2019

    bullshit fight. i dont fault spence—no one else wants to fight him, so what else is he gonna do? ima watch. im rootin for spence.

  3. Your Name 10:07am, 03/16/2019

    Seven article on this subject. How many is too many?

  4. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 10:03am, 03/16/2019

    I’ve been thinking all along that this is just another over-hyped boxing match, especially after Floyd “Moneyweather” starts resurfacing AGAIN. Will Floyd fight the winner of this bout for the all time P4P WBO title? haha.  Speaking of what passes for COM-servatives these days and not being “fooled again,” where is the WALL, Trump? Never really liked The Who, but Eminence Front and the aforementioned, “Won’t Be Fooled Again,” are aiight. Hate to break it to Pete Townshend and Company,  but they were fighting for the establishment back then and not against it. Talk about being played.  Gimme Shelter, breh.

  5. peter 09:08am, 03/16/2019

    I hope the fight is half as good as the hype.

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