Boxing in Prison

ANOTHER TAKE ON PACQUIAO-MARQUEZ III:
As if it is not overcooked already!
(Sometime ago, boxing was one of prisoners’ recreational activities. Until one fine day, a boxing trainee tried to display his fighting form in the middle of a gathered throng of impressed prisoners. There he was shadow boxing. He was asking for a sparring partner to show case his form and style. He was after all being groomed to fight an invited boxer from the free community. It would be one of the highlights in a forthcoming celebration. The trainee could not inspire anyone to volunteer until he saw a hulky figure, smiling while seated in a far corner of the circle. The fellow was a bit taller when he rose up, a bit hesitant and shy. He was goaded to wear the globes by his peers and he was pleading ignorance on the game. He was finally prevailed and a three-round boxing match was instantly proclaimed. The encircled throng drew a marginal square and there was almost a pandemonium approximating the excitement of MGM Grand. Suddenly, a small dingy portion of the prison camp was transformed, if only for a few jovial minutes, into one of the sparkling suite of Las Vegas. Then the whistle began, a make-shift sound estimating the bell. Round one: the trainee, jabs the air, bobs around, moving side to side, smiling. The opponent, still shy, trying to dance to evade a possible hook. He has seen boxing but he never had an opportunity for the game. He was charged of an offense, a crime against property. Yet he wanted to be a game for his friends. He was even entertaining the thought of playing loser as in being knocked out. Then, the jab of the trainee suddenly smacked on his face and he had no recourse but athletically shield his face in a manner as if to counterpunch. It was a counter-punch all right as the right hand cross of the defender found its mark on the left temple of the trainee. The punch was not expected but it sent the trainee swirling around, his mouthpiece thrown at a distance, his eyes nowhere slithered, as he got down, splayed on the pavement, there was a loud excited sound of merriment. The shy opponent had what it takes to give a Sunday punch after-all. The trainee struggled but succumbed face down. The throng perceives a joke and there was laughter all around. The game was fixed, according to those at the far end witnessing the match up. The trainee was no longer moving and there was complete silence. The trainee was rushed to the prison hospital, dead on arrival. He suffered a massive blood haemorrhage in his brain as a consequence of the upper cut. When the prison officer interviewed the opponent, who was shocked at what happened, it was learned that his preoccupation before he was imprisoned was a banca parker, one who lifts boats and bancas on the shoreline and lines it up properly. Such profession requires that one must have the proper muscle on his arms and hands to do it, and the fellow has been in that profession for almost a decade before he was charged in court. From that time one, boxing was declared a prohibited sport in prison. The prisoners found another preoccupation though relative to boxing. The following is their analysis on the recent Pacquiao-Marquez bout. )
Consider this.
Boxing is big time business. Ask Bob Arum. He has been there all through out. He graduated from Harvard Law School and that means, lawyering is lucrative from that standpoint already. But he chose to be a promoter and he earned several hundred folds because of that. When the stake is a world championship belt, the boxing world is aflame. Modern day gladiators are spotlighted and the world becomes frantically fascinated by the art of two contending parties. If there is blood and gory, fury and angst, it is because strength is pitted against strength, wiles versus wiles and finally, to the better prepared and conditioned, the crown is conferred. But boxing, as it were, is a game of chance. There is the so-called Sunday punch, the lucky wallop so to speak and the one leading the score card all through out the entire rounds may as yet loose in the final seconds once he is knocked down. That is boxing. But there is also another side of it.
And this is where boxing becomes a commercial proposition. I could only imagine the following situations.
1. Bob Arum, the promoter of Pacquaio’s fight believes that the Mayweather fight is the penultimate money grabber of all time. Mayweather must therefore be lured to fight Pacquaio. However, Mayweather fears that at the rate Pacquiao is fighting, his record might get blemished and there goes his record and eventually, his reputation in the boxing history.
2. So okay, that’s the mind-set. Bob Arum convinces Pacquaio if only to bait Mayweather, to display a bit of a lackadaisical performance, a bit sloppy, some carelessness and shoddy footwork. That would surprise Mayweather and may push him into the limelight shouting for his turn. It would be a difficult act for Pacquiao but with his bout on Marquez, the people will understand. Marquez has been viewed as Pacquiao’s nemesis and almost an equal. Lessen Pacquiao’s trademark strength, they are equal. Viewed in the context of Mayweather-Marquez fight, this would surely be a good bait.
3. So the show at MGM Grand has been prepared and everybody calibrated. The Pacquiao-Marquez is not the game yet although money that early was already flowing. The real Mccoy is the Mayweather fight where a tsunami of money is sure in inundate all purses for the organizer. The Pacquaio-Marquez will surely be the introduction to a bigger payday.
4. Pacquaio may be a reluctant participant but he had only a few fighting chance to earn. As a matter of fact, the most that he could do is face two opponents later then retire. He has already proven that he can fight and convince the world that he is the finest. That he can always plead later that he has already earned but he needs an extra mile to assure him of his other greater plans in the future. How he would fight Marquez in a way that the people will not recognize as patsy is a problem he must have to overcome with. It is a business arrangement with his promoter and no one, not even his trainer and coaches knew of the plan.
5. And so the fight night begins. The two gladiators are excitedly posed on one another. It could look this way. Pacquaio is in a quandary on how to hold his punches without anyone noticing it. Pacquaio must not move forward or Pacquaio’s reluctance to box may be noticed. Marquez nonetheless was too cautious to start the game. He is a counter puncher and must not be out-synched. Rounds one, two, three, four, five, progress in a yawning match, without any significant bout that would relate to the hype of the fight about its classic match up. The sixth round was highly anticipated as the moment of truth. Again, it was a dud.
6. Those at the sidelines were awaiting for the bomb. The Mexicans were awed at how Marquez carried the round, masterfully rigging every left and right jabs of Pacquaio. They never got an inkling that Marquez was merely allowed to shine that night and that it was actually a lure to Mayweather to salivate.
7. The people were frustrated at Pacquaio. They were looking to for the trademark volume punches. Marquez was already ripe for the deluge. Pacquaio however was not in his proper element. Marquez was even allowed to trip Pacquiao’s foot several occasion and Pacquaio even gamely protruded his forehead so that the usual headbutt can be obliged. The fight night was considerably even and only a few points may be generated for purposes of winning. Pacquaio has mastered everything and Arum knows that. Pacquaio no matter how difficult the fight is can easily translate it into an entertainment medium. (Later in the day, Pacquaio would confess quite easily that he suffered leg cramps and body pains.)
8. The last rounds were about to unfold and there was no brilliant pugilist in Pacquaio still emerging. The people were dismayed. They pledged that it was not Manny Pacquaio they were witnessing but Manny Paksiw! This fellow is marshmallow if pitted against Mayweather. That was the resounding impression.
9. Unto the last two rounds, Pacquiao tried to salvage for more points to convince an already convinced and syndicated judges and those manning the compu box that there is a need for a win however slim it may be. Pacquiao must not loose or their money bag would disappear in thin air.
10. And then the final count was announced. And there was massive opposition and disgust. Marquez should have won handily. The people could only be inveigle to accepting a Pacquiao triumph if there was a knock out or Marquez could have shown a resculpted face. Nothing of that sort, then Pacquiao has lost the game. Meanwhile, Mayweather’s camp has as yet to give its feedback. They must be jumping for joy at how Pacquaio fought that night. Mayweather can fight a dud like that even if he has been through a surgical operation the day before a fight. Pacquaio is a flunky hollow block and can easily be toppled.
11. Arum and Pacquaio amidst the noise of the post fight Pacquaio-Marquez are awaiting for the fight of the century. One that promises a classic bank robbery, one that intends to make the duo jogging and laughing all the way to the bank! What else can we make out of the preliminary fight. Boxing is never an art if it has transcended its amateur beginnings, it is business nothing more.

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About Ven J. Tesoro

writer, prison officer, artist
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