Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reiko “Baby Doll” Murayama v. Linda Cooper

I’m a little ambivalent about women’s boxing, but this fight was a no-nonsense sporting event. Both women have heart and skills. Both obviously took the whole thing very seriously, and both were very good sports about it. The problem lies with boxing in general in this post-Muhammad Ali, post-Ray Leonard boxing milieu.

Boxing suffers from the worst announcing by far in all of sports. The fights may not actually be fixed, but the announcers always come in with a script from the money guys about who is preferred by them to come out on top. This fight was no different. It’s all about grooming particular fighters for future, big money fights, actual respective talent notwithstanding.

The women were pretty evenly matched, but Ms. Murayama was way ahead on my card. (Yes I like Asian women, but Ms. Cooper is also racially interesting, so that part of the match up was a draw.) Reiko was more aggressive, landed more punches, and usually controlled the action. In spite of this reality, the announcers wouldn’t shut up about Linda Cooper.

If Ms. Cooper landed a punch, it was trumpeted as a game changer, a round winner, a sign that a knockout was near. During the long stretches when Reiko’s gloves were in Ms. Cooper’s face or ribs, and Ms. Cooper was covering up with her back to the ropes and her eyes puffing up, the announcers quietly talked about Ms. Cooper’s great chances for an exciting title fight, or how young and strong she is, or how popular she is in Las Vegas, where she lives. (Ms. Murayama hails from Tokyo.)

Ms. Cooper’s corner did not share the announcers sunny disposition. After the first round, her corner man yelled in her face, “what’s wrong! wake up!” Before the last round, they begged her to get busy and go for a knock out or else, “you better get out there and throw one fucking punch!” They were watching the real fight while the announcers were off in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land.

The last round was all Reiko, all the time, but all we got from the announcers was the occasional “nice combination from Cooper.”

The decision? Linda Cooper in a majority decision, one card was a tie, so we know that the judges feed at the same trough as the announcers.

Why do I even watch boxing anymore? The boxers still take it seriously, and the result is still in doubt, it hasn’t quite become Professional Wrestling with boxing gloves. So I can take the action seriously, and boxing is as serious and personal as sports gets.

Everything else about the sport, though, has gone the way of all flesh: corrupt.


Anonymous said...

Your right on with this one pops. Did you catch any of the Olympic boxing? It was some of the most painful nonsense I've ever seen. These days watching boxing is just a way to see a few punches or rounds and then stop before anyone gets lauded over. WEC world extreme cage is where the real action is. This kid Faber is amazing. Eventually gets his ass kicked by Mike Brown. Great fights. Faber does some crazy 'is he for real' moves with lightning speed.
The next 'boxing' match I'll be watching is the Marquez v Merryweather [sp] fight coming up in September I believe. $350 gets ya nose bleeds these days, not that I'm paying that, and 2k gets you ringside. We'll be doing pay per view.


Anonymous said...

John Hughs, the director, died today of a heart attack at 59. Same age as me. Phew, mortality.

Anonymous said...

RIP John Hughes! Uncle Buck, classic!

fred c said...

It's happening more and more, this crossing the river thing, people my age. I have nothing clever to say about it.