Friday, November 13, 2009


The bad weather in the northeast should be more of a reason to walk, run, swim, drive, fly or teleport yourself to someone’s place to see tomorrow night’s superfight between Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao. That is, if you aren’t ordering it yourself like this Scribe.

To provide analysis is a fruitless exercise; although Pac-Man is going to win a very tough fight, tougher than what trainer Freddie Roach may believe.

The greatest allure of a boxing match – more than the fight itself, at times – is the ethnic pride that runs deep in its fans. Hoards of people from a common nationality rally behind a fighter, even if the bank accounts differ greatly. Flags that take up three rows and fifteen seats wave ferociously in the cheap seats when those fans see their man has the edge. Rowdy chants that can drown out everything short of an elephant’s bellow give the combatants a charge going into the later rounds.

These displays of ethnic pride in boxing have always fascinated me. For a plethora of reason, you wouldn’t see it so overtly in other sports as you do in the sweet science. Much of this is because boxing seems to be the only sport allowed to even dare use race and country as promotional tools.

Modern day boxing was born from pitting one nationality or ethnicity against another, even if it’s an unintended consequence of many bouts over the years. From the very first right jab Jack Johnson landed on Tommy Burns back in 1908 to tomorrow’s main event, the powers-that-be have come to understand that a fight will gain attention of curious eyes if there’s a glaring difference in skin tones, language and citizenship between the fighters.

(Even the widely-acknowledged Greatest of All Time was bold enough – personal feelings aside about the method – to use these differences in some degree when preparing for Joe Frazier. It’s glossed over and forgotten by many of Ali’s fans, but it worked. Calling anybody an Uncle Tom, let alone a fellow world-class fighter, would do that.)

However, I can’t help but to wonder what others think about this. Does the ethnic card that boxing plays continue to help or hurt the sport’s popularity outside of its hardcore fans? Do you think other sports can actually use ethnic pride as a promotional tool (outside of your Latin Nights and Citi Field)?

Say What?!?!: From Free Darko via The Rumble; Photo credit to

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