As Vice’s new self-proclaimed sports correspondent I knew it was my duty to cover the amateur boxing match of the century Thursday night. Let me tell you, it isn’t easy knowing next to nothing about sports and being a sports correspondent but I throw caution into the wind and do it anyways. I have chutzpah to spare. Truthfully, when one of the coaches threw water on his boxer and some hit my camera I squealed like a piglet that’s been stepped on and almost fell off my chair. I will not ruin my camera for sports!
The Rumble on the River at Pier 84 in Manhattan was a great time for me to learn about the chivalrous sport of boxing. It was part of the Friday Night Fights series that apparently are not exclusively on Fridays. That's how athletics as a genre of activity works. There are rules but not the rules you or I know. Sports rules are simultaneously convoluted and exact. I learned very little about boxing but it ignited my curiosity for the sport and I think I would like to start training so I can punch someone with the elegance displayed in the following matches. I was lucky enough to sit ringside next to Dr. Rufus. “Rufus, like in Kim Possible,” he explained. In case you don’t know, Kim Possible was a Disney cartoon circa 2002 and Dr. Rufus was obviously trying to make me feel at ease by talking about territory I would be familiar with.
He was there for when things went awry and one of the competitors was injured. I really only saw him poke a boxer in the eye checking to see if had a concussion.
Dr. Rufus was wonderfully informative but I learned the most from the boxing guru sitting two rows behind me, who kept harassing the guys in the ring. This hotshot would suggest things such as, “Kill him, kill him,” “Knock him out,” and then he just screamed “Gold!” a lot because I overheard he had $20 riding on the boxer wearing the jazzy gold shorts. Dr. Rufus knew facts though and was able to restrain himself from yelling. “There are over 35 hand signals that everyone recognizes,” Dr. Rufus mentored. “The ref should only say three words. ‘Break,’ ‘stop,’ and ‘fight.’”
“You can’t be punched when you’re hugging someone like that. Sometimes it’s intentional, to protect yourself. Other times it is to smother your opponent. They say this is a violent sport but there’s a lot of hugging,” said Dr. Rufus.
Yes, this guy looked very friendly to me.