Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Looking Forward To The Weekend

For those of you who don't know, this weekend Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto will be entering the squared circle in order to engage in what may turn out to be the best fight of the year. I will, of course, be glued to the screen, and shouting myself hoarse for Cotto (though in this fight, I almost didn't know who to root for more).

Really good fights usually come in one of several varieties. There are the barroom brawls, fights in which little to no actual skill or technique are utilized, and two men try to destroy each other through the pure application of violence. See Mavin Hagler's fight with Tommy Hearns as a classic example. While both men had the technical skill to compete on a higher level, they threw it all away in order to try to dominate the other through raw brutality. There are also those fights that are great because they are fought at a high level of technical skill, two virtuosos performing something closer to art than combat. Ray Leonard's fight with Tommy Hearns fell into this category. Many great fights are a combination of both, as a virtuoso pits his skill against the brawn and ferocity of a true warrior. Look no further than many of Ray Robinson's fights against the toughest men of the middleweight division for examples of this type.

The most special fight that can occur though, is one in which both men embody the virtuoso and the warrior simultaneously. This weekend's fight will be an example of that. Margarito is known as a face-first warrior, who imposes himself through volume punching and toughness. However, he is also an underrated boxer, who does many little, seldom-noticed things that exponentially increase his effectiveness. Cotto meanwhile, is calm, methodical, and precise in the ring. He thinks through his game plan and executes it with skill. However, when the need presents itself, he also has the heart of a warrior and the toughness and power to match it. On top of all this, Cotto is currently Puerto Rico's top fighter, while Margarito is arguably Mexico's best. Adding national pride to their formidable personal arsenals almost guarantees a great bout.

Nothing is sure in boxing. Maybe one man will be injured early, or physically not at his best. The vicissitudes and health problems encountered in professional sports are amplified by the solo nature of boxing. However, all that being said, if there is a fight that it is safe to guarantee will surpass expectations this year, this is the one.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Cotto by unanimous decision, 115-113.