Azn Badger's Blog

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The In-Ring History Of Smokin’ Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier: January 12, 1944 – November 7, 2011

32-4-1, 27 KO’s

It saddens me to know that this article started out as a tribute to, rather than a memorial of Joe Frazier.

That being said, as you might have heard by now, earlier today Philadelphia’s own Smokin’ Joe Frazier succumbed to liver cancer while in hospice.

Despite a prosperous, and nearly 3 year reign as the heavyweight boxing champion of the world, at the time perhaps the single most universally regarded of all sports championships; the story of Joe Frazier’s career is one that is often times obscured by the achievements of his contemporaries.

It is also one that is tragically wrought with bitterness and frustration.

As a lifelong fan of boxing, it’s hard to deny that, while undeniably well known and acknowledged by the boxing community; Frazier has never really received the same level of publicity and cultural relevance that he likely deserved.

True, he never had the same transcendent charisma of his nemesis, Muhammad Ali, but the fact remains, even among hardcore fans of boxing, his name was never dropped with the frequency and enthusiasm that one would expect for a fighter of his legendary ability.

Well, outside of Philly anyway.

That being said, as a big fan of boxing, particularly in regards to it’s colorful history; I figure today is as good as any to pick my own brain and share with you all a detailed look at the career of Joe Frazier as I remember it.

Let’s start at the beginning shall we:

If I remember correctly, despite Frazier’s association with the city of Philadelphia as it’s “favorite son,” he was actually born in the town of Beaufort, South Carolina.

Just so you know, adoptive hometowns are not at all a rare occurrence in the sport of boxing, as the New Jersey based Arturo Gatti was originally from Montreal, and on that same note, I believe Marvelous Marvin Hagler of Brockton, Massachusetts was actually from Newark.

That being said, unlike many other fighters, Frazier took to boxing relatively late in life, at the age of 15.

From what I can recall, much like was the case with Mike Tyson, he entered into the sport somewhat overweight.

As an amateur, Joe Frazier only lost once, to future contender and rival, Buster Mathis.

From what I understand, Frazier’s feelings for Mathis were often contentious, not only due to the loss, but because their stylistic differences and training habits were like night and day.

Coincidentally, due to an injury Buster Mathis would later end up abdicating his slot on the 1964 Olympic team to Frazier, resulting in Smokin’ Joe’s first major step to fame and glory in the form of earning a gold medal at the games.

Turning professional in 1965, Frazier cut a swath through the heavyweight division under trainer Eddie Futch, knocking out his first 11 opponents, and defeating notables such as Oscar Bonavena and George Chuvalo, among others.

In 1968, Frazier once again fought former amateur rival Buster Mathis, this time as world class professionals in contention of the New York regional title, a partial championship designed to eventually produce a legitimate champion in light of Muhammad Ali having recently been stripped of his world title.

Fighting in Madison Square Garden, the Frazier and Mathis reached equilibrium early on, trading rounds throughout the first 6 rounds.

Eventually though, as tended to happen in Joe Frazier fights, the tide began to turn, and Smokin’ Joe quickly began to outpace and outpunch Mathis from the 7th round on.

Sure enough, by the 11th round, Frazier punished Mathis down to the canvas, and earned the KO victory.

Frazier would go on to defend his regional title a total of 4 times, besting fan favorite Jerry Quarry during this time.

In 1970, Frazier would challenge for the unified world championship (the real title) against Kentuckian Jimmy Ellis.

Both fighters claimed victories over several common opponents, as well as were possessed of terrific punching power, however after only 5 rounds, Frazier managed to lay waste to Ellis, in a decisive TKO victory that forced trainer Angelo Dundee to throw in the towel for his man, Ellis.

In his first defense of his title, Frazier laid waste to hall of fame light heavyweight Bob Foster inside of 2 rounds.

Following this, in the year 1971, Frazier was set in place to defend his title against the freshly re-licensed Muhammad Ali.

Though it likely wasn’t as well known as it is today, Joe Frazier was instrumental in bringing Ali back to the sport.

Frazier was so opposed to the idea of Ali being stripped of his title, that his initial reaction to the idea of the regional title bouts to crown a champion for the vacant title, was one of disgust and dismissal.

Frazier’s momentum was red hot at the time Ali announced his “retirement,” and it’s well known that he would’ve liked to have fought for the title prior to Ali’s “lost years.”

That being said, Frazier devoted a great deal of time and money towards appealing Ali’s case to commission, going so far as to appeal the case directly to president Richard Nixon; only to ultimately feel betrayed as Ali would go on to publicly berate and deface him once the fight contracts had been signed.

It’s debatable whether Ali’s poor treatment of Frazier was a result of showmanship, or genuine malice, but regardless; his actions would result in Frazier’s lifelong enmity for the Louisville Lip.

Taking his feelings of bitterness and betrayal into the ring with him, Frazier laid into Ali with a fervor befitting of a bout billed as “The Fight of the Century.”

Ali took some of the early rounds with stiff jabs and crackling combinations, however Joe pressed on, landing to the body and building momentum as the rounds wore on.

Both men were hurt numerous times in the fight, with neither man ever seeming to gain a significant lead, that is; until the very last round.

In the 15th round, Frazier uncorked one of the single most famous punches in all of boxing history, a booming left hook to Ali’s jaw that sent him the canvas, literally turning the fight in Frazier’s favor with seconds to spare.

It was a momentous occasion in Frazier’s career, and one that was further sweetened by the judges awarding him the victory just a few short minutes afterwards.

Following the Ali fight, Frazier would go on to defend his title twice more, knocking out a pair of solid contenders.

In 1973 however, Joe Frazier would record his first loss as a professional, against gold medalist and undefeated power puncher, George Foreman.

Using a highly physical and upright style, Foreman walloped Frazier at distance with crushing blows, managing to put the traditionally iron-chinned Frazier to the canvas 6 times within 2 rounds.

Though it was one of the darker moments of his in-ring exploits, it was this fight that ultimately produced Howard Cosell’s famous cries of “Down goes Frazier!  Down goes Frazier!  Down Goes Frazier!”

Truly, it was one of the more decisive and one-sided occasions on which the heavyweight title changed hands, right up there with Tyson vs. Spinks.

No longer champion, Frazier immediately set to work rebuilding his momentum, winning a tough bout against Joe Bugner in London, and ultimately signing for a second bout with Muhammad Ali.

As a champion, Frazier had fought on a fairly limited basis, and following his catastrophic loss to George Foreman, many felt he was already showing clear signs of decline in his boxing ability at only 30 years of age.

Ali on the other hand, had remained surprisingly active since 1971, accumulating numerous victories, and losses, against notable competition such as a shopworn Bob Foster and Floyd Patterson, as well as a prime Ken Norton.

Despite both men being legitimate, hungry contenders, much like virtually every pay-per-view bout in the current age of boxing, Ali/Frazier II was viewed by boxing insiders as a pointless money play.

Despite this, during promotional events, Frazier remained deathly serious about the contest, evening going so far as become physical with Ali on Wide World of Sports.

While undeniably a less exciting bout when compared to the first and the third in the series of bouts these 2 legends produced, Ali/Frazier II was still a fight that both men should be proud to place on their resumes.

Ultimately, Ali boxed his way to a somewhat disputed decision victory, holding behind the head without penalty on an ungodly number of occasions, and generally doing more to nullify Frazier’s assault rather than directly combat it.

Discouraged but still burning for a second bout with Foreman, Smokin’ Joe Frazier pressed on, once again KO’ing past opponents, Jerry Quarry and Jimmy Ellis.

Then, as fate would have it, Frazier once again found himself in a position to step into the ring with Muhammad Ali, this time for the heavyweight championship.

Since defeating Frazier in 1974, Ali had gone on to achieve what is regarded as one of the finer accomplishments in his illustrious career, that of dethroning the seemingly invincible George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire via 8th round KO.

As was the case in their previous 2 bouts, Frazier and Ali remained at each other’s throats during the pre-fight promotional events.

While many, most of all Ali, viewed Frazier as being well on his way towards being “washed-up,” Frazier sought to prove them wrong as he engaged in what has been well documented as one of the most intense training camps of his career.

In 1975, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier stepped into the ring together for the third and final time in Quezon City of the Philippines.

Fought early in the morning due to international time-zone differences, and at a blistering temperature somewhere between 90 and 100 degrees, the “Thrilla in Manila” has since gone on to be regarded as one of the finest bouts in all of boxing history.

The contest got off to a furious start, and continued at a remarkably expedient clip throughout it’s entirety, particularly by heavyweight standards.

Both men fought their hearts out, laying into one another with reckless abandon.

From round to round, it truly seemed as if both fighters were dead set on leaving everything they left in the ring that day, career longevity be damned.

Ali overextended himself in the early rounds, underestimating Frazier’s tenacity, leaving Smokin’ Joe to take control and batter his body in the middle rounds.

Past the 10th round though, Joe began to tire, and Ali relied more on pure boxing, landing shots at range, and eventually closing Frazier’s left eye in the process.

During the 13th round, Frazier’s mouthpiece came out, causing him to be battered for nearly 2 minutes without a mouthpiece, resulting in numerous cuts opening inside his mouth.

Virtually blind, Frazier was eventually forced to retire on his stool at the conclusion of the 14th round by his trainer Eddie Futch, resulting in TKO victory for Ali.

While few could argue that Frazier was likely the worse for wear, it’s interesting to note that both Muhammad Ali and Angelo Dundee were seriously considering bowing out of the fight at this point as well.

In fact, Ali was quoted as having said that the “Thrilla in Manila” was the “closest he ever felt to dying.”

Despite this, Frazier remained furious at the result, maintaining that he was more than capable of continuing the fight.

Such was the case when it came to Joe Frazier.

Following his second loss to Ali, Frazier would go on to finally get his second shot at a now title-less George Foreman in 1976.

With a shaved head, Frazier stepped into the bout resolute and determined to avenge the most grave of his losses, though ultimately, it was not to be.

Fighting smarter, and more defensively, Frazier evaded more of Foreman’s shots than in their brief first contest, though a single thunderous left hook managed to put him down in the 5th round, with a second down and ultimately a referee stoppage following soon after.

Following this, the 4th and final defeat of his career; Joe Frazier retired, only to resurface some 5 years later in an unexpected comeback against fringe contender Floyd Cummings.

The bout was a rough and tumble affair, earning neither fighter any sort of praise for their efforts, and ultimately resulting in a disappointing draw, the first and only of Joe Frazier’s career.

Following this, Frazier would retire for good, becoming an entrepreneur and trainer among other things.

Regardless of the circumstances, active or retired, one could always count on Joe Frazier to knuckle down and keep on truckin’.

Throughout his career, Joe Frazier was regarded as a fairly slow starter, but one that would press on and eventually get the better of almost anyone you put in front of him.

Relatively small for a heavyweight, Joe Frazier was a swarming pressure fighter possessed of crushing punching power and some of the most ingenious and brilliantly executed head movement in the history of the sport.

Indeed, it was likely his physical deficiencies, in the form a short reach and height, which resulted in him adopting the bulldog-like infighting style he was famous for.

On that same note, it was likely this face-first style that resulted in his prime arriving and fading with the expedience that it did.

Fighting his entire career in what is perhaps the greatest era of heavyweight boxing, Frazier’s long but largely insignificant title reign likely could’ve been a historic reign had he not faced the legendary competition he did.

It’s easy to forget, but in 37 contests, Joe Frazier only lost to 2 men, namely Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

While both of those men undoubtedly achieved feats equal to, and in some cases, greater than Joe Frazier; it’s hard to deny that any fighter would be envious of suffering defeats exclusively to 2 of the best heavyweights of all time.

Not even Ali or Foreman themselves were fortunate to claim such an achievement, with both sustaining needless losses to middling competition over the course of their lengthy careers.

Indeed, in many ways it’s to Smokin’ Joe’s credit that he saw the writing on the wall and decided to retire when he did.

That being said, Joe Frazier was one of the best, in a time when to be the best, very well may have meant being the best of all time.

For that, among many other events and accolades not mentioned in this article, I will forever remember Philadelphia’s favorite son, Smokin’ Joe Frazier.


R.I.P Smokin’ Joe Frazier

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The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, Runner-Ups


Well folks, it finally happened.

Yesterday we finally finished working our way up through the ranks of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, and named Mike Tyson as the rightful owner of the #1 spot.

As per the norm whenever I put together a top 10 list, today we’ll be taking a look at some of the runner-ups to the list.

Some of the omissions surprise even myself, so expect a few exceptionally tough cookies to pop up in the proceedings.

That being said, let’s get to take a look at the top 5 runner-ups, presented, for my convenience; in no particular order:

#5. SS01-Schwarzgeist – Einhander

Pictured: The Astraea FGA Mk.I does battle with the heavily armed orbital satellite, the SS01-Schwarzgeist.

In case you’re wondering “Schwarzgeist” is German for “Black Ghost.”

With a name like that, the developers of Einhander were pretty much obligated to make this guy totally badass.

To be fair, they also went ahead and made pretty much the entire game absolutely fucking badass.

I’ve mentioned Einhander elsewhere on this blog, but for those who might not know, the game is a supremely difficult Playstation 1 scrolling shooter developed by Square.

While the game is populated by a host of tough bosses, each sporting a number of variable attack patterns depending on the approach you take in fighting them; “The Black Ghost” is likely the most difficult overall.

He also happens to have one of the better tracks in the game as his battle theme.

Boasting an absurdly complex attack pattern that is nearly impossible to grasp without burning a continue or 2, “The Black Ghost” is a brutal challenge that is nevertheless, much easier to defeat through brute force than pure skill.

That is to say, coming into the fight with the right weapons *Cough!* Grenade Launcher! *Cough!* is key to victory.

The fact that “The Black Ghost” has a definable and not all that well hidden weakness, is likely the reason he didn’t make the Top 10.

Despite this, his despicable variety of attack patterns, combined with Einhander’s unforgiving gameplay system of only allowing you 1 life before each continue; make a strong case for his presence among the runner-ups.


 

#4. Isaac Frost – Fight Night Champion

Pictured: Andre Bishop goes toe-to-toe with heavyweight champion Isaac Frost AKA The White Guy.

Another game that I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, Fight Night Champion’s inclusion of a nearly invincible final boss came of somewhat of a surprise to me.

Then again, these days it’s almost a tradition to include at least 1 overpowered athlete in sports games.

That’s right, I’m lookin’ at you Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson and NBA Jam Scottie Pippen

Designed to be fought in a round-to-round, objective based system; the actual procedure involved in fighting Isaac Frost contributes almost as much to his difficulty as his actual fighting ability.

Possessed of unbalanced punching power, speed, and stamina, Frost holds all the cards from the opening bell, and yet his beastly-ness is further bolstered by the fact that the game forces you to fight him a certain way.

Essentially, throughout each round of the fight you are required to follow a pre-determined gameplan, be it using your legs and hanging back, or landing haymakers to the body.

It’s an entirely inorganic procedure that doesn’t exist outside of the “story mode” of the game, resulting in whatever skills you learned playing the game competitively getting tossed to the curb in terms of usefulness.

To date I have yet to beat Isaac Frost, largely due to his insane attribute bonuses, but the fact that the game forces me to fight him the way it wants me to really grinds my gears to an exceptional degree.

With that, I leave you with this video of Frost obliterating Super Middleweight, Anthony Mundine:


 

#3. General Akboob/Hitler – Total Carnage

Pictured: Captain Carnage and Major Mayhem do battle with the giant heads of General Akboob and Adolf Hitler.

In terms of pure quarter munching arcade shooter goodness, few games can measure up to Smash T.V. and Total Carnage.

Virtually identical in terms of gameplay, both are exceedingly difficult top-down shooters that absolutely revel in chewing up players and spitting them out.

While every second of these games is a challenge of the most epic variety, the bosses featured in them are quite likely the most difficult aspect of them.

On that note, I don’t think many people would argue with me in crowning General Akboob, the final boss of Total Carnage, as the toughest among them.

His pattern involves filling the screen with projectiles at all times.

Most of his attacks have an accurate homing capability.

And worst of all, he has no less than a half dozen forms, one of which is a giant Hitler head!

I have no idea what that has to do with anything, especially since the very Russian looking/sounding Akboob is supposed to be Middle Eastern, but whatever it was the 90’s.

Anyway, all of this results in a horribly drawn out battle of endurance.

… A battle of endurance in a game where your character dies in one hit.

You do the math.


 

#2. Emerald and Ruby Weapon – Final Fantasy VII

Pictured: 2 brave parties face down the infamous Emerald and Ruby Weapons.

I just realized this, but there weren’t any RPG bosses on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.

I’m guessing it has something to do with my own (heavily biased) opinions, but the simple fact of the matter is that I really haven’t played an RPG since Final Fantasy VIII way back in ’99.

I did however, play quite a few before that point, mostly of JRPG variety.

That being said, while I’ve heard that some of the Shin Megami Tensei bosses are absolutely balls out insane in terms of their capacity to rob you of hours of your life, I haven’t actually played any of those games, so I don’t really have an educated opinion in that matter.

The point is, from my experiences with pre-1999 RPGs, Emerald and Ruby Weapon were the only 2 bosses that I recall having an inordinate amount of trouble with.

From what I hear, the debate rages on which of the 2 is more difficult, though I got my ass served by both of them equally, hence their dual ownership of the their spot among the runner-ups.

I remember Emerald had, no joke, about a million hit points, and Ruby was able to eject your characters from the fight, making doing battle with either of the pair an absolute pain in the ass.

From what I’ve been told, much of the strategy involved in defeating either of the 2 involves an incredible amount of dedication and prep work, as well as a healthy dose of luck.

When Final Fantasy VII came out, I was barely a pre-teen, so I had neither the patience nor the intelligence to figure out which angle to attack them from.

This resulted in me getting literally whipped to death by Ruby, and sat on by Emerald more times than I’d care to admit.

That being said, here’s a clip of some Narutard beating them both into the ground.

Don’t ask me why he dubbed the Final Fantasy themed J-ballad over it….


 

#1. Geese Howard – Fatal Fury

Pictured: Terry Bogard blocks a Reppuken from his nemesis, Geese Howard.

Geese Howard was, and always shall remain, one of the toughest bosses in all of fighting games.

Oh yeah, and he’s quite possibly one of the pimp-est videogames of all time to boot.

That’s saying a lot considering how far fighting games have come since 1991.

Possessed of a limited, but utterly devastating repertoire of moves, Geese was tough to beat for all the reasons you’d expect an SNK boss to be.

He was better than you in every way, especially in his capacity to dole out chip damage on par with some of your clean hits.

Despite this, I’d hesitate to call Geese cheap, merely inordinately difficult and just a little bit frustrating.

Much like Sagat from the original Street Fighter, Geese was a fighting game boss who’s bread and butter consisted of brutal and relentless fireball traps.

Perhaps worst of all though, ‘ole Geese also had a counter-throw capable of cancelling most of your melee attacks.

I don’t think I have to tell you that he often employed this technique with pinpoint timing, often using it to ruin your offensive rallies at the most inopportune of moments.


 

Thus concludes The Azn Badger’s Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights!

Thanks for reading!

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The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, #1


Alrighty folks, today we finally reach the big #1 on our list of The Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights.

On our journey up through the Top 10, we’ve covered bosses featured in games of numerous genres, ranging from action platformers to 2D fighters.

Yesterday we took a closer look at Tageri and Ubusunagami Okinokai, a pair of end-game bosses from the acclaimed Treasure shoot ’em up, Ikaruga.

While some bosses earned their places on this list through being deceptive or unpredictable, the 2 bosses mentioned above did so through possessing entirely predictable, but immensely complex and oppressively persistent attack patterns.

There are innumerable traits and profiles to choose from, but when it comes to describing that which makes for the most difficult of boss fights, in my mind the combination of the 2 listed above makes for the perfect unbeatable monster of the videogame realm.

To be “unpredictable in one’s predictability.”

That’s what makes for the greatest challenges, not just in gaming, but in all things of a competitive or adversarial nature.

Today’s boss, the #1 ranked entry on our list of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, possesses the aforementioned elusiveness, while at once making use of crushing attack power and inhuman speed.

That being said, The Hardest Boss Fight is:

“Iron” Mike Tyson – Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Pictured: Little Mac mere nano-seconds away from eating a right uppercut from Tyson.

Mike Tyson is of those rare bosses that is so hard that there’s a certain elegance to be found in the brutally of his design.

The original Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (that’s right, we’re not talkin’ that Mr. Dream bullshit) came out in 1987, smack dab in the era in which few would argue “Iron” Mike’s claim to the title of “Baddest Man on the Planet.”

To put things in perspective, at the time of the game’s release Tyson was 31-0, with only 4 of his wins going to decision.

The rest, went pretty much like this:

While time has gone on to prove things otherwise, in 1987 Mike Tyson was, for lack of a better term; invincible.

What better than to honor the man’s reputation than by creating an 8-bit digital version of him that was every bit as powerful, quick, elusive and intimidating than the real thing?

In case you couldn’t tell by now, that’s pretty much what the folks over at Nintendo did.

That’s right, they took the terrifying essence of Mike Tyson, and crammed it into an NES cartridge for mass consumption.

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!: The game that eats your children.

In real life, Tyson’s aura of invincibility was shattered in 1990 through a complex combination of a lax training camp, possible fatigue generated by traveling to Japan and fighting at an off-time, and the relentless, pressuring attack of one James “Buster” Douglas, a B-level fighter emboldened by the recent passing of his mother.

While that’s how things went down in real life, the sad fact of the matter is that, in order to even last 2 seconds with the “Iron” Mike featured in Punch-Out!!, one’s best bet is to play defensive and look to land blows immediately after slipping one of his.

Which, if you've never seen it before; results in THIS delightful face.

Of course, if it were that simple Mike Tyson wouldn’t be the Hardest Boss on this list, now would he?

The core mechanics of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! are extraordinarily simple on paper, though in practice their complexity is not to be denied.

Much like real boxing, in every fight in the game the basic strategy, without fail; is to dodge or block your opponent’s blows while landing your own in response.

In the game, when you miss or block punches you lose “hearts,” which are representative of one’s stamina and must be exchanged at a rate of 1:1 in order throw punches.

Countering an opponent “clean,” that is; at the exact frame of animation in which they would’ve hit you with a blow of their own, awards you with “stars” that can be used to execute a devastating (but slow) super punch.

Every fight in the game goes a maximum of 3 rounds, with decision wins being a possibility, though more often than not fights end with one of the boxers being TKO’d due to the 3 knockdown rule being in effect.

Which will result Tyson doing his nifty "win" pose.

At it’s core, Punch-Out!! is a game that is based around timing and memorization.

Every fighter in the game has “tell” of some sort that signals you of their actions, though it’s up to the player to identify the meaning of these signals while surviving under the strength of their reflexes in the meantime.

All of the fighters in the game have a complex pattern to their actions, though many of them expand on their repertoire of moves should they be allowed to advance to the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the fight.

Mike Tyson takes all of the above complexities and turns them up to 11.

His power is unworldly.

His timing is deceptive and uncertain.

To put it in his own words:

Seriously man, words cannot describe the beastly-ness of Mike Tyson.

Like our #2 entrant(s) on this list, Mike Tyson is a rare example of a final challenge that demands absolute precision and excellence in all of the skills you’ve acquired throughout the game.

While I’d argue that such a gesture on the part of the game’s developers is actually quite admirable, especially in this modern age of gaming where “hand-holding” is in many ways the norm; there’s no denying that Mike Tyson is a videogame challenge was designed to be conquered by only the best of the best.

AKA The Koreans.

His absurd power and speed alone would likely make him worthy of the Top 10 Hardest Boss Fights, however at the end of the day it’s his indecipherable timing that make him it’s king.

Like all of the fighters in Punch-Out!!, “Iron” Mike signals his attacks with a gesture or facial tic, however the reaction time necessary to avoid the resulting attacks,; let alone capitalize on the openings presented by them, is downright superhuman.

Not only that, the timing of his attacks, and his pattern on the whole, is somewhat variable; resulting in instances of familiarity on repeat plays, but never complete consistency.

Even if you somehow manage to avoid his attacks and land a follow up shot, if the timing of your offense is off by a fraction of a second, or worse yet, you overextend yourself and throw one too many punches; his recovery time is usually quick enough to punish you.

Pictured: What it looks like to be "punished" by Tyson.

Another tricky aspect of “Iron” Mike’s game, is the fact that his blows suck stamina like a fuckin’ Dyson, resulting the inevitable instance or 2 in which you’ll have to hang on for dear life and dodge a few of his shots in sequence in order to get your wind back.

Given the imperceptible nature of most of his attacks, this is usually the point in the fight when Mike Tyson picks you apart and puts you to sleep.

Dodging his attacks every now and again isn’t terribly difficult, but doing so several times consecutively is a whole ‘nother story.

Such is the indescribably nerve-wracking experience that is fighting Mike Tyson.

I’ve never beaten him, and to date I’ve only gotten to Mike Tyson maybe 1 or 2 times in my life.

While he’s quite a bit more “fight-able” than some of the lesser bosses of this list, (*cough!* Duriel *cough!*) in that it’s possible for an above-average player to hit, and even knock him down once, Mike Tyson remains to me the Hardest Boss Fight in videogames.

In fact, in many ways “Iron” Mike’s faux vulnerability is what makes him the #1 entrant on this list.

While as the final boss of the game he was appropriately given the tools to run over you at the outset of the fight, his AI was cleverly designed to fight in unpredictable fits and spurts, resulting in a perpetually tense situation wherein you don’t know what kind of Tyson you’re going to be dealing with.

You could spend 2 thirds of the fight straight-up handling a relatively lax and predictable Tyson, only to have him suddenly shift gears and unexpectedly put you to sleep in the closing moments of the final round kind of like this:

There’s no such thing as catching your rhythm or finding your “comfort zone” with Mike Tyson.

Much of Tyson’s aura of invincibility in real-life was perpetuated by psychological means, through the fear each of his opponents failed to conquer, before and after stepping into the ring with him.

If Mike Tyson was unbeatable in his prime for this reason (among others) in real-life, then personally I find it’s only befitting that his videogame counterpart should share this reputation.

Thanks For Reading!

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Thoughts On Fight Night Champion Demo

So, I tried the new demo for Fight Night Champion on my PS3 yesterday.

For those that are unaware, I’ve written quite a few posts in anticipation of this game’s release.

Most of those posts were fairly critical of the new elements being introduced to the franchise, and sadly; today’s post will continue that trend.

The Fight Night Champion demo consists of a local and online head-to-head mode and several video featurettes detailing the new gameplay elements and graphical improvements.

For anyone whose been following any of the pre-release videos and articles regarding this game, the videos contained in the demo are exactly the same that have been used to promote the game thus far, so you may as well skip ’em.

Anyway, let’s get to the important stuff, namely the actual gameplay of the demo.

The local version of the demo (I haven’t tried online) comes with 4 fighters at 2 different weight classes, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson at heavyweight, and Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao at welterweight.

 

Not what I'd call the most even of matches for a demo...

If I may diverge for a moment, I feel a need to rant about stats in boxing games.

I think it’s kind of funny that they listed Manny Pacquiao’s stats as being 93 overall, making him on par with Muhammad Ali.

While I don’t doubt that Pacquiao will find his way into Canastota (the boxing hall of fame, dumbass) in the near future, and will likely be regarded as a top 100 of all time fighter, the very notion of stats in a boxing game kind of irks me, largely because a few nasty experiences I had in fighting opponents with vastly superior stats (read: BROKEN) in online matches in Fight Night 3 and 4.

 

Then again, I was playing as this guy most of the time...

If attributes were guaranteed to carry fighters to great success, as they typically do in videogames; then guys like Edison Miranda, John “The Beast” Mugabi, or Zab Judah would be all-time greats.

Just so we’re clear, those guys aren’t not ever will be anything more than “good” in the sport of boxing.

Muhammad Ali was solid in every category of physical capability that a fighter should be, with his durability, speed, and stamina serving as the foundation for his game; however the factors that put him over the edge, were intangibles like his unfaltering tenacity, ring intelligence, and heart.

Now watch, EA will go ahead and introduce a “ring intelligence” stat in the next Fight Night just to shut up dumbfucks like me.

Bullshit ramblings aside, while I took the time to play as all 4 fighters, I spent the majority of my time playing as Miguel Cotto against Manny Pacquiao, largely because I felt playing with a stat advantage would cloud my perception of the game.

I suppose it also helps that I like Miguel Cotto.

Anyway, from a presentation standpoint; the game is pretty impressive.

The fighters bear a closer likeness to their real-life counterparts, and the entrance animations are far more organic than in previous entries in the series, which had the fighters looking and moving in a very bland an generic fashion.

*Whew!* At leas it was never that bad…

In all, the most striking graphical change in the somewhat fuzzy, washed-out filtered look that the game sports.

Fight Night 4, and indeed many of EA’s recent sports games like MMA or Madden, have sported kind of a sterile/Walmart-y, plastic-y look to them that had all the human characters looking like Ken dolls.

Doesn't it look weird?

The texture work in Fight Night Champion seems more realistic, with pores, imperfections, and muscle definition appearing more realistic overall.

In-game, the default camera angle is a little annoying, with the fighter’s heads being too close to the top of the screen, and the ring ropes often obscuring some of the action; however this is an option that is changeable, so I can’t complain too much.

Despite the graphics looking nice, from a gameplay standpoint; the framerate seems a little out of whack.

Maybe it’s just the demo, but Fight Night Champion felt a little choppy to me.

It’s not that it felt slow, on the contrary it felt faster in some ways; it’s just that the game didn’t seem as “crisp.”

The delay time from controller input to on-screen action is a little more pronounced than in previous Fight Nights, and the motion blur effect is taken to near ridiculous heights, with Manny Pacquiao’s white gloves turning into white smudges any time any sort of action occurs.

Speaking of “action,” Fight Night Champion makes use of a brand new control scheme dubbed the “Full Spectrum Punch Control” system.

The new system consists of flicking the right analog stick to execute all of the punches in your repertoire as opposed to miming them with the analog stick.

Truth be told, I don’t like the new system.

Flicking the analog stick is probably more efficient, however the end result is a gameplay mechanic that is simply too sensitive for it’s own good.

Think about it, if you move the stick just a little bit off, you’ll end up doing something completely different from what you intended.

Not only that, but when you factor in the delay between action to implementation in-game; you end up with a game with an overly sensitive control scheme that queues your fuck-ups and plays them out well after you made them.

Seriously, if you have this demo, try spinning the analog stick for a second so you can watch the game play itself.

Moving on, guarding is now mapped to a shoulder button, resulting in all blocking being executed automatically, with no additional inputs required to guard high or low.

As with the punch control, this system reeks of someone thinking it would be a good idea to “streamline” the gameplay mechanics.

As with the punches, I feel that this was a big mistake.

Maybe I like being able to block high or low.

Maybe I like the idea of being able to lay traps for my opponents by aiming high with weak shots, and then going low with heavy ones.

 

Gatti vs. Dorin: Kick-Ass Bodyshot For The Ages

Honestly, why would EA think it would be a good idea to remove this?

For the time being, my overall impression of Fight Night Champion is mostly a negative one.

While Fight Night 4 was a little bit too hyperactive to be considered an accurate boxing simulation, the gameplay mechanics were solid and responsive, but moreover; it was  fun.

Fight Night Champion looks great, but the choppy framerate coupled with simultaneously overly and inadequately responsive gameplay; results in a product that if you ask me, could probably use a little bit more development time.

Either that, or less Canadians at the helm of the game’s development team:

Seriously, that guy was hella’ Canuck…

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

If you disagree with me, please leave a comment, I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on this.

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Heavyweight Boxing Ruined My Article!

As phenomenal a fighter as he WAS, it's never a good thing when THIS is the look of a top 10 fighter.

Heavyweight boxing has never been my thing.

Aside from the hype surrounding Mike Tyson’s post-prison bouts, I could never see the beauty in boxing fought North of 200 lbs.

Ever since Lennox Lewis dominated the division, with his superior height and reach, coupled with his fundamental based European-style boxing; I couldn’t help but be kinda’ bored by the heavyweights.

Pictured: One of Lewis' GOOD fights, against Frank Bruno.

Personally, I blame Lewis and the Klitschko brothers for being so fucking tall, and so fucking good at fighting tall, but that’s besides the point.

Honestly, I think my disenchantment with the heavyweight division has a lot to do with the era in which I grew up, an era where truly talented fighters were hard to come by.

Ask any old timer and they’ll tell you that knowing the name of the heavyweight champion of the world was common knowledge among most Americans back in the day.

Hell, I remember hearing that in WWII, the current heavyweight champs name, as well as the date and venue of the Rose Bowl (January 1st, Pasadena), were facts used as codes for determining friend from foe.

It makes me sad to know that boxing was practically the king of all sports back in the day, only for it to turn into a niche sport around the time I was growing up.

I blame the establishment of PPV, and the various belt factions, but again; that’s besides the point.

The point is:

The heavyweight boxing used to represent the pinnacle of the sport, but these days it’s reduced to a sideshow act with maybe 3 worthwhile fighters to go around, none of which are American.

 

Soda Popinski: NOT American.

While a lack of talent in divisions in relatively common in this age of boxing, wherein moving up in weight is treated not so much as a physical inevitability, but as a business tactic for seeking larger contracts; when there’s only a handful of good fighters at a weight, it’s downright painful to see them kick tomato cans back and forth between one another rather than fight each other.

Such has been the situation in the heavyweight division ever since Lennox Lewis vacated the undisputed championship (a title which, technically; has yet to be reclaimed).

It’s funny, this article was supposed to be a hopeful one, singing the praises of boxing and it’s promoters for finally getting Wladimir Klitschko into the ring with David Haye, but unfortunately; from the time I started writing this, to the present; that pivotal match-up in the sport has since fallen through… For the 3rd time.

That's one helluva' a mean-ass Godzilla impression, but that doesn't make him any less of a pussy.

Instead, we get the premier heavyweight champion of the world, Wladimir Klitschko; versus unproven British prospect Derek Chisora in April, and then against former light heavyweight, turned cruiserweight, turned heavyweight contender, Tomasz Adamek.

While I don’t expect Chisora to make it to the final bell, or even the 6th round; I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Adamek’s pluck and tenacity; so I give him a fair chance to put on a good show.

Seriously man, after seeing Adamek’s brawls with Paul Briggs and Steve Cunningham, it’s hard not to be a fan of the big Pole.


On a side note, Paul Briggs looks a helluva’ lot like Sam Worthington if you ask me…

While Adamek has had a good run as a heavyweight thus far, we’ve never really seen him in there with anyone as large, skillful, or powerful as a Klitschko.

Needless to say, in the case of both Chisora and Adamek, both men will be at a severe disadvantage in terms of height, reach, and perhaps most important of all; power.

I don’t expect either man to topple Dr. Steelhammer, but like I said; Adamek will find a way to make things exciting at the very least.

Like I mentioned earlier, this post was originally intended to be celebrating the emerging sense of clarity that a Klitschko/Haye match-up would provide for the heavyweight division, but instead I’m forced to write about a champion defending his title against an undersized tomato can, and an undersized tomato can that can take a punch.

It should be noted, that I give Adamek about as good a chance against Klitschko as David Haye, but in this case; Haye’s value on paper is what counts, more so than his (questionable) merit as a fighter.

Goddamnit boxing, you ruined my article!

Filed under: Boxing, Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, #25-21

Welcome folks, to the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks!

After weeks of preparation, carefully researching and measuring untold numbers of musical pieces against one another, I’ve finally managed to put together a list that meets my ridiculous standards.

I’ll admit, there’s sure to be an odd pick here and there, but bear in mind:

This is my list, and I honestly couldn’t give 2 shits about what you think of it.

2 SHITS.

That being said, much of the difficulty I had in crafting this list of music, came in the form of a very specific ground rule I decided to lay out for myself from the get go.

Said rule required that I would be restricted to choose only 1 track per game franchise.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Azn Badger, why on Earth would you place such a horrible restriction on yourself, won’t that just make you all nerd-rage-y n’shit?”

"STUPID FUCKIN' PRINCIPLES N'SHIT!!!"

While I did in fact have a hell of a time with this, I decided to abide by this rule because I felt would force me to truly pick the cream of the crop for fear of dishonoring long-standing game franchises with sub-par tracks.

Yeah, believe or not, I actually care that much…

Not only that, said restriction also kept me from making a Top 25 of Best Mega Man music, ’cause to be honest, this list could’ve easily been made up exclusively of Mega Man music had I allowed myself to do so.

Anyway, we’re gonna’ do this 5 tracks at a time, so without further ado, here’s tracks #25-21 of The Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks!:

#25. Skate or Die 2: The Search For Double Trouble

“Skate or Die 2 Theme Song”


FUCK.  YES.

Skate or Die 2 was one of those games that I remember for all the wrong reasons.

I remember it as a game that my brother rented one time that had shitty controls, shitty graphics,  and…

Did I mention it was a shitty game?

Anyway, the one positive memory I have of Skate or Die 2 was of course, the title screen music.

How many NES games can you think of have their own theme song?

With actual digitized lyrics?

Well, Skate or Die 2 had one, a SHITTY ONE, but it was the good kind of shitty.

Y’know, shitty in that Mystery Science Theater 3000 way, where it’s terrible, but in such a way that you can laugh at it.

Anyway, this is the closest this list has a to a “joke” entry, so brace yourself for SERIOUS BUSINESS for the rest of it.

#24. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

“Training Theme”


Ah, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, how you shat on me in my youth… And continue to do so to this day…

Punch-Out!! is a gaming classic notable for it’s bold-faced racially stereotyped cast of boxers, intuitive gameplay, and out-of-control difficulty level.

 

Mostly just the racism though...

Anyway, I loved Punch-Out!! as a kid, but to this day, I suck balls at it.

I can put half of the guys in Super Punch-Out!! down within 15-20 seconds, but the original Mike Tyson version is a whole ‘nother story.

I was tempted to put the standard “fight music” that plays throughout the game on this list instead of the “Training Theme, but after careful consideration I think I made the better choice.

Both tracks are heavily inspired by Bill Conti’s work on the Rocky films, and as such, are FUCKING AWESOME, but in my opinion the “Training Theme” just has that little extra something, a little extra swagger in it’s step, that makes it the flag bearer for Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

#23. Fester’s Quest

“Boss Theme”


Fester’s Quest is a shitty game.

Thanks to the Angry Videogame Nerd, everyone is now aware of this.

What most people don’t know however, is that I spent most of childhood thinking it was actually pretty decent.

For whatever reason, my brother and I owned Fester’s Quest back when it was brand new.

I don’t think either of us knew who the Addam’s Family were at the time, (I don’t even think the AWESOME movie had even been made yet) so I can’t explain what compelled my family to possess the ‘ole Quest of Festering, but I digress…

As a kid, I played a lot of Fester’s Quest.

With my poor sense of direction, inability to grasp the control scheme during the “3-D” segments, and acute fear of the green blobs in the sewer levels though, I didn’t really manage to get anywhere in the game.

FUCKIN' BLOBS!!!!

I just sort of wandered around and died, over and over and over again…

Anyway, on 1 or 2 occasions though, I actually managed to get to the first boss.

I never beat him, however the musical memories of said moments are something I treasure to this day.

That being said, Fester’s Quest was, and is, a truly horrible game, however it had some seriously boppin’ tunes, and the “Boss Theme” was easily the boppin’est of the boppin’.

BOPPIN’.

#22. Batman

“Streets of Desolation”


Batman.

How could I have a list, any list; without Batman?

Obviously, I couldn’t, ’cause Batman’s stage 1 theme “Streets of Desolation” is a wonderful piece of music, wholly deserving of a place in the Top 25.

To be honest, I didn’t actually play Batman until very recently.

As in, within the past few months or so “recently.”

In my youth, I had a cheap-ass bulk strategy guide to NES games that my mom gave me to shut me up during a flight to Hawaii.

 

Kind of like this, but a little less ghetto.

It was one of those “hint books” that gave you shitty advice like:

“In Fire Man’s stage in Mega Man, don’t touch the fire!”

or

“In Bayou Billy, shoot your enemies quickly or they’ll shoot you back!”

Even as a kid, it was pretty fuckin’ lame.

Anyway, Batman was featured in this guide, and from the pictures, I always thought it looked really fuckin’ cool.

Unfortunately, I was too busy renting Snow Bros. every weekend to remember to give Batman a try, so I never really got around to playing it…

Psst! They're made of CRACK.

Boy am I glad I took the time to seek it out and give it a whirl.

Batman really is a great NES game.

It’s final stage is too hard, and the game is way too short, but for the most part it’s a fun and graphically intense game that deserves all the praise it receives.

That being said, “Streets of Desolation” is a fantastic piece of gaming music that, had I any nostalgia for the game it’s from, would probably be ranked much higher on this list.

#21. Gremlins 2: The New Batch

“Office Stage Theme”


Gremlins 2: The New Batch scared me as a kid.

Not the movie mind you, the movie was hilarious.

No, I’m talking about the game.

Oh yeah, and this one fuckin’ picture book of the movie that had a close-up of Mohawk in his spider form, that was some scary shit…

Nowadays he looks pretty fuckin' pimp to me. Funny how a few years makes all the difference...

Basically, every Gremlins 2 related product, except for the movie itself, creeped me out something fierce.

Oddly enough, it wasn’t the (quite good) visuals that bugged me in the Gremlins 2 game, rather it was the music.

“The Office Stage Theme” scared the piss out of me as a kid.

Sure it has a goofy, cutesy note here and there, but the overarching theme of the music is one that struck terror into my soul as a child.

I remember my brother rented this game exactly once.

I liked playing it, as it had good graphics and controls, and I always thought Gizmo was cool, (my brother preferred Mohawk, as he was the badass Gremlin…) but the music just made me too anxious to play it for more than a few minutes.

That and the fear of running into one of the scary looking bosses…

Like a stunning number of games in the #25-21 bracket (Fester’s Quest and Batman) Gremlins 2 is a Sunsoft game, and as such; it’s music has that wonderful Sunsoft flavor to it.

Something about the way they do their bass work is just wonderful to listen to.

Anyway, “The Office Theme” might be a little obscure to some, but it’s on the list for scaring me to death as a child…

Check back tomorrow for #20-16 of the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks!

Filed under: Boxing, Comics, Games, Movies, The Top 25 NES Tracks, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Boxing and the Azn Badger

Boxing is just about the only professional sport I pay attention to.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy watching sports, I simply haven’t devoted as much time to appreciating and learning the subtleties of them as I have in the case of boxing.

SUBTLETY.

The first time I can remember seeing boxing, was when I was really young, maybe 5 years old.

My parents were watching the end of Rocky III on TV, and I walked into the room (past my bedtime) thinking it was a real fight.

I remember yelling “Jesus!” every time Rocky got, um, clubbed; by Clubber Lang.

"JESUS!"

After 3-4 cries of “Jesus,” my mom ushered me out of the room and told me to go to bed, but not before telling me to say “jeez” instead of “Jesus.”

Now that I think of it, that was kind of weird.

I remember going to church every now and again as a kid, but my parents never enforced any sort of religion in the house.

Oh well, my best guess is that, at that point in my life my parents hadn’t yet decided if I was going to be raised with a religion, so they didn’t want me taking the Lord’s name in vain just in case.

To this day, I have yet to establish any religious affiliations.

Although I did spend some time in the Kamen Rider Kult for awhile... Does that count?

That awkwardness aside, Sylvester Stallone and Mr. T’s climactic brawl at the end of Rocky III served as my introduction to the sport of boxing.

That fight also ranks as one of my favorite in AMERICAN film history, so it’s gonna’ get posted below for your enjoyment:

I remember years later, during Mike Tyson’s big comeback in the mid-90’s, my brother and my dad would “watch” some of the scrambled Pay-Per-Views.

You see, this was back in the day when Pay-Per-Views came via a cable box, (which my home didn’t have until my brother started ordering WWF Pay-Per-Views) but the channels they aired on could still be accessed in “scrambled” format.

That’s right, my brother and my dad cared enough about boxing that they would plop down in front of the TV and watch a scrambled snowstorm just to get the live audio.

"Oh, LOOK at that crushing right hand from Arguello! Boy Jim, that sure LOOKED painful, didn't it!?"

It was around this time that I came to realize that boxing meant something to my family, primarily my dad.

My dad loves all sports, don’t get me wrong; but boxing has always seemed to have a special place in his heart.

When I was little, and would sometimes sit in and watch the fights with him, he’d always amaze me with his ability to predict the outcomes of fights.

I didn’t know it then, but it turns out my pop had done a bit of boxing in his youth.

Pictured: My Dad.

That’s not to say he was some retired legend of the ring or anything, but even so, he managed to do a few neat things during his time in the sport.

For instance, in his youth he competed in the Philadelphia Golden Gloves tournament, even going so far as to the reach the semi-finals.

He was eliminated by a young fighter named Willie “The Worm” Monroe, a man who would later go on to defeat middleweight legend, and easily one of my favorite fighters of all time; Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

Sum' bitch, beat mah' daddy...

Oh yeah, and get knocked the fuck out by Hagler a few years later.

Click below for vengeance by proxy:

During his time in the Vietnam War, my dad made his way over to Thailand once or twice.

While staying there, my dad was invited to participate in a friendly exhibition match with a local fighter.

Nobody told my dad who he was fighting before the match, but as it turns out, his opponent was Chartchai Chionoi.

The same Chartchai Chionoi that had been sitting on the world flyweight championship for a few years by the time my dad met him.

According to my dad, the fight really did play out as a friendly exhibition for the most part, with neither man getting hurt for the most part.

My dad always said he was just glad he on his feet the whole time and didn’t end up embarrassing himself.

He and Chartchai exchanged holiday cards every now and again for years after that.

According to my dad, Mr. Chionoi got kind of pudgy at one point, so my dad used to poke fun at him for it.

Pictured: Chartchai Chionoi in the twilight of his career.

It was my dad’s love for/knowledge of boxing that drew me into it.

I always wanted an excuse to hang out with my dad and shoot the shit, and boxing was the venue I chose to do it from.

I spent my youth listening to the little fundamental tidbits my dad would throw out during the fights, and by the time I was in high school, I felt I knew the sport pretty well.

That’s one of the major differences between boxing and other sports for me.

I get boxing.

I didn’t really pay much attention to other sports as a kid, and as a result, I don’t know them as well.

It makes a huge difference, knowing what you’re looking at, and knowing “how” to appreciate it.

Art....?

When he was in high school, my brother went to live in Kobe, Japan for a year.

During this time he took the time to join Senrima Keitoku’s boxing gym, the same trainer that would go on to train recently dethroned world bantamweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Hasegawa is a Japanese boxer that is actually GOOD.

I don’t know the extent of my brother’s training in Japan, but I think he did it for the same reasons I wanted to:

To have something in common with dad, and to say that he “did it.”

These guys "did it" too.

Seeing as boxing was one of the few things I could really relate to my dad on, I was always envious of my brother for having that connection.

Unfortunately, I was not in the best of shape as a kid, and I always thought I’d never make it in a gym, so I never really tried.

Pictured: The Azn Badger in his youth.

As fate would have it, I found myself faced with a school project that required one to join a community and do what is called “appreciative inquiry,” I.E. giving and taking while never really implying that you’re overtly “taking.”

Yeah, I know, hippie-dippy-gobbledy-gook at it’s best, right?

Because the project was sprung on us with little notice, I took it upon myself to take advantage my my newly in-shape self, and I joined the local Police Athletic League to try my hand at boxing and do my project at the same time.

I had a lot of fun at the gym, in fact I still miss it to this day, largely because of all the time I got to spend helping out the little kids.

Not in THAT way, you perv.

This way:

At the gym, I was surprised to find that I was more than able to keep up with the training regimen, however my eyesight was a huge problem.

Let it be known, that people that wear contact lenses or glasses should never, ever consider pursuing boxing as anything more than a workout.

Don’t be an idiot like I was, you’ll be better for it.

In sparring, I never told my coach that I was wearing disposable contacts that would come out after getting hit about, oh, once.

As a result, I was blind for most of my sparring sessions, though I did alright anyway.

Never got hurt, anyway.

On my last day in the gym, when my class and the project attached to it ended and I was forced to get back to my normal schedule, I got my ass torn up by a new arrival at the gym.

The guy was about 17 years old, 2 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than me, and had a few years experience under his belt.

It's true, it's true. I did in fact fight Ivan Drago.

All I had going for me was a thick skull and ridiculously big hair.

Oh yeah, and I'm a FUCKING DOCTOR.

I got my face pounded in that night, and even though it was my last night there anyway, it truly felt like the world was telling me to get out of the ring.

Some of us are made to be fighters, some aren’t.

AREN'T.

I can’t say which I am, but I will say this, starting out in boxing at 21 years of age is not the way to find out.

I never got a chance to fight in a real match, however I was scheduled for one, which I made weight for and everything.

At 152 lbs., there were a lot of other fighters vying for the same spot as me on the card, so I ended up getting pushed aside in favor of more experienced guys.

That match will always be a big “what if” I’ll have in the back of my head, but such is life.

These days I play armchair quarterback with my dad.

I prefer to watch fights alone, or with my dad; rowdy crowds tend to make me nervous on account of how they sensationalize the fight.

Kind of like these guys.

I’ve always said that, in boxing, I never applaud violence, (unless I HATE the guy getting his ass torn up) I’m just there to see what happens.

It’s for this reason that I also prefer to watch fights after they’ve already happened.

I don’t really care about being surprised, I just like sitting back and evaluating, and learning from the situation.

Boxing is a sport that encourages it’s fans to review it’s long and colorful history.

I have spent most of my life doing this, and for that reason I guess I’ve been conditioned to know what is coming ahead of time.

Some would call my preference blasphemy, however in my eyes, boxing is something I “appreciate” more than I care about “being there” for.

I’m not sure if I should thank my dad for getting me into a dieing sport that no one really seems to talk about these days, (try finding a boxing magazine among all the gun, bodybuilding and MMA ones, I dare you) but I will say this:

I am thankful for my father and everything he’s taught me in life.

Sure, I can’t ride a bike, but I can tell you the names of probably 80% of boxing’s hall of famers.

Life skills, that’s what dad’s are for.

Thanks dad, here’s to sittin’ around watching the fights together for the rest of our days.

Happy Father’s Day!

Filed under: Boxing, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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