The fortunate thing is that this was a month worth missing. There were few big fights, cancellations, and of course the overarching sense of the morbid that mired it all down. I’m not really one for moody brooding when it comes to the lives of others; the dead are dead and stay that way. Besides, it’s a rare public figure whose death touches one in a way to make a reaction really worthwhile. I mean this in the sense that if death is the ultimate personal, I find it kind of offensive to turn it into a public contemplation if one’s relationship is only cathode ray deep. I don’t know, it’s all just so damn serious.
The Explosive Thin Man had preternatural timing
There is of course the human need to try to take lessons or draw conclusions. And it is a genuine oddity; Arguello, Gatti, and Forrest all in a month and all the result of… violent ends. Really, though, I don’t think it’s anything more than a giant and meaningless awful. Could you argue that people of violence are more likely to end by it? I think that’s valid, people who have lingered on the void might be prone to fall in, no matter where they now stand, but I don’t know that it’s helpful to really think about.
I must say that of the three Vernon Forrest was the most upsetting. Arguello was so monumental and fixed; a boxing icon and statesman so foundational that not even this could shake the image of that long right hand as his valediction. And Gatti, well, no offense but he had ceased to be a man years ago; the Ward fights weren’t boxing they were public masochism. All the plastic surgeries had made him look vaguely Asiatic and his persona and results and the way people viewed him was uncomfortable and ahistorical and vaguely apocryphal.
The boxing phrase, "his face a bloody mask," seemed to suit "Thunder" Gatti, who treated it as such
But Vernon, well he was different. The other two had reached ends that were realized and full in ways that few ever do; they had eaten fully from the tree of life, more than any man could ask. I never loved Vernon Forrest, he wasn’t one of my favorites; he was too familiar and staid, an honest champion. He didn’t have the outsized persona or ring presence to inspire or call to dreamers, but I seemed to know him. Maybe it’s because he was from Atlanta and was always seeming to falter on his rightful journey, but he seemed so human, so touchable and flesh.
I seemed to know the know "The Viper," he was familiar.
He was a fine fighter; I thought he could have beaten contemporaries De La Hoya, Quartey, Carr, and Vargas. Probably would have lost to Trinidad and Wright; but really what difference does that make? Forgive me for even trying, but notice must be paid.
Forrest's finest moment, when he conquered the great Shane Mosley. Hopefully HBO won't pull it down.
* I’m going to try be a little more consistent on upcoming fights. Maybe give some thoughts on the big boys; Floyd-Marquez and Cotto-Pacquiao in the coming weeks. The only fight I really missed out on that I had something to say was Ortiz-Maidana. It was a bit of a shocker to me, but also an eye-opener in terms of the deeper magic that it takes to be a top prizefighter. I might still write about it if the inspiration strikes and I can find the video.
* A highlight of Alexis Arguello.
* My favorite Gatti comeback.