Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random Rules

I have a new piece up on nomas about Malignaggi/Diaz that you should check out. The fight was much more enjoyable than I expected and had the added bonus of the Malignaggi meltdown in the postfight and a memorable press conference afterwards.

In the piece I referenced recent interviews with both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Bernard Hopkins, which absolutely must be read and listened to in full. I find Floyd’s interviews on Bossip particularly rewarding, as we get to hear him at a comfort level that he never gets reaches with the gatekeepers of white sports purity; Brian Kenny, Larry Merchant, and the rest.

It’s interesting that even when the athlete says something in this context that under more official circumstances would come off as petulant, paranoid, or racist, there seems in these interviews the natural patter of the pugilist at rest. It makes all the difference. Not that I find either Mayweather or especially Hopkins grating, but they are more charming when amongst friends, and I wonder whether it might take the edge off for those who consider Mayweather specifically the exemplar of a world gone wrong.

While I find Stephen A. Smith somewhat odious, he was often the one most able to get worthwhile material from his interview subjects, which is difficult given the restrictions placed on the athletes he normally worked with. Boxing, as I wrote in the piece for nomas, has many fewer restrictions, meaning the athlete needs much less rope to go much further. I hope the trend continues, for Floyd most of all I think there is a personal redemption in his less guarded moments that might allow him to retain his status as villain, but provide the depth to make it a lasting and meaningful role.

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