Friday, May 20, 2011

Sing, Rage

Just a quick word on Pascal-Hopkins, which takes place tomorrow. I feel a deep and abiding guilt for not writing a piece deserving of the event.

Because every time Bernard Hopkins fights now it is an event. The Last Angry Man. And he’ll tell you as much.

It’s not just that Hopkins is 46. It’s who he is, with the righteous indignation of the abused and ill treated. Is part of his self-construct fiction? Likely, but I’ve never met a man who does not build a life of lies. Leave me my false definitions and watch me carry on.

Bernard has built a career on rage and will and discipline. We all know his criminal past and a life of triumph and redemption, but just look at the man’s career.

He took it by force, one fight at a time. Without flash, but refinement and a seriousness of purpose. “Upon this rock I will stand. And no man shall move me!”

Defiance. A sacred vow.

And Bernard has held distant the very forces of time, by sheer orneriness and guile. They’ve tried to bury him but he won’t have it.

Most don’t find him fun to watch, but to me he’s moving in his desires. Because though the body fails the spirit never wavers. You always know it’s serious with Bernard, he wants it, and if there’s the capacity in that body and mind he’ll give it to you.

He took it by force last December. Despite being knocked down twice, his first legitimate ones in decades he stood up and took it from Pascal. It showed a deeper virtue beyond blood and bone.

“Mine is a will to overcoming, and you’re not the man to take it from me,” said Bernard, as he trudged stiffly forward and pushed through.

They stole it from him, of course. I wasn’t in the least surprised. An elderly black man getting his pocket picked under the bright lights is a matter of course.

But still, it hurt. Bernard Hopkins is a great fighter, one of the greatest who has ever lived, and they never gave him one break. I’m talking about a man who has been in exactly six close (and some not-so-close) fights in his legendary career.

The judges gave him four losses and two draws. Can you recall a great fighter who never got a break. Fight after fight, year after year? And the guy isn’t even from Africa!

He’ll lose soon. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe the next fight. He has never been beat up, but he will be. These things rarely end well.

But I do hope it’s not tomorrow. I hope it’s not to Pascal, a forgettable champion who doesn’t deserve to be the one to take a pick to a monument. He’s not the man for the job.

A snaggle-toothed statue will get into the ring on Saturday night, he’s creaky, but he’s bone tough. Melt down that Rocky atrocity they have in Philadelphia and mint a new one.

And then...

Sing to me O Goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus,

The man of twists and turns

Driven time and again off course,

Which put pains thousandfold upon the Achaians,

Hurled in their multitudes to the house of Hades strong souls of heroes, but gave their bodies to be the delicate feastings of dog and birds!

Bernard Hopkins UD 114-110 Jean Pascal

War X!

PS. Sorry all the comments on the previous post were lost. Hope it won’t happen again.


Chris said...

That was a beautiful fight. Hard to put into words what I feel after watching it.

shoefly said...

You said it Chris. The man did it purely from desire, defiance, and evil. I am humbled to have watched it.

"I shall not move!" He said, and Pascal wasn't man enough to take it. Lovely, and inspiring.

I love the fights!

KevinW said...

Great fight, amazing performance from BHop. But to be honest, my favorite part of the fight may have been Bernard doing pushups in the seventh or eighth. Normally I can't stand showboating in the ring, but that was priceless.

etindale1 said...

I was at this thing, and let me tell you it was nothing short of moving. What an event. Credit to Pascal too; I think he earned a little of the old master's respect, but what a show by Bernard. And credit too to the Montreal fans, who went nuts when the cards were announced. So good.

(Just checked back in here on a whim, so sorry for being like a month late to the (lack of) discussion. Really miss your stuff Shoe, and I won't even get started on Large and the Mas. Unless I've got my wires crossed (quite possible), it's all a damn shame. No one else knows what I'm talking about if I go on about 'Fifty Grand' or show them my Manolete poster I picked up in Seville last year. Changes...)

ricky roe said...

real late on this one...but kind of girl watches fights with me quite often...anyways...we went out to eat earlier in the evening and had a few drinks...told her i wanted to go home and watch a we picked up some stuff to make drinks at through dawson/diaconu by the 'nard fight comes on "this is the one we want to watch right here" showed her some of the preview stuff on demand...well needless to say...she was won over....good fight...bernard and his entrance music..the pushups....she loves him....she actually asked "is bernard a little retarded"?...i said "i dont think he is actually legally...but he might be a little"....anytime i tell her there are fights on now shes like "is bernard fighting" and starting singing "berrrnarrddd" to the tune of 'my way' the fight atmosphere up there in canada...wish they could host alot of fightss and had a bunch of hometown guys to get behind....needless to say i dunno i actually splurge to watch 'nard/dawson on ppv...might have to hit up foxwoods or mohegan if the are gonna show it...thats what we did for pac/shane