On Sept 26th, I was reminded why Boxing is the best sport to a fan.
It was the night Vatali Klitschko vs. Chris Arreola would meet at Staples Center to fight for the Heavyweight Championship of the world.
The night was set up for history. Chris was attempting to be the first Heavyweight fighter of Mexican descent, to win a Heavyweight title. And it was also the night I fell in love with boxing all over again.
As I sat in my seat, I noticed 2000 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward. As I greeted him, I wished him well in this fall’s Super Six tournament on Showtime. It's the Supper Middleweight version of a round robin tournament. I then spoke with Edison Miranda, the Colombian fighter who will be fighting this October. If he wins, he will be the number one mandatory for the winner of the rematch between, Lucian Abute vs. Librado Andrade.
A few minutes after that, the crowd goes into frenzy…it was Mickey Rourke. With the reaction of the crowd, its seems that the man has created a cult following after resurrecting his career…his main followers seem to be…very hot, fake breasted women. As the crowd mobbed him for pictures and he walked my way I thought, what the heck, lets take a pic...your freak'n Mickey Rourke, he laughed and obliged.
The first fight was over, a back and fourth bout, but pretty much a snoozer. I decided to go up for drinks. As I walked up, I noticed a face... it was Bobby Chicano. Bobby was born in Sylmar, Ca. He retired with 59 wins, 7 losses and 1 no contest, with 47 wins coming by knockout. Even though I never saw him fight, I was told stories about him by my father. As I greeted the legend for the first time,I realized that after so many fights, he is left with slurring speech. Bobby was quick to remind me where to place a body shot, as we posed for a picture.
I returned to my seat with drink in hand, just in time for the next fight. It was a bout I was curious to see. The fighter was Salvador Sanchez, the nephew of deceased legend, Salvador Sanchez (I know, how ironic). As the fighter walked out of the tunnel to enter the ring, I noticed my good friend, Ruben. I met Ruben when I was younger at a local gym (Brother's Gym, R.I.P Jim Moriarty) where he was a trainer. His fighter won by TKO.
A few moments later, Hollywood had arrived. Arnold Schartzenegger and Sylvester Stallone made their way into the arena before the main event. As they passed by me I shook hands with them. I was utter shock...did i really just shake hands with the Terminator and Rambo.
The moment did not last too long. Ruben made his way back into the arena to watch the pre-fight to the main event. I congratulated him and his fighter on their victory. The pre-fight was over after eight entertaining rounds.
Finally…The stage was set for the main event. I called everyone that I knew who would be watching the fight on TV. To watch the fighters walking in closely...because I was going to find a way to get my fifteen minutes of fame. “I was going to acknowledge everyone by waving peace sign.”
After sneaking by security and leaving my girlfriend in what was becoming a mad house from anticipation for the main event, I was there. I was along the rail...the fighters were to come out in a few moments.
While waiting for the fighters to make their entrances, I noticed James Toney. James is a future Hall of Famer in boxing. He has fought legends Roy Jones and Evander Holyfield. James lives and trains in the LA area and I’ve seen him at my local gym. As I spoke with him, I asked if he was still training at the 360 Gym in Reseda, Ca. He said yes, and told me to come by anytime around 4pm. I'm considering showing up, with my gear, but with no intention to pick a fight. Maybe light sparring and to get lessons from a skilled veteran.
I then noticed Jeremy Piven. He like everyone else was rushing to his seat. Before he could get past the crowd. I had only one thing in mind to shout out to him….”Fuck Johnny Drama” without missing a beat. He looked over and gave me the famous Ari smirk.
As the music drowned the arena, the crowd stood to a roar…its fight time. The fighters are making their way into the ring. Chris is the first fighter to come out. As he walked by, I patted him on the shoulder and then I stretched across the rail and threw up my peace sign into the camera… I did it. I was like a five-year-old kid, who was seemingly dying to get picked to get on a ride at Disneyland. I’ve gotten my first fifteen minutes of fame.
After Vitali made his way into the ring, the fighters were announced and the fight was on.
After ten rounds the fight has halted by Chris’ trainer. His young charge was taking a beating by the masterful performance Vitali had laid out that night.
I had picked Chris to win by KO because he was ten years younger and has great knockout power. Vitali reminded everyone that if you stick to your craft year in and year out, You will always be ready for what ever comes your way.
Before I arrived at the arena, I never anticipated everything I would experience that night. I have been to many events and met many athletes. But no other sport or athlete have shown me the love that boxing has.
I love to watch boxing on tv especially if Pacman is on the ring
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