Against my better judgement and natural instincts, I found myself watching boxing on BT Sport last night. Not an entire night of boxing, which would have seen me staring at the box from 7.30pm until the latest of early hours when the shell of ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson ‘fought’ Roy Jones Jnr, who nowadays, like Tyson, is a senior. The latter would have cost me the small matter of £20. I’d prefer to eat my own leg. But I did watch the heavyweight fight between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce. I wish I hadn’t.
I had briefly seen Dubois, whose name suggests he should be a dancer on Strictly rather than a pugilist, knock out a succession of Mexican roadsweepers and other assorted journeymen no hopers. At 23, it was time for him to meet a real, live opponent and tonight it was Joe Joyce, the Bristol Bears lock forward. Except that this was not the same Joe Joyce. A dancer versus a rugby player would have made for an interesting contest, certainly far more interesting than the one I half-watched.
I have a problem with boxing given its sole aim despite what anyone says to the contrary is to render the opponent unconscious. My problem is that sometimes, I feel compelled to watch it, despite the knowledge that there is a distinct possibility one or perhaps both of the competitors will one day be unable to speak properly and, perhaps, even dress himself. But here I was, glass of red in hand, watching the British, Commonwealth and European title fight between Dubois and Joyce.
Obviously, there was no crowd and everyone except the boxers was wearing face masks. After the usual tedious ‘ring walks’, the fight began in earnest. The story of the fight is best described as follows: Dubois waited for an opening to unleash A Big Right-Hander and the slightly bigger Joyce jabbed from distance, taking aim at Dubois’ left eye which started to swell alarmingly until it became little more than a slit. In round ten, a seemingly innocuous jab saw Dubois sink to his knee and he was counted out. And that was it. Then the fun started.
The TV pundits asserted that Dubois was a “quitter”, something that was eminently true because he had quit. Only he will know just how bad his eye injury was – he later announced he couldn’t see out of it – but that was that. I wouldn’t want to fight anyone with two eyes never mind one, but apparently unless you are prepared to risk permanent scarring and injury from a bloke who weighs around 19 stone, there’s no sympathy for you.
I didn’t have sympathy, either. Obviously, I didn’t want either man to be injured, which is an odd thing to say since that’s the whole point of boxing, but I wasn’t really invested in it.
I skipped the post match interviews and analysis, cursing that I had wasted my evening. I was certainly grateful that I had not squandered an additional £20 on the Tyson farce. One man who was alert to the possibilities of future freak shows was Hossein Khosrov Ali Vaziri, AKA the Iron Sheik, who tweeted former crap wrestler Hulk Hogan that “IF WE DONT DO THIS WE ARE LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE” (his capitals). And why not? If Tyson and Jones could climb back into the ring in their mid fifties, why shouldn’t Hogan (67) and Iron Sheik (78), arse about in the ‘squared circle’ for a pretend fight (spoiler alert: professional wrestling isn’t a real sport)?
I’m not sure this was a great night for boxing. And I certainly won’t be watching another fight on telly, until the next one, that is.