Saturday, September 10, 2005

Vacation Stories: Fight Night

When my friend A suggested that we go see the K-1 kickboxing tournament when we were in Vegas, I have to admit I wasn't fired up for it at first. Boxing, I undersand and dig. Kickboxing seems, on its face, weak to me. When I was a kid, I got into my share of scraps. I won as much as I lost, until I came to my senses and starting fighting younger kids exclusively.

Anyway, you fought with your fists. Once the fight was basically over and you'd won, you might bitchslap an opponent. But that was where it ended. Kicking was sissy shit. Right up there with biting and pinching. If I was watching a fight between two other kids and saw one kid kicking, I might jump in to help beat up the kicker, just on principle.

I got more excited as we talked to the ticket agent at the Mirage.

"You probably want seats here. You'll be thirteen rows from the ring. Last time, the blood and sweat only splattered out about eight or so rows, so you should be fine." Right on.

K-1 bouts only last three rounds. There is no strategy or endurance. The fighters are basically trying to kill each other as fast as possible. It is the crack cocaine of fighting.

We arrived early, just as the first undercard fight got underway. The bell rung ending the first round of that fight as we settled in. Second round started, and the bigger guy caught his smaller opponent dead on the face. He fell lifelessly to the ground. "Good timing, huh?" I said to A. "Yeah."

The next fights were all bouts involving women. The first fight featured a successful female kickboxer named Gina, who was fighting a beefy woman named, well, "Beef." Gina was hot. For three rounds, a sweat-glistened, toned and sweet-on-the-inside seeming Gina tenderized Beef, but never knocked her out. My proposal to Gina was lost in the cheering and loud music that filled the arena after she was announced the winner. I loved her, but it was time to move on.

The next fight featured a 127 pound white stripper in cornrows named LaTasha Manzolla, who came into the arena with backup dancers (possibly colleagues from her day job) doing an elaborate act set to NERD's "Lap Dance." It was, well, something. The fight was sloppy, with poor combinations by LaTasha and her 125 pound Fillipina opponent, Jan something or other. It went the three round distance, with the fight going to LaTasha on points (probably more for style due to her intro than the fight itself).

As for the men's fights, they were less memorable. One of the bouts was between this Japanese kickboxer named Tomohiro who was tussling with this guy named Scott Lighty, who had a bunch of fans in the audience, a lot of female fans in tight tops and short skirts who didn't pay attention to the fight and spoke on their cell phones must of the time. They were lovely.

That said, I thought Lighty was going to be destroyed. One minute and twenty-three seconds into the fight, Lighty round house kicks Tomohiro in the jaw. Tomohiro is out before he hits the canvas. In fact, he's not getting up. I was pretty sure he might be dead. I turned to A, "Man, I think dude is dead." A didn't hear me at first; he was too busy high-fiving other spectators, "That was the shit!" After a few minutes, Tomohiro was helped up and was assisted out of the arena.

There was a tournament and a winner, but do you really care? The last fight I'll mention was not part of the tounament, but an exhibition bout between this 275 pound former boxer (?) named "Mighty Mo" who was tussling with 268 pound South African Francois Botha, aka the "White Buffalo," who is known for his odd grunting and for having been one of the last people to lose to Mike Tyson. Botha smiled and waved to a hostile crowd. He beamed as the boos got louder. The fight started, and Mighty Mo knocked Botha down three times in 60 seconds. TKO in a minute. That never happens. They showed some replays. Some phantom punches knocked Botha down the first two times. I last punch barely grazed him.

The boos were absurdly loud. Botha just smiled and waved the crowd away. He'd gotten a payday. After he climbed out of the ring, I joined everyone else in the arena in a prayer that Botha got hit by a meteor as he walked out of the ring. He got out fine. Nietzsche's famous quote crossed my mind, maybe God is dead. Unlike Neitzche, I wasn't trying to be funny so as to pick up a gnostic hooker when the thought crossed my mind.


Blogger Chemical Billy said...

...those gnostic hookers know how to party.

I never thought I'd develop a desire to see a kickboxing tourney before today.

You are right about kicking, though. I can't say I stuck to fists as a teenager (found myself in far too many fights with guys twice my size, that's what being a punk in Utah will get you), but I never resorted to kicking. Even when things devolved into something out of a pro-wrestling match.

Hm, have I said too much?

2:28 PM  

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