by Fox Doucette
I am not as popular as Bill Simmons. While he gets enough reader mail to supply him with seemingly weekly mailbags to go with his picks during football season, I am left to picking through the crumbs of the occasional Manny Pacquiao fan taking umbrage with my editorial direction or annoyed promoter gumming up my comments section when I take verbal potshots at his fighter (it was either a career highlight or lowlight when Joe DeGuardia or one of his PR flacks got steamed at me after the Demetrius Andrade-Rudy Cisneros fight.) Tell ya what. I’ll stop going after Andrade when he starts fighting guys who show clear progression toward the pride of Providence earning his title shot.
Anyway, the point is that I don’t get enough real mail to do that most wonderful of writer cop-outs, a mailbag. Since, however, I write this on a tight deadline and am saving the next volume of “Merrimack Valley Chronicles” (Southpaw #57) fuck stories for the next time Ed Paredes and/or another fighter from that neck of the woods is in action on a slow news week, I have to come up with something. So consider this “questions I wish someone would ask me” and curse along with me that my writing slot comes too late in the news cycle to beat Pacquiao-Marquez IV into the ground again (there’s always “Last Night’s Winner” for that.)
Arturo Gatti just got voted into the Hall of Fame. Are we letting just anyone in there these days? I mean, you list off the greatest boxers of all time and Gatti’s nowhere near the fringes even in his own weight class. Any of today’s top ten lightweights or junior welterweights would mop the floor with him. But he’s a Hall of Famer?
Yes, he’s a Hall of Famer. I covered this when I argued for Micky Ward’s Hall of Fame case (Southpaw #35). A Hall of Fame is about fighters who made an impact on their era, and there is more than one way to do this. In Ward’s case, it was because he was the single most entertaining fighter perhaps ever to lace up the gloves with his style. Gatti was the same way, which is exactly why the two men’s fight trilogy, even though only one of the fights was competitive (the second and third fights were, frankly, beatdowns in which Ward got the worst of it and then some), is one of the greatest fight series in the history of boxing, worthy of being spoken of alongside Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez, Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales-Marco Antonio Barrera and even Sugar Ray Robinson-Jake LaMotta if you want to go all Bert Sugar on this discussion.
Not only do I have no problem with Gatti going into the Hall, if the Boxing Writers Association of America gave bomb-throwing anarchist outsiders Hall of Fame votes (they don’t; I will knock out a Klitschko brother before a Boxing Tribune writer will get a Hall vote), I would vote for Gatti to get in. Like I argued in that Ward piece, the Hall of Fame is about fame, and they don’t come much more famous to even casual boxing fans than Arturo Gatti.
Also, get off your goddamn high horse. Sylvester Stallone is in the Boxing Hall of Fame. The whole thing is pretty much a farce, much like the shills and wannabe tough guys who compose the writers’ committee. They’re almost as bad as baseball writers, the same ones who looked the other way to lionize the 1998 season but would never let Mark McGwire into the Hall now that they’ve moved on to their stupid Helen Lovejoy act about “the children”.
You, sir, are a nerd. Really. Star Trek in a boxing column? You’re totally not relating to your audience. You should stick to writing dick jokes and go work for Cracked, you sissy.
Here’s a dirty little secret about the creative process when I write this column. My entire goal is to get people who don’t usually read sports columns to enjoy this for the quality of its writing. A fair few women read this. I’ve devoted column space to inspiration I got from the fairer sex (“Talking Boxing With Girls”, Southpaw #54), written tales that were as much about the women as the fighters in the story (besides the previously mentioned Merrimack Valley Chronicles, there was “Right Where I Belong”, Southpaw #43, which I’ve linked to so often you should all have read it by now), and gone off subject to do pieces that anyone can enjoy even if they’re not necessarily boxing fans (“Deontay Wilder, Tomato Pitchman”, Southpaw #53.)
I draw from a rich reference library, but I’m not your typical “grizzled boxing guy” who’s spent more time in gyms than in other things in his life. On a recent period of time off, I plowed through the entire “Final Chapter” arc of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, and I geek out on Next Generation. Call me a nerd if you must; I’ve lost plausible deniability on this. But you’ve got to admit, it does have certain advantages over getting too far up my own ass into boxing like I’m Dennis Guillermo or any of the other one-trick ponies who have no idea what to do with themselves professionally now that their gravy train literally fell flat on his face.
OMG ur so fkn gay! U flomo u can’t rite 4 shit!!!!1!11!
In the words of Bill Simmons, “Yup, these are my readers.”
Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. His weekly column, The Southpaw, appears on Thursdays. If he’s gonna do a clip show, at least give him props for doing a clip show right. Fan mail, hate mail, and actual mail for a potential REAL mailbag can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please spare me the great moments in poop history. I’m not trying to be Drew Magary here.