There were two guys in a bar …
Two men sit next to one another in a small bar in Clifton, N.J. It is about 8:28 on a Wednesday night. The bar is dimly lit and fairly quiet, save for the hum of animated but restrained conversation a few feet away. Each man has a half-filled glass of domestic beer in front of him. They watch a baseball game on the television, which is small and sits on the wall behind the bar. The sound is off. A Yankees game is on.
Bobby: So who do you like next week, Mikey?
Mikey: Who do I like in what?
Bobby: In your mother’s panty drawer. Cripes, Mikey, in the fight, the fight, the Pacquiao-Hatton fight. Where’s your head at?
Mikey: Oh, the fight. Yeah. Hatton kills ‘im. That little Philippine guy don’t stand a chance.
Bobby: Are you kiddin’ me? Mikey, Pacquiao’s the best fighter in the world. You can’t beat that guy. How you gonna beat ‘im?
Mikey: Bobby, you’re losin’ it. He’s a little guy! Like that reality show they got on now, about them little people. What do they call ’em?
Bobby: They call ’em little people.
Mikey: Yeah. Them. He’s like one of them. He used to fight over there on the islands at, like, 26 pounds or somethin’,’I heard. He can’t stand up to no Ricky Hatton. No way! Hatton’s a big, strong kid, a real strong kid. You should see the muscles on ‘im. I ain’t kiddin.’
Bobby: Mikey, let me ask you something: How old was you when your mother dropped you on your head? Did you see what Pacquiao did to De La Hoya? He almost killed ‘im! Oscar freakin De La Hoya! The guy walks around a middleweight!
Mikey: Bobby, this ain’t got nothing to do with that time my mother dropped me. Besides, it wasn’t her fault; she was getting that tattoo and was drinkin’ a beer at the time and nobody’s got three arms. Anyway, that De La Hoya fight didn’t prove nothin. Some guy told him to eat deer meat and nothin else and he listened to him and came in too light. He had nothin.’
Bobby: Yeah, I know, that’s what he says now. He wasn’t sayin’ that before the fight. But anyhow, what about the fight with that kid from Chicago, David Diaz? Everybody thought he was too big for Pacquiao too.
Mikey: C’mon, Bobby, you’re insultin’ my intelligence now. Diaz is a good kid, but he ain’t no Ricky Hatton. He barely beat that old Mexican, what was his name?
Bobby: Morales. Erik Morales.
Mikey: Yeah, that’s him. Diaz barely beat him and that guy was like 200 years old, Bobby. Diaz. Come on.
Bobby: All right, wise ass, what’s so great about your boy Hatton?
Mikey: Are ya’kiddin me, Bobby? Look: the guy’s only been beat once his whole career, by that guy on the scooter, Merriweather.
Mikey: Yeah. Him. Anyway, that was at 147 pounds. Ricky ain’t no good at 147 pounds, he’s a 140-pound guy, and he still gave Merriweather a fight.
Mikey: Yeah. He still gave him a fight. Look, he beat Castillo and that kid with the hair extensions, what his name, Paulie Mollinwhatever, and that other Mexican guy, the scare guy.
Mikey: Come on, you know who I’m talkin’about, Bobby. I can’t think of his name. Can never remember it. The scare guy.
Bobby: The scare guy?
Mikey: Yeah, come on, you know his name. Come on, don’t bust my chops. The guy who gets everyone scared. You know.
Bobby: The Hispanic Causing Panic? Juan Lazcano? Is that who you mean?
Mikey: Yeah, that’s him. Scare, panic, same thing. I couldn’t think.
Bobby: Yeah, but Lazcano almost knocked Hatton on his ass, Mikey.
Mikey: Right, which is why Hatton dumped that Evangelist guy who was training him and went with Merriweather’s father.
Bobby: Evangelist? Mikey, what are you talking about?
Mikey: That really old guy who’s a preacher or something when he’s not training fighters. You know. What’s his name? Um, Graham. That’s right. Billy Graham. Hatton dumped him because he’s too old to be training fighters.
Bobby: Mikey, you dumb ass, Billy Graham didn’t train Ricky Hatton.
Mike: Yes he did, I read it. Dude’s name was Billy Graham, and then I seen him on TV givin’ a sermon or somethin”in front of a lot of people in a really big church and I remember thinking right away, hey, this guy is too old to be training fighters. Ricky has to get a young guy. Then he went with Merriweather’s father.
Bobby: Yeah, Mikey, that’s a different Billy Graham. There’s more than one.
Mikey: All right, anyway, that’s beside the point. Ricky’s got a new trainer now and he’s good and Ricky ain’t gonna be runnin”in with his head up like he used to. This new guy’s teachin’ Ricky some defense.
Bobby: Mikey, they all say that. Fighters are all the same. They do this and that in the gym and then they get in the ring and get hit and they do what they always did. They’re all the same.
Mikey: Well, even if it goes that way, your boy better be sharp. Because Ricky ain’t gonna stand on no ropes like Oscar did, waiting to get hit. He’s going to be in Pacquiao’s face all night, and diggin”that hook to the body. Pacquiao better be ready for him.
Bobby: I think he will be, Mikey.
Mikey: We’ll see.
Several minutes pass in silence, as the two sip their beers and watch the Yankee game.
Mikey: Hey Bobby, what was that guy’s name again? The scare guy. You know who I’m talking about. I can never remember his name.
Some miscellaneous observations from last week:
To those of you wondering if Carl Froch’s dramatic win Saturday night over Jermain Taylor cured me finally of my maddening tendency to underrate British fighters, I say probably not.
The reason Taylor falls apart later in fights is he’s too tight and tense in there. It wears you out. By contrast, look at how relaxed Froch was, even after getting floored.
Oh, by the way: Jermain Taylor? Done. ÔÇª
The question isn’t, why is James Kirkland running around with guns? The question is if he needed protection, why didn’t he call Ann Wolfe? ÔÇª
Someone should have warned Carlos DeLeon Jr. about Allan Green’s overhand right, which we hear Green affectionately calls his “Colon Punch.” ÔÇª
Didn’t it feel like Bea Arthur was going to live forever? ÔÇª
Michael Moorer threw more punches during the filming of Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7 than he did in the Vaughn Bean and two Evander Holyfield fights combined. ÔÇª
I’m really looking forward to the Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye fight, mostly for that moment when Haye launches his first overhand right and Klitschko gets that look on his face. You know the look he gets. It looks like this: http://www.funnychill.com/media/63/Scared_Face/. ÔÇª
I hate to be a buzz kill, but pardoning Jack Johnson’s bones 96 years after the fact isn’t going to put food on anyone’s table or get anyone a job. Don’t our politicians have more important things to do? ÔÇª
If you’re looking for a silver lining to Gus Johnson’s insufferable dramatizing on Showtime Championship Boxing, consider all the free, on-air training he’s providing the future demolition derby announcers of the world. ÔÇª
Watch how quickly De La Hoya changes his mind about retirement if Hatton beats Pacquiao. ÔÇª
Is there anyone not calling out John Duddy? ÔÇª
Think you’re tough? You’re not. Gerry Penalosa is tough. He redefined the word Saturday night against Juan Manuel Lopez.
Bill Dettloff can be contacted at [email protected]