How To Be A Boxing Writer
It seems like every weekend there’s a major breakthrough to cover in boxing, as the sport continues to build on one success after another and grow in popularity. Whether it’s the impressive performance of a network-backed weight-bully, the return of a time-defying former champion with a death-wish, or the latest one-sided massacre victory of the latest mediocre “star”, the possibilities and angles for boxing articles are endless. All this has led to The Fight City’s inbox becoming inundated with budding scribes’ requests for advice on how to contribute to the Book of Boxing in this Golden Age for the sport.
Thus, we bring you The Fight City’s Bible of Boxing Blabber, so that you too can join the ranks and enjoy the amazing perks that come with the boxing scribe’s gig. And we’re telling you, you better sit up and take a sip of coffee, because once you master our no-nonsense guidelines, and after you start reviewing every single fight you can find an online stream for, and after memorizing the holders of the approximately 386 titles, super-titles, and emeritus titles, and after interviewing dozens upon dozens of “diamonds in the rough” in sweat-drenched, stinking gyms all over North America in the hopes of identifying before anyone else the re-incarnation of Sugar “Ray” Robinson, you’ll get to bask in the glory of being a true Boxing Journalist.
Make no mistake about it, the blueprint below will be your path to journalistic glory. We guarantee that by following it you’ll become a member of the boxing intelligentsia which gets to rub elbows and bend the ear of the sport’s powerbrokers. Just stick to our program, and in due time you’ll get to discuss the merits of different kinds of silk with Oscar de la Hoya while sitting ringside at a PPV show. You’ll get to assess the pros and cons of diverse marinating methods with Bob Arum, or discuss the advantages of going with a Labrador over a German Shepherd as a guide dog with C. J. Ross after a big Las Vegas event. We’re telling you: if you stick to the program the sky’s the limit!
But now it’s time to quit your daydreaming and apply yourself to the job at hand. Writing is the name of the game, and there’s no cutting corners if you want to make it in this business. Thank your lucky stars we’re here to help you. So open a new browser window right now, type youtube.com on the URL bar, and search for whatever barn-burner happened last Saturday night in Los Mochis, Mexico, or Hyogo, Japan, or Mississauga, Ontario.
Keep in mind that the more obscure the fight you write about, the more cred you get. After all, no one wants to hear another word on the Mayweather’s and Pacquiao’s of the world. If you want to make a name for yourself as a boxing writer, you have to cover fights that not even the fighters’ mothers can remember. This will enhance your reputation as a knowledgeable source and convey the message that you’re not in this for the money or to climb up boxing’s social ladder. No, no no! You’re in this for the love of the game… and to be the best damn bullshit-spewer this unthankful corner of the sports-writing world has ever seen!
So let’s get to work. The first thing to do when you want to write a new article is pick a title:
A) Ageless Wonder improves to 68-25; claims title shot
B) Clash of Bums yields Fight of the Year candidate
C) Overweight Chavez knocks ice cream vendor through the ropes, sends HBO ratings through the roof
D) Victor Ortiz vs. Amir Kahn ends in double knockout, both call out Mayweather
Got it? Okay, the next part’s just as easy. Simply choose one of the options to fill in the blank:
Last night’s outcome holds huge implications for the current boxing scene, since it clearly represents_________________________
A.) a return to form for the former welterweight title-holder who convincingly got back to his accustomed winning ways.
B.) a real letdown, in which the champion safely cruised to victory to avoid disrupting his upcoming megabucks showdown next fall.
C.) yet another instance of boxing being ruined by promoters, cable networks and sanctioning bodies.
D.) a textbook example of what happens when two top talents in their prime clash for supremacy.
E.) a bore-match so epic that it moves one to regard Rigondeaux as the reincarnation of Evel Knievel.
See how easy it is? Onward! Choose one of the following for the first paragraph:
A.) If the reigning titlist was unable to inspire the crowd last night, it wasn’t for lack of trying. The champ consistently pressed the action and threw fast combinations of punches, of which only a fraction landed. This was due to the fact the challenger got on his bike after hitting the canvas in the third round and refused to engage in any meaningful way thereafter.
B.) What appeared on paper to be an evenly matched contest turned into a celebration of boredom with both combatants refusing to take the lead. Given that both contestants recently switched trainers, their newly discovered predilection for defense yielded a lethargic confrontation that was surely erased from any unlucky observers’ memories by the time they hit their favourite online porn sites that night.
C.) It’s so refreshing to have a genuinely meaningful confrontation not only come to fruition, but also to have the fighters deliver inside the ring. Both contestants threw themselves with abandon to their quest for unification, as they landed bombs on each other from the get-go and refused to give any ground to their opponent. Last night’s match will go down proudly in the history books as one of the most important and dramatic fights in the modern history of the sport.
D.) I can’t believe I’m once again covering a Has-Been vs. Wanna-Be battle fought in Sticksville, Arkansas broadcasted through a shitty stream on ESPN.com. Every time the guy in white trunks throws a hook, the stream freezes, and every time the guy in the red trunks throws a low blow, the browser crashes. How anyone is supposed to make any sense of the action based on this pixelated slide-show is beyond me.
Well, that wasn’t hard at all, was it? A whole paragraph written already! But the best is yet to come! Next paragraph:
The opening stanza of the fight______________________________
A.) immediately brought back memories of Hagler vs. Hearns.
B.) saw Chavez Jr. stare at his opponent like a dog who’s just been shown a card trick for three minutes.
C.) set the pace for the rest of the fight rather emphatically.
D.) featured Gennady Golovkin scoring three knockdowns with a single punch.
E.) saw Amir Khan hit the canvas twice and end the round out on his feet.
The first thing I noticed was_________________________________
A.) the champion’s pummeling body attack.
B.) Carl Froch’s stunning babe of a girlfriend sitting ringside.
C.) that those protein shakes the former lightweight has been gulping have sure helped him gain mass, as it only took him 50 seconds into his welterweight debut to send the champion of the world to the canvas.
D.) that Michael Buffer never calls the big fights anymore.
E.) that boxing is beyond salvation and that if all the bad judges, mediocre referees, malign promoters and blood-sucking sanctioning bodies are not enough to bury it for good, then Jim Lampley’s saccharine hyperbole is sure to at least give it diabetes.
After watching the opening round it was possible to infer what would happen in the rest of the fight, but by the middle rounds there was a stunning twist to the plot that made you realize:
A.) you were watching a modern boxing classic which so far transcends the sport as it currently exists that most people probably won’t recognize its complete set of implications for at least ten years.
B.) this fight was a waste of time for anything with a pulse.
C.) the challenger’s trunks were beginning to turn backwards.
D.) you should have streamed this one instead of forking out $80 for the HD PPV.
E.) you were missing Naked Souls on Cinemax.
The late rounds presented___________________________________________________
A.) a solid ending to a highly entertaining match
B.) more harmless pawing from both guys
C.) no threat of consequence, as open scoring made it known the clearly outscored and fatigued champion was pitching a shutout as far as the eyeless judges were concerned.
D.) yet another trip to the canvas for Amir Khan
E.) a chance for the 58-year-old challenger to make history, as the title remained well within his grasp.
by virtue of the fact that______________________________________________
A.) both fighters wind-milled their way to the final bell, bringing the delirious crowd to their feet and afterwards embracing each other thus putting an end to one of the most brilliant pugilistic displays seen this side of Gatti vs. Ward.
B.) there was a much more interesting fight going on on the stands between a drunken Mayweather fan and a drunken Pacquiao fan.
C.) Jose Sulaiman is dead and nothing has changed.
D.) I finally found a way to make those annoying pop-ups advertising Russian brides disappear from the screen.
E.) I stopped paying attention to the broadcast because people on twitter were saying stupid shit and I needed to set them straight.
Time for paragraph three already! Smooth sailing, partner! You’re almost done!
The aftermath of the fight has inspired such_____________________________________
A.) ambivalent feelings
B.) unparalleled praise
C.) bile and venom
D.) total indifference
E.) a powerful thirst
in the boxing world that it’s hard to ascertain what its significance will be down the road. We may speculate on whether the champion will continue seeking new challenges in his attempt to prove he’s deserving of the title of All-Time-Great, or whether he will sit back and cash in by fighting stiffs twice a year on PPV in a Las Vegas arena in front of a crowd made up mostly of gamblers who if it wasn’t because the casino gave them the tickets for free wouldn’t even think of attending as atavistic a spectacle as a boxing fight. But the truth of the matter is that what we saw last night is not something you see very often. So much so that __________________________________________
A.) fight fans will continue talking of this bout 30 years from now when they’re old enough to tell the story to the budding grandsons sitting on their laps.
B.) last night’s spectacle stands as such an insult to basic human decency that it’s rivaled only by the Holocaust and by the undercard of the next Top Rank PPV show.
C.) I will never forget the moment the verdict was announced as I watched the fight in my favourite dive bar around the corner and the euphoric Mexican crowd around me collectively threw their beer mugs in the air soaking me from head to toe.
D.) I hope both guys who fouled my laptop screen with their presence last night at least think about quitting the sport.
E.) I will now go to sleep peacefully, with the knowledge that no matter how fucked up the sport is, there are still valiant warriors out there willing to put their lives in danger for the sake of athletic glory.
And just like that, you are on your way! Since there is no shortage of demand for such insightful writing on the fight game, prepare to be inundated with big offers for your next article. Our advice is to hire an agent to help you sort through them all. Then just keep repeating the process and watch your bank account, and your fame, grow and grow, just like boxing’s burgeoning popularity and relevance! And once you get to the top, just don’t forget who got ya there!
Good luck! And you’re welcome!
For those who failed to notice, this post was inspired by Lester Bangs’ 1974 classic “How to be a rock critic”