Thursday, March 7, 2013

Blood, GIFs, and a Pothead: The Fight Night Running Diary

   There can only be one word to describe the scene of an underground fight night: dank. When some Delta Chi brothers and I went down to watch one of own, Ben Bloch, enter the ring against a mysterious man-mammoth akin to a certain action-star, we found a place that was dirty, dark, and sketchier than just about anything you will ever find. The place was filled wall-to-wall, with more people shouting and screaming at their fighters than had to be allowed in the facility. It was insane, but man, it was awesome. We were treated to thirteen fights tonight—count ‘em!—and each one offered its own unique story. Whether it was a Northwestern girl intimidating the dickens out of me, other spectators asking me for drugs, or the always quality antics of my buddy Ben, the night offered plenty of quality blog material. Dazz went thirteen rounds of boxing, and for the whole two hours, he gave you minute-by-minute coverage. Ring the bell, it is time to commence with one of the most unique running diaries we have ever done.

6:10—Fight #1
                Two skinny white kids start going at it. This is what you pay to see right here. We have some kid in above-the-knee shorts with fire going up the sides and another kid with easily the deepest chin cleft I have ever seen on a human being. Well this is just exceptional.

                Fire-shorts is just receiving an absolute whipping right now. This is a classic Rocky tactic. Take the beating early on, wear your opponent out, and then come in for the kill later.

6:12—The first round ends. The ring has a little music going in between rounds, and it sounds like we have some classic folk happening right now. Totally fits the underground, sketchy-as-all-hell vibe, right? Not even folk rock. This is pre-bluegrass stuff. Unbelievable.

                As the next round begins, my friend Evan yells for Fire-shorts to “Use the star power!” This is what we need. In a crowded room full of bloodthirsty, eager-for-violence people, we should have a dorky white guy yelling out video game references. It may have inspired little Fire-shorts though—he kept knocking out Boy Chin Wonder’s mouthpiece. He had to put it back in probably seven times after it had fallen on the nice spongy sweat-mat. Man, this place is really sweeping the board here in terms of the health code.

6:19--The Boy Chin Wonder wins the fight by unanimous decision. No one roots for the little guy these days. What a shame, this was some classic schoolyard stuff, and we have a dozen of these left!

6:20—Fight #2
                We have two girls fighting now, and no, there will be no cat-fight jokes here, thank you very much. What I will say, however, is that I kept waiting for some overprotective father in the audience to jump up, hurdle the ropes, and tackle the other fighter. Or at least cuss someone out.

6:23—We have some extracurriculars after the round, the two gals took a couple of extra swings there! What fun. Let me sort of paint a picture here: we have a slimmer gal in the blue corner going up against a gal who . . . who needed to be in another weight class, I should say. She had a real haymaker though—it was intimidating as hell.

                After the second round the two coaches brought out the stools and everything again, and I have to say that I had a brief flash of Million Dollar Baby. I think that is one of those few flicks where you can voice it aloud or mention it in passing, and no matter the context or the company, everyone who hears it will squirm. You hear that little crack when she—see, there you go. Told you.

6:27—The haymaker gal wins out of a split decision. We need a knockout here.

6:28—Fight #3
Alright so this time around we have a wiry, really athletic dude (but not like the school bully Boy Chin Wonder from the first fight, you respected this one) against who appears to be the leading promoter for every tattoo artist in the Chicagoland area. We begin a sports-tattoo talk.
That’s when my buddy Ben said something that deserves its own line in the article. “I bet he prays. If they’re tattooed, they pray.” Hey Ryan Reynolds, what do you make of this?

The athletic guy opens the round with a straight-up shrug. Awesome. And man, I am loving this hyperlink thing.

6:33—We decide that boxing needs finishing moves. Like a charge-it-up fire-punch. I notice the need for this when tattooed guy is backed up against the ropes and I literally yell aloud “Finish him!” to his opponent. I am a monster, guys.

                When the ref announces the winner (tattoo guy) the crowd boos wildly. Then someone yelled “Kill the ref!” and things became real serious real quick. My buddy Ben says, “The crowd’s not a huge fan of that one.” Have we had enough hyperlink-celebrity cameos? Louis says nope, he wants in one this one.

6:38—Fight #4
                We had a technical knockout! Essentially one guy was punched so hard in the face that the judge deemed him, “too bloody to continue.” I fist-pumped a little. Sorry.

6:44—Fight #5
                There’s another women’s fight! And—wait for it—one of them is a homegrown Northwestern Wildcat! Yeah!

6:45—My gosh this gal has some combinations, and she is totally kicking ass with them! NU’s winning easy here . . . hey, you guys think she’s si—never mind.
                Some guy in the back yells, “Work the body!” which is definitely inappropriate in this context, but somehow totally appropriate in this context. Weird.

6:51—Catgirl wins! Go cats indeed! She won on unanimous decision, but her final blow was an absolute monster. I yelled “Fatality!” right after it landed. I need to take a break from this.

6:53—Fight #6
                We have another Wildcat in this one! Small problem though, instead of a fairly well-matched opponent that he can overcome with a combination of scrappiness, tenacity, and good looks (what?), this guy is up against some dude with a last name that sounded suspiciously like Alphadiablo. Let me just type that again so it will repeat in your head for emphasis. Ready? Here it is: Alphadiablo.
                The whole room is dead silent. It was like everyone was just waiting for something horrible to happen. All you could hear for a solid minute and a half was the Wildcat and Alphadiablo just punching the hell out of each other. No one could look away.
6:57—After the round they played Demi Lovato and ruined it. I was a little peeved. Luckily, it opened the latter rounds for more videogame jokes, this time more along the lines of us yelling “Press B!” (at the Wildcat, not Alphadiablo, because he would probably cut us) and talking Smash Bros. We are real fans.

6:59—The fight ends in a draw. Here is what the judge said, verbatim, “Thought it would be the winner of the third round, but neither of them wanted to win.”
                Here’s what I have to say to that.

7:02—Fight #7
                This fight is a classic Evanston kid against some kid who looks like he has that classic fought-his-way-to-the-top-with-an-older-trainer-and-subpar-facilities-and-a-cool-theme-song-by-Survivor backstory. But honestly I lost my focus a little bit on this one because the Wildcat girl appeared right behind our group, and I was intimidated as all hell. It is really just a lot of confusion right now on that front.

7:04—As the violence ensues and the Evanston kid begins to enter Hulk mode, we have an idea. So all of these fighters wear padded helmets, right? What if they customized them like goalies do in hockey do? That would be damn cool—all these guys have sweet nicknames to play off of anyway. Imagine Alphadiablo’s mask. Like Darth Maul meets the New Jersey Devils meets boxing . . . this cannot lose.

7:09—After the fight, they have a small delay because someone has to come into the ring and mop up the blood from everyone’s broken faces. Boxing also needs those little sweat-mopping kids that basketball has. Come on, offer a kid five bucks to clean some blood from a boxing ring and he will do it ten times out of ten.

7:12—Fight #8
                To put it bluntly, this fight pitted some curly-headed schmuck against Ray Lewis. Keep that image in your head. To his credit, Curly Top really came out swinging.

7:17—There are lots of Italian guys here; I wonder if they have bets on these fights. Probably. I mean, at this point, I was honestly expecting someone to step into the ring, shoot some steroids into their arms, and put the gloves on. This thing has entered the Tyson Zone—google it.

7:19—Curly Top stuns Ray Lewis and eliminates the validity of fifteen stereotypes. There was much rejoicing.

7:23—Fight #9
                Material is wearing thin here as we pit some frat guy against a dude named Doug. The frat dude is wearing a tank that just says, “RAGE” on the front. We start going into the best shirts to wear in a boxing match. The top spot went to a Watchmen tee with the bloody smiley face, and the number two spot went to those pug t-shirts. If you are about to go down, you might as well look like you saw it coming.

7:26—Doug is not doing so well; he was really banged around early. It sounds contradictory given the seemingly casual tone I have put on this event, but when you are watching boxing live and you see some new guy just absolutely being dominated, you really want to step in and help. It is pretty sad. I liked Doug. Seemed like a good kid. Sucked at boxing, but hey, he kept his chin up.

                He lost, in case that was unclear.

7:30—Fight #10
                For many people, this was the marquee event of the night. It looked like one guy had his entire extended family come all the way up from Rogers Park or somewhere, and they were howling and barking like mad the entire time. This was the purest boxing match we probably saw all night, so much so that there’s a solid ten-minute gap in my notes from me just standing there watching these guys beat the doo out of one another. The crowd became so rabid and so loud that the fight simply demanded you attention. It was the perfect example of why boxing is a million times better live than on television. People go absolutely nuts over these things—each fighter goes from a total stranger to a personal investment in seconds. Crazy. I do not even remember who won.

7:40—Fight #11
                Another Wildcat! This guy is named Adrian, and he is thrown up against some total Pilsbury Dough Boy who looks like he outweighs him by at least 40 pounds. Adrian looks scrappy though, so he earns my instant respect.

7:45—As the fight progresses, Adrian slowly evolves from a tactical, methodical boxer into what is essentially a cornered animal. This is something else you do not really see on television either. When these guys feel the fatigue set in, they literally start running on pure adrenaline, whether that comes from a mantra or the crowd or the threat of being flattened by a Marshmallow Man like Adrian here. It was insane. Both of them just went primal on each other. The crowd was going nuts, it was like something totally illegal was about to happen and we all knew it.

7:48—After round three, the judge steps in to announce the decision . . . draw! Man, sack up. Seriously, you just had two guys leave it all out there, both of whom had the crowd in an absolute hurricane of action-induced craziness, and you do not declare a winner? Grow a pair and take a side. Would there have been a riot either way? Yeah, absolutely, but that is better than creating an outcome that is literally meaningless. Unreal.

                New rule right now: no freaking draws in boxing. You should not be allowed to pit two guys against each other in a straight-up fight and have some namby-pamby tie come out of it. No boxer enters the ring and takes all that damage for nothing. Either you earn a win or you take a hard-fought loss. Sheesh.

7:51—Fight #12
                I missed the larger portion of this fight because as our group moved to gain a better perspective  for our friend’s match, some dude in baggy pants, a chain, and an oversized zip-up hollered at me, “Hey yo One Direction, I know you got the weed. Where’s it at?” I remember I laughed it off and kept walking. In retrospect, it would have blown his freaking mind if at that moment I had reached down into my sock, pulled out a bag of pot, flipped it to him, and kept walking. He looks down at the bag, and on the outside is written in Sharpie: “This one’s on the house” plus my phone number.

                I am a lot cooler online than in real life, guys.

7:58—Fight #13
                Finally, our main event. Fellow Delta Chi member Ben Bloch going up against a father. That is right, this guy had his little son and little daughter sitting in the front row, with their little dangling feet hanging over their chairs, about to see daddy punch a guy. This is what we want our kids to learn, as early as possible. Yes.

8:03—The father looks like a somewhat skinner Vin Diesel, but still the XXX and Chronicles of Riddick version of Vin (with any luck, that is the only time anyone ever will mention any sort of XXX Vin Diesel, but we do not have to go there, so we will not). He won the match over our Bear Jew friend, unfortunately, but I like to think that this was some sort of situation where he was doing this fight to save the farm or something. Vin Diesel would like that.

   One thing to take away from an underground fight night: everyone should go. Few things are more fun to watch live than boxing—the crowd is crazy into it, the action never stops, and even if you come in with a neutral allegiance, you find yourself taking sides for every bout. It is an absolute blast to go, if at time life-threatening, terrifying, and borderline criminal. Dazz will be back.
   To leave you, here is Kim Kardashian taking a kidney punch. Peace love God bless America.

1 comment:

  1. Guy from the 6th fight here, and just wanted to say that I enjoyed this article. Also, getting to see Kim Kardashian get punched was worth scrolling to the bottom.