Fight Camp: Money Well Spent
In this year of desperation, we will take any glimmer of light to shed the dark.
Any live sport is welcomed, in whatever guise it is presented. Boxing returned, no fans, no atmosphere, but it was back. The studio offerings offered a largely sterile viewing, an old friend returned, but it wasn’t the same.
It needed something different to take it to somewhere near to what it once was. A back garden seemed risky, a lot could go wrong, but it delivered, it worked.
Eddie Hearn wanted something different, four weeks of fights planned, it needed luck, Hearn, the modern-day Barnum, gambled and he won.
Online content taken to another level, with a passing resemblance to UFC Embedded.
Eddie Hearn at different times gave us a combination of Bill Withers and Terry Tibbs, a sentence nobody should have to write. But nevertheless, what we saw overall, enhanced the experience.
The outdoor arena stifled the sterile, it wasn’t what it once was, but it was as near to normal as we are likely to see over the coming months. The pandemic will be over in two years they say, the world prays for better.
In week one, Sam Eggington and Ted Cheeseman showed us the wafer-thin difference between winning and losing, and how that slim margin can change an immediate future.
The following week, Tasha Jonas proved everyone wrong. The judges denied her, but ‘Miss GB’ proved her point, and will undoubtedly get another opportunity to get ‘everything.’
Terri Harper might be disappointed with her performance, but she clung on to her belts, a tough lesson, but it will serve her well going forward.
Week three saw Shannon Courtenay lose her 0. Rachel Ball came and conquered, the away fighter leaving the bubble with a deserved if disputed victory.
Ball, in many ways, was one of the true winners of the past month. A fighter plucked from relative obscurity, enjoying every minute of the Fight Camp isolation. The solitude a welcome relief from the normal, Ball undoubtedly embraced and took her moment.
The belts and the clothing said undisputed, but Katie Taylor knew that wasn’t the case. A different garden, more controversial scoring, but Taylor prevailed again.
Delfine Persoon bitterly complained in New York, this time she accepted with grace, the tears stayed within. Another close fight, some cry robbery, it wasn’t, and there were no complaints from this observer. Quality over quantity.
Women’s boxing was handed a prominent position, all three fights showcased the talent and skills that often get hidden and lost in a sea of ignorance.
1000 days in waiting, then one punch will make that wait even longer. The best Dillian Whyte we have ever seen, and then he was flat on his back, his hopes gone in the blink of an eye. When the punch landed, Eddie Hearn said it felt like a dream, it was anything but. Certainly not the grand finale in the desired script.
Whyte turned down a fight with Anthony Joshua, money over the belts, sometimes you have to take the opportunity in front of you, it might not come around again.
Alexander Povetkin, dropped twice, slipping out of relevancy, suddenly is relevant again.
Whyte will invoke the obligatory rematch clause, but it is more lost time, time he may not get back.
Sweet Caroline wasn’t quite the same, but it played with the fireworks and the pyrotechnics, even the haters would be glad to hear it again, they won’t admit it, but they can’t wait to sing it again.
Come Sunday, Fight Camp will be gone, and will soon become a distant memory in a year we all want to forget. The weather held, the fights delivered, stories were told, reputations made, dreams shattered, seeds were planted for what lies ahead.
It will be reconstructed again sometime in the future, hopefully with the fans allowed in. However much it all cost, it was money well spent.
Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing