Image for Boxing or Foxing?

Once the aliens who abducted me for two years national service had dumped me back to earth, I went off to a Launceston Show and couldn’t get past the Harry Poulson Boxing side-show.

This bruiser-brawler had knocked three blokes senseless, but unlike me, he was slow on his feet.

I was dumped into the jobless market, after having been sacked for having the temerity to take two years off from my Chartered-accounting studies. Ten dollars for three rounds with a slow-bloke the same size as David Foster, would come in bloody handy.

With an ex-army body that would have women sliding off their bar-stools, I danced about the ring for the first round and neither delivered or took a punch. This was easy money. Second-round same-same and I wondered if they should rename this blood-sport ‘foxing’.

From my corner I watched the big bruiser take a massive swig from a water tank about the same size they used to top-up steam-trains…and I knew that I’d won my ten bucks. ..without hurting the poor guy.

From the bell, he came out, spat the water in my face and I took a light-speed tour of the universe and vomited all the way out of the Launceston show-grounds…vowing never again to try and kill somebody in a ring or ever even watch another prize fight.

But on Wednesday night a mate who had paid $50 for a Foxtel ringside seat view of the fight in his lounge-room, brought a retraction of my decision.

The first bout between a Clarendon Vale lad and a boxer who KO’d all previous challengers in the first round, went into round two. The ref made the mandatory-8-count after the CV boxer took some nasty heads and my mate agreed: ‘no mate, call it off, he’s not right. If you let the fight continue, this lad’s in serious trouble’.

An ensuing flail of arms and the brave lad stood erect like a giant tree and crashed to the floor at the behest of a David Foster axe. Nothing had changed in 45 years. Men still punch upon men until one man falls. And the sickening delivery brought moments of nausea for those who look on from ghoulish ringside or Foxtel lounge-room.

“Jesus, I can’t watch another five bouts before the main-match,” said I . But my mate had paid for it. And so I stayed and stayed and stayed until well past 10 pm, when the Geale-Bad Boy contenders bowed their heads with renditions of national songs that promise to protect peace at all odds.

Well they pranced and ducked and weaved for round after boring round, not one hefty blow delivered as in earlier bouts where novices are grist for the boxing–industry mill.

“They should call this ‘foxing’ “ I suggested to my mate whose eyes snapped open from deep-sleep.

I caught a glimpse of Mike Hodgman at ringside otherwise this fight could have been a replay of anything from anywhere.

At the end, where nobody hit the deck and the commentator engaged in hype-continuum with untruths like, ‘the five-thousand sellout crowd is going wild for the Tassie boy…!”

Well, if true, I too must have slept through it. Some paid $200 for ring-side.

Post-fight analysis suggests that several millions must have been generated by this bout to pay for the massive modern Poulsen-type boorish side-show as-boring-as-a-slide-show- that feeds boxers’ and trainers’ families.

It makes sense then, that the whole damned show must be contrived to go the distance and has as much credibility as those world-wide wrestling side-shows.

The industry depends on contrivance. If the champ became the champ in a first-round knockout every time, would anybody bother? To come out in a Hobart winter night, pay $200, to watch a guy go on a tour of the galaxy in Round One?

Come On! Somebody who paid $200 ringside must wonder if really they got spat in the face. I know one bloke who paid $50 Foxtel, does.