Saturday, June 25, 2005

Idiotic Nationalism

Two of my friends and I attended the Matt Vanda vs. Yory Boy Campas fight card last night at the Target Center. The undercard was quite uninspiring; Michael Grant, once a heavyweight title contender, refused to throw punches at a far inferior opponent, and received a unanimous decision, and a promising fight between a former world champion and a tough local fighter was ended early and went to the judges' scorecards after a large cut over the local fighter's eye was ruled to have been caused by a headbutt, although replays clearly showed that there was no clash of heads and that the cut was caused by a punch. Oh well - it was an undercard in Minnesota - I didn't expect much anyway. It was far from the most bothersome part of the night.

What really irked me was the smattering of boos when it was announced that the Mexican national anthem was about to be played before the Vanda/Campas fight. This was the most classless and disgusting of displays I have ever seen from a crowd. Campas, a former world champion, gave Minnesota boxing fans a big name, and that's what he received in return - lovely. Of course, that wasn't the end of it. The person sitting next to me started chanting "you suck" as the anthem was ending. Finally, someone in the next section of seating was thrown out of the arena for shouting racial slurs to a group of Mexican fans and telling them to "go home." Perhaps I should expect the lowest common denominator of society to be in attendance at a boxing card, but as a fight fan, all I can do is hope for something better than that.

As for the fight, Campas was the far superior fighter. He landed the harder shots, worked Vanda's body throughout the fight, and didn't tire as much as Vanda did. Though Vanda was able to get off two or three flurries per round, they decreased in number and effectiveness as the rounds wore on, with almost no power behind them in the middle and latter rounds, save for the last one or two. At best, Vanda earned four of the twelve rounds (I would have scored two for him). However, the Minnesota judges did to Campas what they did to Sam Garr when he fought Vanda in Minneapolis last year (and arguably also against Troy Lowry earlier this year) and handed Vanda a gift of a decision. One judge even had Vanda up eight rounds to four. With these types of decisions repeatedly being made in order to artificially prop up the few "prospects" Minnesota has, there is no chance that Minnesota will draw bigger names to the Twin Cities.

What a shame.