“He’ll get out punched, he’ll get out worked, but his punches are more telling.” -Teddy Atlas on Ruslan Provodnikov, Jr. Welterweight from
Siberia on ‘Friday Night Fights’ 5 Jan 11
I was watching the fight between Ruslan Provodnikov and Rafael Herrera on the telly and the Russian fighter had the kind of skill set that I had, save I like to think that I was a bit quicker with my hands and a little smoother defensively. For the Russkie from Siberia, it was a negligible factor in his weight division. Sometimes in the lower weight classes a cat can get away with that for a certain period of time. But once you get above a certain level of opponent… well, I don’t want to put any salt on his wings. After all, he reminds me of a certain tough guy jr. welterweight who had a movie made of his boxing career.
The comment Teddy Atlas made about Ruslan was to add to the fight he compared this match several times to the match between Julio Cesar Chavez and Meldrick Taylor. In that legendary 1990 fight, Meldrick Taylor had the faster and busier hands but the champion Julio Caesar Chavez had the heavy hands and his punches were more damaging. While neither Provodnikov nor Herrera are at the level or even display what it takes to reach the heights of the two fighters mentioned who combined to fight in a bout that for many was the fight of the decade, it did give a different perspective to how a knowledgeable viewer would watch the fight.
During the telecast, one of the announcers mentioned about Ruslan’s Siberian heritage and how for him, Siberia was essentially the Siberia that everyone thinks it is. It made me think about why I always kept quiet about being from Detroit, because not only for me but for a lot of people, Detroit ISN’T the Detroit the media would have you think it is. That is why I give the zip codes to where I grew up as opposed to where my Dad lives… because the neighborhoods are as different as night and day. Maybe that is what makes him such a tough and strong fighter, the kind of toughness and strength that you can’t manufacture, as strength that is part of the enviroment you were born into.
In the service when I would box in smokers and fight in major competitions, I would joke ‘that’s how we do it on Mack Ave’ when describing a fight of mine, knowing full well that it sounded far more intimidating than saying, ‘I put a ‘Berg Road beatdown’ on someone. At least it did to me… that neighborhood and the one we moved from in 48235 (Tee Jay’s hood) were pretty soft by any large city standards. Not only was I an authentic brother, but I did not have the authentic Detroit experience either. I had to draw on other things in order to find toughness. Like Sonny Liston.
When it comes to the influences that I had on my sisters and brother, I guess in some way my extended family had the same kind of effect on me. I have several uncles who boxed and served in the military… but I never had any of them speak to me about what they were doing… if anything, what I they represented to me was the idea that Detroit and our family were good things to get away FROM. In fact, those cats along with my cousin who went to Ohio State and made pro football his lifetime career (he is on a NFL staff coaching his position for a playoff team) have hardly, if ever, came back to town. Thinking about their having to deal with the post-riot Detroit and the STRESS units growing up and how those two things symbolized what was wrong with the Motor in their time it is little wonder they wanted out. For me, it was Coleman Young’s antagonism of the suburbs and his pilfering and plundering of Detroit as a precursor to the far less adroit Kwame Kilpatrick’s tenure as mayor along with the YBI crew (from whence sprang Judge Mathis) that made me think that I would stand as good if not a better shot outside of Detroit. Oh not to mention the strained relationship with my blood relatives...
I wonder why my sisters and I had the kind of relationships that we had. Oh, for anyone that thinks I should let bygones be bygones don’t make me be rude. Flat out, to root for other folks to win against me and to have ‘been there’ for my then-wife even as I was living at home as the legal process tore asunder what legend had said that no man could, is inexcusable. As to why these thoughts are on my mind…
This aftereffects of this recent incident has been the flat out the worst I have felt in recent memory. I haven’t been able to eat and going outside has been sheer torture. Not to mention the fatigue. Part of what keeps me showered and changed is my own personal aversion from sitting in my own ‘funk’ from sleep. Otherwise the nausea I am feeling would prolly grow… I don’t know.
Monday I am supposed to go to a lawyer and talk to him about my options. The phone consult was none too promising. The office isn’t too far so I think I can make there. Tuesday is my appointment at the health center and sometime during the week I will be speaking with the insurance agent about my bicycle.
Right now I am thinking that Nebraska feels like the Portland Trailblazer’s management team drafting a center with their first round draft choice… from LaRue Martin nad injury-prone Bill Walton, up to and including Sam Bowie (over Michael Jordan!?!) and now to Greg Oden, they have had as much heartbreak as they have had productivity from those selections.
Okay… will work on letting go of my downer comparisons… but that was one I had to make!