Timing is everything. Last week, I watched a DVD of the movie, “Creed”. In the first “Rocky” movie, Apollo Creed was the undisputed world champion boxer who agreed to give a Philadelphia local boxing “chump” named Rocky Balboa a shot at the title. After the original movie’s success, Rocky and Apollo Creed squared off again and, ultimately, the two combatants became close friends.
Then came Rocky 4. Apollo Creed stepped into the ring with the Russian genetic freak named Ivan Drago and, sadly, died after being knocked-out in the ring.
The 2016 movie “Creed” featured the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed wanting to pursue his inner boxer. Against the wishes of his Mom and others, he traveled to Philly to befriend the aging Rocky Balboa to become his trainer. Right on cue, representatives of an aging legendary boxing champion challenge the relatively-untested young Creed to a huge payday championship fight. Thankfully, good ol’ Rocky guides Creed to a competitive, though uneven, ring performance.
Fast forward to 2017. An aging and undefeated boxer (Floyd Mayweather) has agreed to a gigantic payday boxing match against a mixed martial arts (MMA) challenger named Conor McGregor. It will be a long-awaited match-up of great athletes from their respective sports. Called “obsessively competitive”, Conor McGregor, age 28, is taking a big chance in stepping into the squared circle against a wily boxing legend in Mayweather, age 40. The marquis event will occur on August 26.
Like so many things in life, it’s all about the money. Word has it that Mayweather is guaranteed at least $100 million and could earn double that amount, depending on the pay-per-view audience. For his part, McGregor is expected to earn at least $75 million for this event.
Last weekend, a sad but timely twist occurred in Canada. A 34-year old former mixed martial arts fighter-turned-boxer named Tim Hague stepped into the ring with Adam Braidwood, a former Canadian Football League defensive end-turned professional boxer. Hague was knocked unconscious in the match and, two days later on Father’s Day, died due to the knockout. Hague was the father of a nine-year old son, Brady.
You probably haven’t read much about this story. The dark world of professional boxing and MMA would likely prefer that the buying public not dwell on this tragedy with so much (money) at stake in just two months. Mayweather, McGregor, their agents, promoters, and legions of hangers-on are focused on making this once-in-a-lifetime payday occur on August 26.
More power to them. I haven’t paid to watch a boxing or MMA event and wasn’t planning to start with this match-up anyway.
But the ironic timing of seeing a movie about the risks that Apollo Creed’s inexperienced boxing son takes by stepping into the ring with a veteran fighter in conjunction with the real-life death of a former MMA fighter at the hands of an experienced boxer last weekend in Canada sent a chilling reminder about just how deadly violent this sport can be.