A Night Out At The Fights In Toronto
A few weeks ago my buddy in Mississauga called me up and suggested we go to see some live Boxing at the Hershey Centre. Yes, I know I used TORONTO in the thread title, but people all over the world know where Toronto is..not Mississauga. Mississauga, home to beloved Canadian Hockey Icon Don Cherry, is basically a suburb of the City of Toronto.
I had read about the Boxing events at the Hershey Centre a few times before and the cards received favorable reviews. Also, the tickets were extremely affordable - only $25 plus taxes for seats right behind the VIP tables with a spectacular view of the ring. Although I knew the fighters would be mostly local guys and no big names to speak of ..I was more than eager to get out for the night and do something different, I had not been to a live Boxing event in quite some time and was curious to see what size crowd such an event would draw.
There were 6 fights on the card altogether and no Heavyweights which was fine with me, since they tend to be very boring, slow-paced hug-fests unless the talent level is world-class.
The Main Event was for the vacant NABA Lightweight belt and featured a local fighter (from Orangeville, a smaller city a few miles away that is known for producing good fighters) named Logan McGuinness (13-0-1 6 KO) vs. a fighter from the Dominican Republic named Hector Julio Avila (47-5-0 42KO). Although the fighter from the Dominican seemed to have quite an edge in experience and some KO power on paper..I have been around Boxing long enough to know that these foreign fighters often have inflated records with knockouts over easy competition in their native countries and are not as impressive in the ring as their records would indicate.
As expected, the fighter from the Dominican was dispatched of by Logan by KO in the 4th round. He was outboxed and seemed to run out of steam right after the first round. So the local boy won, much to the delight of the crowd.
All in all, it was a great night of Boxing. The fight of the night was definitely the one between two local guys - Tebor Brosh (6-3-4 2Ko) and Samuel Vargas (7-0-0 1Ko) for the vacant NABA Canadian Welterweight Championship. Both of these fighters had a LOT of fans in the crowd and both of them gave it their all. It was a bloody, grueling fight with Vargas, the long-armed, fast-handed kid and Brosch the stronger, boxer-puncher of the two. It ended in a draw much to the dismay of many in the crowd, but it didn't really surprise me. I would have given the nod to Vargas by a slight margin just for being the busier of the two, but definitely a fight that cries for a re match..which was already being discussed by both fighters in their post-fight interviews.
The only shitty thing about the card was one match between a fighter from the UK named Junior 'The Hitter' Witter (former WBC Lightweight Champ 37-3-2 22 KO) and Victor Lupo (18-1-2 9KO) a Romanian fighting out of Toronto. I have NEVER seen a fighter do what this Witter goofball did during the course of this fight.
I was actually expecting this Witter 'The Hitter' to be pretty good since it seemed he had been around a bit and held the WBC title for a time..and he wasn't a bad Boxer. In fact, he was pretty crafty. BUT, he must have 'slipped' or 'been thrown down' to the canvas at least 15-20 TIMES !! It was a disgusting display of laziness and outright cheating as every time this Lupo guy would start piling up the punches on him in the last few rounds, he would hug him and then just fall forward on to his knees , or slide back into the ropes onto his ass. This meant that he basically got a breather about 4 times each of the last 4 rounds (10 round fight) as the ref had to come in, send Lupo to a neutral corner, stand this bum up, wipe his gloves off on his shirt etc. It was a fucking DISGRACE! The crowd was booing him mercilessly for the last two rounds and yelling at him calling him a bum - and no one was yelling louder than me, I was furious. Thank God he lost the decision, which was no guarantee because he won the first few rounds. To make things worse, the Ref was terrible, he couldn't exert any control over the fighters and failed to deduct a point despite this ridiculous tactic employed by the UK fighter. He was awful..so was the ref in the first fight, actually.
Anyways, long post..but I wanted to stress the fact that this Boxing event , featuring relatively unknown boxers, drew a crowd of about 7,000- 8,000 people.That might not seem like a lot to some people, but I was impressed by this. We are talking about Canada here, where Boxing is far from a big sport and this is on a Saturday night when most people are at home watching Hockey. The card was well promoted and went off without a hitch with the exception of the shitty ref job in a couple of the fights and a poor job done by the sound crew (it was next to impossible to hear the interviews with the fighters in the ring). It should also be noted that the Ring-Card girls were exceptionally hot. In fact, that was the one other thing that stood out to me about the crowd - good-looking women were out in droves! It was a young man's paradise..*sigh*
So, despite what the pundits would have people believe - Boxing is alive and well. If a relatively small-time card like this in Canada can draw a crowd of that size and put on a good show, that tells me that the sport of Boxing here is much healthier than many people think.
And that's a great thing.
If you live around here, enjoy Boxing, don't mind shelling out $7.75 for a tall-boy, and want to do something affordable and different - check out the fights next time they are at the Hershey Centre. United Boxing Promotions puts on a show about every 4-5 months.www.unitedpromotions.ca