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Protect Yourself At All Times

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There’s no cat-walking here. Even the ring card girls know what some of us don’t… this is a dogfight.

If you’re a purist, the hair on the back of your neck will stand up during this stanza of heightened awareness in a thriller. About as firm as Jack’s Johnson on a trip to hell with a snow white woman riding shotgun across state lines ready to face the ungodly charge of a most unmanly violation called The Mann Act, born of White Supremacy and their desire for a Great White Hope. Because of the press and their tradition of spilling ink while absorbing the occasional splatter of blood from ringside, even the mobster’s sword was held in place by the pen. Generations have known the ring announcer’s 10 count with the bell to honor the fallen. A blue corner and a red corner. A referee, an authoritarian of democracy to serve as a reminder of where the line is drawn between a low blows and high drama in the squared circle. A “third man”where there’s two, to ensure one wins fairly. To be maintain justice in the sweet science before and after the sound of the bell, knowing a dangerously honest man would be there to Juilan Assange any sour notes to record in the sweet science.

A journalist, the architect of would be lead poisoning for anyone attempting to write over our system of checks and balances. The literary photographer of the violent canvas. If compromised, therefore, a journalist will breed contempt everywhere and threaten the entire entity. If in concert with a rogue promoter or a fighter in a desperate hour, of the three (with say “Money” on the line), just which one do you think would be deemed expendable in a “new” tradition?

About six years ago, a guy who likes to collect scoop and pick up a racket every now and then, insisted I come out for the Manny Pacquiao Vs Brandon Rios press conference at Jing Fong restaurant in Chinatown. Pacquiao, who’d long been my favorite fighter, had forgotten the edict of “protect yourself at all times” during those last 10 seconds of fate in the sixth round against Juan Manuel Marquez the previous winter. Draped in media of the scarcely fringe and mainstream variety, Manny seemed more “Wapakman” than the potential of rare copy coming from the man. John Lennon’s “Let It Be” just echoed in my silent thoughts. But there was something else. Observing it all from a scant distance was Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who looked, well, high. But he was alone, and someone I deemed the most important person in the room. That’s always a Trump card over the famous.

“You wrote this? You sure you’re not a Gatlingski? You write like a Jew,” said The Bobfather, referring to “Floyd Mayweather,    44-0, Is A Loser”, a greasy spoon feature I’d written for Examiner.com (taken over with hostility by AXS.com) that got a lot of traffic. It pissed a lot of people off– including Floyd, who started trolling me on Facebook under the pseudonym account name “John Rambo.” I know now that I hated him because I hated myself. If Manny Pacquiao could just beat the hell out of him, the mirror would stop choking the shit out of me. I thought it fair to ask in the article if rooting for a green Canelo Alvarez to turn Floyd black and blue was… fair?

“I wouldn’t mind if he turned Floyd deep purple, but don’t hold your breath — or you just might. He’s gonna embarrass that kid,” Arum told me, before giving me what felt like instructions for a 15th round. “If people keep challenging you, it only means the right people probably view you as a challenge and want you to keep proving yourself. So do that and eventually you’ll beat them all.” As far as I was concerned, this meant keep proving myself [to him]. He talked about the writers of the past in a way that produced the smell of Brylcream and Stetson cologne. His words almost carried the clicking sound of a 1950’s typewriter. He said the story was never really about “them,” even if it seemed like it, and that if I couldn’t draw that line that I wasn’t ‘protecting journalism’.

Suddenly, there was the voice of Angelo Dundee telling Sugar Ray Leonard before the 13th round, “You’re blowing it, son. You’re blowing it.” Journalism has to come out for the 14th and look for a stoppage, as figurative legislation is on the table to push it back to 12. How long before that takes a 10 count?

I wasn’t alive in the 1960’s, but I can tell we’re reliving the end of a modern sequel. There he was, the greatest promoter of all-time promoting “The Greatest”, Muhammad Ali, before his 1966 fight with George Chuvalo in Toronto. What kind of chutzpah did it take for Bob Arum, who would be the quintessential portrait of a white man according to an old-school Encyclopedia, to promote Muhammad Ali at the height of his absolutely Black Panther stance against the U.S. government and seemingly all white people? The same Ali, hated for his brave and unpopular views by cowardly journalists of the Silent Generation and entitled Baby Boomers too naive to know any better, was later loved by those same cowards now a little more seasoned. The same ones being glared at by Generation X and who knew he was telling truth, had decided to lie to themselves in order to fit in. The same “journalists”, of any generation, who’d lie to themselves now.

Bob Arum, who could be seen seated next to Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman and was cut off by a now 40 year-old “Wapakman” star Manny Pacquiao around the same time, had the balls to promote Muhammad Ali tucked in between the assassination of Malcolm X and the coming one of Martin Luther King. This, even as Ali was telling the world “Ain’t no Vietcong ever call me nigger.” Today, Bob Arum has even bigger balls by promoting Tyson Fury, a man he compared favorably to Ali for his larger-than-life charisma and willingness for controversy. Largely deemed a “Great White Hope” by large segments of the urban black community loyal to Al Haymon and Premiere Boxing Champions, the embattled nation of Israel considers Fury a homophobic man of Anti-Semitic tropes. After beating Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 to become the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, Fury was sent into an obesity rich depression for stating his controversial views, drawing the wrath of Klitschko and charges of “Hate Speech” all over the world. In May 2016, Fury was captured on video saying:

“Everyone just do what you can, listen to the government follow everybody like sheep, be brainwashed by all the Zionist, Jewish people who own all the banks, all the papers, all the TV stations. Be brainwashed by them all.”

The memory of that didn’t stop Arum from giving the talented and eccentric Fury a $120 million dollar contract in early 2019, while seeking to maximize the potential of a rematch between Fury and African-American WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. Fury doubled down on things and went for broke by stating during last month’s “Pride” that (quote): “Homosexuality and it’s acceptance is a sign that the world is ending.” All this did was hurt ESPN reporter Israel Gutierrez, who seized upon the network’s powerful influencing outreach internationally to condemn Fury during one of its syndicated shows. Ali was able to help end Vietnam, and was dispatched to make peace with Iran to bring the US hostages home when Jimmy Carter’s White House couldn’t. Do you think Fury could be used to help Trump’s White House, which gave us The Mann Act, ease tensions between Iran and the United States? Would Deontay Wilder, a man in search of a vision considered legend, be likely to tell Israel that “He ain’t got no quarrel with Palestine?”

Back when I’d watch black and white reels of fighters on film, my grandfather used to tell me that he watched them so much because the truth is shown to be true, not told. Anyone can avoid telling the truth. He used to say not telling the truth was the quickest way to become a stranger. I guess that’s why everyone squints at their phones instead of each other today.

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About John Gatling

Senior correspondent for NY Fights and author of upcoming book, "The Fist Club." Conscious indie recording artist "T@z" and humanist advocate for the Green Party.

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