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Will Nostalgia As Well As Punches Be In The Air in AC For Last HBO WCB?

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This is the time of year, in the northeast, anyway, which makes it easy to succumb to nostalgia.

The chill in the air, leaves having dropped, holiday tunes arguably prematurely playing on devices…it’s the most wonderful time of the yearrrrrr….

And you might find yourself harkening back to other times when the picture in front of your eyes had a rosy glow, when visions of sugar plum fairies danced gleefully and brought a rosy glow to your cheeks.

This long preamble is entry to me asking Jim Lampley if he thinks he will be feeling tinglings of nostalgia on Saturday night, when he’s ringside for Bivol v Pascal in Atlantic City, for the final edition of HBO’s World Championship Boxing.

“If I get nostalgic it will be 12/8, but at this point I doubt it,” the Hall of Fame shot-caller told me.

“9/15 (GGG v Canelo 2) was the real goodbye. I love Jean Pascal, great person and will never forget his brave win over Chad Dawson…

…on a day I spent waiting for hours in a French speaking Montreal hospital to have my dislocated hip put back into the socket. I was throwing up into a bucket at ringside moments before standing up and doing the opening on camera that night. One of seventeen hip dislocations in my life experience, and probably the most nerve wracking one of all. I hope it is the only time I ever taste Fentanyl, the catalyst for all the vomiting.”

“JP brought his toddler daughter to the fighter meeting and she circled the table kissing every one of us who were there. LOVE him.”

There’s a “but” coming…

“Impossible for me to imagine him being genuinely competitive against a fighter as sharp, technically sound, young and vibrant as Bivol. IMPOSSIBLE. But I know JP well enough to know he will go out on his shield. Then Bivol hunts for livelier prey. He is pretty special. The last fight was misleading, against an opponent whose only goal is to finish, not to compete.”

“Pascal COMPETES, and that should make this easy for Bivol.”

My three cents: My curiosity about Lampley’s impending mood had me scooting down a rabbit hole into the meaning of nostalgia. I think it’s a bittersweet feeling, a mix of re-assuring and yearning. You travel back to a time which you’ve rendered off the sharp edges…and you are likely to be doing so in times of flux, with the uncertainty that comes with that status. We saw so many superb WCB events, and when we think of some of our favorites, we might recognize that those days are never to return. Boxing production handled with persons owning the POV that HBO did in its heyday….A healthy budget married to a desire to present storylines and athletic prowess in respectful and at times majestic form, when the subject matter rose to that level. Now, I could be wrong, I might be indulging and succumbing instead of engaging…but you tell me whether you think boxing again gets to a place where you have the Four Kings plying their trade, sweet and savage, on one network? Sounds like Lampley is rooted in the present, as it should be, and also feeling optimistic and excited about the near future, and the new tasks he’ll tackle. Sound judgement….But he is a guy whose heart sometimes pokes out and announces itself. We will be on watch for a trademarked show of emotion. Because yes, the era is almost at end….

 

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Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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