Fight of the Century! By CpSingleton. (c) 2017
The bout was hyped, as every boxing event was these days, as THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY!
There were a dozen comparisons thrown at the two warriors during the run up to the night: Ali versus Foreman; Foreman versus Moorer; the ageing warrior standing toe-to-toe with the young lion; and the last chance obsessive facing the untested.
Nobody knew how the match might pan out. Let alone Jimmy Markham.
Jimmy was not a famous boxing promoter, pundit, or even pugilist. He was just a man who loved his boxing.
And this fight was something he’d looked forward to for a long time.
It gave his tired life, with its constant anxiety battles and deep depressions, something to concentrate on.
AJ V KLITCHSKO.
He bought the pay-per-view weeks before the fight.
Jimmy hoped, like a kid before a first date, it would live up to its billing. After all, the recent fights of the century had turned into dire flops. This one had to be a good one.
The most recent last and biggest fight, Mayweather versus Pacquiao, was a shambles. Jimmy had waited up and hadn’t started drinking until after midnight. The early hours of the morning sighed and then twelve rounds later groaned at the futility of the wasted excitement.
The night of the AJ fight saw Jimmy bedecked with beer and snacks, watching every undercard fight offered.
Alone. With only Facebook to rant at.
The Quigg versus Simion was grand spectacle of two warriors clubbing each other for the full fight.
Jimmy snapped open another can as he offered a redundant opinion to the empty room.
Soon enough, a little tipsy, Jimmy’s stomach flipped as the buildup began.
He told Facebook that AJ looked worried. The commentators disagreed. Carl Froch, in particular, stated how confident AJ appeared as he entered the ring. Jimmy didn’t see it and told social media so.
The first round began, and along with it a spectacular ride of ups and downs for both men. Jimmy engrossed in both the fight and telling his “friends” what he believed was happening, itched with the joy of the spectacle.
After screaming like a furious pirate captain during the fifth and sixth, as he watched both men fall, and get back up, he wondered what his neighbours must think.
For a moment at least.
Seven, eight, nine and ten: Jimmy told the unseen that Klitchsko’s legs seemed tired. He believed AJ was growing back into the fight; his younger body finding energy the older man just could not grasp.
Tony Bellew agreed with him.
A rested AJ wasted no time in the eleventh round. The crowd exploded. Fists flew in the right direction. The old giant fell twice. The referee waved him out before he could fall again.
The young pretender was now the real deal. Ten years and nobody had knocked Dr Steel Hammer on to his shorts. In eighteen fights no other fighter had dropped the British champion. Everybody said once Klitchsko pushed AJ into the championship rounds the Brit may tire and falter. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All questions answered: every query quashed.
Even the post fight interview in the ring was full of respect and philosophy.
AJ stated that anyone could do anything they wanted and wouldn’t know until they tried. He said he makes mistakes, but he’s trying, and that’s all he could want from himself.
Jimmy finished the penultimate can, raised the other to both of the fighters and wobbled upstairs.
Jimmy had decided a long time before that he had nothing to fight for, so questioned AJ’s grand philosophy.
What would the young lion think about his own ideals when he crawled towards the Old General stage of life? Jimmy wondered.
He reached the top of the stairs resembling a crumpled cripple and traipsed to the toilet to pee.
But, as he entered the bathroom, he stepped on a disposable razor, crushing the plastic head, thus revealing the twinkling blades inside the ccasing.
He grunted before emptying his bladder.
In the fog of his fizzing mind Jimmy half-finished his business, shook large droplets every which way and decided he’d take a bath.
It might refresh me, he thought.
He recognised that a heavy sack of redundancy had fallen over his forehead during the last few minutes and the bleak feeling needed washing away.
His twitchy hand pushed in the bath plug and twisted the faucets. The bass gush of water on plastic began. Jimmy undressed. Though stood naked before the water rested at a respectable level.
Jimmy shrugged and threw his wobbly eyes around the tiny room. He had meant to decorate for so long.
Jimmy had meant to do many things, but now he felt as faded and jaded as the cracked paint and split silicon sealant around him.
A picture of the razor filled his thoughts.
He widened his eyes to clear them. The last thing he wanted was somebody to stand on the exposed blades and do themselves a mischief.
Jimmy, as steady as a Weeble, reached for the smashed razor and laid it, with care, on the side of the tub.
After adding cold to the bath water and contemplating Godfather Part II, he climbed into the bath.
Godfather Part II, he thought. One of a handful of sequels that not only equaled the first for superior film making, but in some respects surpassed it. In my opinion, the film explores the relationships of the family members, with far more intelligence than the third or first.
Jimmy sniggered as he entered the tingling water.
‘In my opinion,’ he giggled. ‘I have opinions for most things. And that makes me a most disagreeable person.’
He slurped at the last can in order to drown the sour thoughts emerging like dead fish from a stagnant pool.
‘How can I throw myself into anything if I don’t want anything to throw myself into, AJ?’ Jimmy grunted.
He supposed he could throw himself onto a road of no destination.
‘I’d be good at that,’ he slurred to the ceiling.
Despite his stomach and head now complaining about the level of the beer in their systems, Jimmy gulped the last of the final can.
As he swallowed hard on the bitterest drops, he hoped his family, for what they represented, prospered, as he raised the blade and slashed down his veins.
The warm water carried him off to a quiet land where the lack of friends didn’t matter.
The last fight WAS the fight of his century, Jimmy Markham thought as darkness replaced the bright bare bathroom bulb piercing his eyes.