Bernstein: Big Fight Just A Nasty Freak Show

Author: Dan Bernstein

By Dan Bernstein

The existence of an international hype tour should be the first clue that all involved are selling a circus, one that is currently holding up a mirror to everything that should embarrass us.

Both combatants are the clowns; crass cynicism is the elephant in the room. And nobody is cleaning up after it. So this whole thing smells awful for perfectly good reason.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., woman-beating cretin, defends the tatters of any remaining “honor” for himself and the sport of boxing against Conor McGregor, the totally not-racist racist who is happy to play the part of racist in front of jeering and cheering crowds of suckers who think an MMA star can now jump-shift to a new job. This is not even really sports, but low-rent entertainment spectacle aimed at the most miserable possible common denominator.

I will not pay to view this. I stopped paying to view actual fights after too many letdowns, and cannot fathom spending money to be a part of what is already disappointing before a single punch has been thrown.

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It all stinks — the cartoonish desperation of the matchup itself, the craven courtship of the ugliest kind of fan with the grandstanding garbage that has effectively infected politics to make our world a decidedly worse place, and the co-mingling of the pulpy character drama of phony professional wrestling with what used to be one of the greatest sports.

Opinions from the boxing cognoscenti seem to be coagulating into agreement that this is most likely to be a tedious and defensive win by an aging and deteriorated Mayweather, still skilled enough to parry any attacks from a larger opponent accustomed to other means of aggression. McGregor is the much stronger man, and there is still the literal puncher’s chance that he lands something enough to flip the probable script. That their fight contract had to include penalties for any McGregor reversion to kicking and grappling speaks to promoters’ legitimate fears that this could devolve easily.

But it already has. The hooting and hollering at the arena pre-events and the escalating name-calling and pandering to base instincts is just more midday television garbage.

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Even having actual conversations about what could happen in the ring now feels dirty and weird, lending legitimacy to something trying to be gross just to get attention. Every time it comes up, I have to ask myself why I am talking about this beyond any professional responsibility to recognize it.

And there you are, dismissing any criticism as that of an old man wanting people to get off his lawn. And you could not be more correct in this case.

If this stupid, inherently and irretrievably misanthropic fight were happening on my small, city lawn, I would pull the shades and call the cops on the lot of them.

Go home.

Dan Bernstein is senior columnist on CBS Chicago and co-host of “Boers & Bernstein” on Chicago’s 670 The Score.

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