I hope all is well with you and life is going smoothly. I’ve been back at work and VERY busy writing, and revving up for September, right around the corner!!
I did something atypical for me and interesting this weekend. It’s a nice counterpoint and balance to the fashion shows I report to you from Paris!! (And possibly a relief for those who read my blog and don’t want to hear about fashion). Like a great many people, I watched the Conor McGregor/ Floyd Mayweather fight in Las Vegas—I saw it on TV, not in person. The seats apparently were selling for an absolute fortune, thousands of dollars, and I was told that some of the best seats sold for $40,000. From what I saw on TV, it was a star studded audience of famous people and celebrities, masses of enthusiasts and supporters, the hype beforehand was enormous, and the excitement in the fight location was palpable. It was a BIG event!!! I’ve only been to one actual prize fight in my life, because I knew the organizer, but it was small town, small scale, and a minor event. It looked messy more than glamourous or organized (and I didn’t enjoy it, or ever want to see a boxing match again). And as those of you who follow the sport know, Floyd Mayweather came out of retirement, at 40, for this fight, which was a HUGE money making event, with millions to be gained from it, for the promoters, and the fighters. It was a very big deal. Also, an unusual event because Conor McGregor is an experienced ‘cage fighter’ in the MMA, so not a traditional boxer. It was his first official boxing event, and he couldn’t use the variety of skills that he can in cage fighting.
The idea of watching two men beat each other up, as a ‘fun’ spectator sport has never appealed to me, and is certainly violent, but the attention around it was hard to resist, so I decided to watch it. At the one boxing event I went to years ago, I had a front row seat which was a lot closer to the action than I’d ever want to be. Sitting at home, watching it on TV, made it a much ‘cleaner’ event, gave me enough distance to be comfortable, and was a lot easier to watch. And I found it fascinating. One of the elements I found interesting was that Mayweather came out of retirement for the fight, and said it would be his last one, so a final victory and undefeated fight as the last one in his career heightened the tension around the fight. He had a perfect record of never having lost a fight which seemed remarkable. His opponent, Conor McGregor, who is Irish, is 29 years old, and has a long career ahead of him, to make up for it if he lost the fight to Mayweather. Mayweather is certainly a colorful persona, who wears flashy boxing outfits, and has lots to say, which makes it that much more fun to watch. (There’s a fashion element here after all!!). He entered the ring wearing a black and gold robe (his entire support team wore matching ones), black and gold shorts and matching shoes. McGregor wore less flashy white shorts, and was draped in the Irish flag when he walked in. And both men were obviously talented professionals. I was impressed by the main referee as well, when he reminded both fighters of the rules at the beginning, before the fight started. I was also startled, while watching the fight, by how little time they had between rounds, to recover and catch their breath in their corners, while their supporters ministered to them. (They applied ice bags to McGregor after each round).
Experience-wise, apparently McGregor was at a disadvantage, as apparently cage fighting only goes 5 rounds (and boxing events 12 rounds), so the concern was that he wouldn’t have the endurance to go twelve rounds—-and in fact he didn’t. After the 5th round, he looked seriously winded, and rapidly started to look worn out in subsequent rounds.
In the first three or four rounds, McGregor swung a lot at Mayweather, and landed a lot of punches, some of them not acceptable in boxing: several hard punches to the back of his opponent’s head. Mayweather let McGregor use up his energy and his best shots in the early rounds, and let him wear himself out, and as the fight progressed, Mayweather came to life, and his expertise and skill became apparent as he honed in on McGregor and began hitting hard. In the ninth round, it became clear that McGregor wouldn’t hold up much longer, and began to look dazed. And in the tenth round, Mayweather used all the strength, experience and skill that has won him a career of wins, and landed at least a dozen punches, that McGregor could no longer ward off and return, and when the fight became entirely one sided, with McGregor no longer able to defend himself, the referee ended it and declared it a victory for Mayweather with a TKO (Technical knockout, he wasn’t unconscious, or on the floor, but McGregor’s ability to fight was over. It would have been cruel, and potentially dangerous if the fight had continued past that point.) I thought that the referee ended the fight at exactly the right time, when it was no longer sport or entertainment, the victory was clearly Mayweather’s, and McGregor would surely have been in danger had it continued. I thought the referee did his job well.
What impressed me most, and I really liked, beyond the sport and the hype and the excitement in the room, and the spectacle of it, was the good sportsmanship instantly shown by BOTH fighters, immediately when the fight ended. There was no gloating, no malice, not even disappointment on McGregor’s part. For those first instants after the fight ended, the two men smiled at each other, hugged, talked, congratulated each other, and each immediately sung their opponent’s praises when mikes were pushed into their faces for comments. They had nothing but good things to say about each other. It was really a good fight, the audience got their money’s worth with ten rounds full of action, and an end to the fight which was reasonable and responsible. It’s always disappointing not to win, and McGregor must have felt some of that, but it didn’t show. He looked excited and happy to have been there at all, and the respect between the two men was impressive. In so many sports, you don’t see that kind of sportsmanship, and you see angry players, who stomp around, glare at each other, behave badly, and claim they were cheated out of their victory by someone, and can’t simply accept graciously that they lost. There was none of that here!!! And it was noteworthy that Mayweather was able to finish his career with a final victory making him undefeated for all 50 fights of his career, an extraordinary record.
So there was no official fashion show, gorgeous models were not heading down the runway, showing next year’s fashions, and there was no bride at the end of an haute couture show, no designers took a bow, as they do at the events I usually go to, but it was interesting and different for me to see it. It was a milestone event for both men, McGregor’s first official boxing match, against a formidable opponent, and a final win in Mayweather’s undefeated career. A great deal of money was made on all sides, all aspects of the sport were respected, the fans got to watch an action packed boxing match between two impressive pros, and Mayweather can go back into retirement with a final victory to his credit. And it’s back to fashion shows in Paris for me!!
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I have always thought that boxing should be illegal, same with all those cage fight sports. Is just barbaric. Can’t understand how people find amusement in two men hurting each other. Is not better than street fights, the only diff is some people get richer which every punch.
I am in the middle of reading The Right Time, and I am enjoying every minute of it.
I have been your fan for years, but I wanted today to tell you how grateful I am to you for writing, even briefly, about dementia.
You books have often resonated with me, and I have felt that your characters and I were on parallel paths. I read Special Delivery two days before I gave birth to my second child. I read Ghost while I was on an airplane moving back to the States after having lived in England for two years. I read Against All Odds as I was facing some incomprehensible choices made by my own children.
My Dad died recently after suffering from dementia. I think anytime one loses a loved one, one tortures oneself with questions “what could I have done more?” ‘what could I have done differently?” Even though you discuss dementia in The Right Time for only three pages, those three pages brought me more comfort and solace than two months of well-intentioned platitudes from friends and family members.
Thank you so much for all of your books.