What the hell did boxing fans do before still video? (Or, for that matter, still photography?) It’s no coincidence, I think, that the sport peaked long before people could actually see what was happening in the ring, sometimes even when they were watching it in real time. Take this KO from a lightweight bout on Showtime Friday night, in which Mason Menard reached out to Eudy Bernardo’s skull and turns his lights out for him. Blink, and you’d miss its savage glory. Or, in the YouTube era, watch it 25 times, frame-by-rubbernecking-frame, and feel gleefully dead inside.
Final minute of the third round, the Louisianan is patiently backing Bernardo down, when Bernardo (previously 21-0) hangs his left low, low, too low, then winds up every so slightly and pops it straight out. Menard, reading this weak shit the whole time, dodges, ducks under Bernardo’s arm, and tees off with his right. Menard springs up into follow-through, then turns to see Bernardo crumple and collapse, asleep before he hits the canvass.
Or, in real time: Menard moves in, you hear a sharp exhale like a kid jumping onto a leather sofa, Bernardo’s soul leaves his body, Menard makes a little motion as if he’s calling a strike. It takes 1.something seconds.
Bernardo later left on a stretcher. Apparently he was fine, insofar as anyone can reckon that day-of. A shot like that, though, gets me thinking of a certain Dre classic. (Just get on dowwww-owwwwwn ...) Gotta figure Bernardo’s head feels like a still-quivering gong today. Dude’s 29. Ain’t the first time he got his brain Magic 8-Balled, and it won’t be the last.
It’s rad to watch in slow-mo. You get the forensics of the entire moment, knowing the outcome. Back-and-to-the-left sort of thing.
And then you realize you’re watching a dude get his brain blasted into darkness, and you wonder if it wouldn’t have seemed more glamorous or galant, listening to the AM radio call or reading about it the next day in the local fishwrap. Instead, here we are on the internet. Watch, and cringe in good health.