So the great hype grows. Jones, who in a span of 13 months beat four former light heavyweight champions, all of them real contenders, and did so in a way that secured a place for him as one of the two or three transcendent fighters in his sport, is positioned as the uppity negro. Sonnen, who has had one really big fight in his career and was being packed off to the glue factory a few months ago, has fight writers comparing him to Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis when not outright tossing his salad.


The beautiful thing about fighting, though, is its decisive nature. A fight can function as the logical outcome of a sports culture that degrades LeBron James while elevating Tim Tebow, or as an illustration of the category error a corrupted media makes when it treats race-baiting as the successful application of pro wrestling tactics to legitimate sport, or as a parallax view on the mechanics of democracy. It ends, though, with you paying to see two men given five rounds to back up what they've said. In the end, the con works.

Tim Marchman has written about fights for the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Slate, and The Classical; despite this, you're right, he has no idea what he's on about. Feel free to tell him @timmarchman.