Hoosierweight Boxing

(February 4, Soulard Market Gymnasium)

Everything got lost when a rush of excited applause rose up and the guy next to me yelled HOLY SHIT and jumped to attention: The two boxers -- a couple of wiry guys who looked young enough to be in high school -- plowed into each other from the first gong, enacting the human equivalent of a train wreck, each evidently hell-bent on the swift obliteration of the other. And they didn't let up. No breather for either of them -- or for anybody else, for that matter. Just a mad succession of booms and belts, knocking the cognizance out of everyone, a brutal tornado that sucked the air out of the room. This can't last, I thought. One of the two had to shrivel away, get spooked, pulped, hamburger meat. But neither did. More HOLY SHIT from the guy next to me, only louder this time, more incredulous.

Meanwhile the fighters continued their real-life version of one of those cartoons where the cloud of dust engulfs everything but flailing arms and legs, and debris comes flying out -- cats, dogs, hammers, household appliances. A real brawl. Even the ref tripped backward, and the guy with the huge tattooed arms -- probably another boxer -- who'd been sitting quietly waiting all night had a funny look on his face. For a moment, anyway.

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