If there was any question as to whether boxing has become a joke, we present this:
Last weekend, former Vikings and Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards "boxed" in Fargo, N.D. against a runty tomato can that was eerily reminiscent of the flabby correspondent Viking Update sent to cover the Edwards' first fight at Grand Casino Hinckley years earlier. Unfortunately, that correspondent wasn't Burt Sugar. It was me.
At the time, I thought the opponent went down a little too easily – usually not a complaint, but at the lower levels of boxing it's a crime. That guy dropped to a body shot that had experienced boxing aficionados recalling the phantom "Anchor Punch" the legend then known as Cassius Clay delivered on Sonny Liston that shocked the world.
On Saturday, Edwards' chubby opponent sure got paid to lay down. It seemed obvious. So it was that the most recent ego-stoking opponent for Edwards took a dive. Don't take our word for it, watch the video.
Edwards defended his honor on Twitter.
"I don't fight fixed fights. Check my first pro fight. Guys back out at weigh-ins. Nothing I could do," Edwards tweeted. "Promoter said I'll find you someone else and when I showed up to fight that's who was there. I'll never disrespect the sport. I train too hard for that.
"If anybody wants to see me train or spend a day in the life with me training is more than welcomed. I'm on a mission."
Depending on the level of which you are able to go Zapruder film on this, the Grassy Knoll Gunmen took out Butterbean II. If not, apparently the wind created by a thunderous right hand from Edwards was enough to knock down Nicholas Capes, who has been suspended indefinitely in North Dakota, according to the Associated Press.
The Combative Sports Commission found what the YouTube video showed – Capes took a dive. The promoter of the fight backed up Edwards' version of the events leading up to the fight.
"Event promoter Cory Rapacz says Capes was a last-minute replacement for a couple of no-show boxers and didn't realize what he was getting into before he got into the ring with Edwards, a former Vikings defensive end," according to the Associated Press story. "He says officials expected Capes to try but says the backlash against Capes is unfair."
For those who grew up in era when the "Big Fight" was part of the apex of sports – from the time of Louis-Schmelling to Ali-Frazier to Ali-Foreman to Leonard-Hagler to Hagler-Hearns (the greatest eight minutes in sports) to Mike Tyson's dissection of anyone in his path, boxing has a sketchy but proud legacy. It has fallen on hard times in recent years and the Fargo Flop only goes to show how far the sport has fallen.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.