Ray Edwards' pro debut and victory wasn't always pretty. In fact, a pro-Edwards crowd turned on him and the action at times. He also had plenty of teammates in the audience who talked about his fight and their boxing interest, as well as discussing some football.
While the crowd at Ray Edwards
' Friday night fight was clearly in his camp – opponent T.J. Gibson was greeted with a chorus of boos when he was introduced – they weren't expecting to see the stoppages in the action they saw.
On a night that saw one boxer wearing a crimson mask and a local talent clocked with a single shot that may have ended his dreams of being a pro boxer, there were stoppages in the action in the Edwards-Gibson fight that had fans booing and, at one point, chanting "Overrated!" in Edwards' general direction and, on more than one occasion, chanted "Fight! Fight! Fight!"
With both boxers mugging at one another and not mixing it up, referee Joe Cortez twice stepped in between them and instructed them to start throwing punches.
From the "Too Much Information Department" comes this: Edwards said he held back a little bit because he suffered from diarrhea Friday and, as a result, suffered from cramping from the second round on.
Free agent nose tackle Pat Williams, who was providing moral support, said he wants to come back to the Vikings and spoke with Leslie Frazier during the brief window of opportunity on draft weekend, but added that the decision whether he returns will come from the front office, a group in which he doesn't have the utmost of trust or confidence.
"It's just guys up in the office," Williams said. "You know how the front office is. It's just certain guys up in the office. I don't have a problem with Coach Frazier. Me and Coach Frazier talked. We talked a lot of times. It's just people in the office, man. With a lockout going on now, it's all the same – business."
Big Pat may have given Edwards the extra boost of confidence he needed. When asked before the fight if he thought Ray would win, Williams said, "He better win, because, if he don't, he'll get beat up after the fight too – by all of us [teammates]."
Kevin Williams was one of many players who said he wouldn't put himself in Edwards' spot – "I don't want to get hit," he said – but, when asked about his pending four-game suspension when the 2011 season eventually starts, he was somewhat philosophical about it.
"With all this going on [with the lockout], maybe they'll forget about it and we can go on with our regular work," Williams said. "If it happens, it happens. I found a great place to work out in Little Rock. I'll be there getting ready and see you in Week 5 if that's the case."
Kevin said that his injured knee that got scoped is doing very well and that, if the Vikings return for a preseason as normal, he will be ready.
Safety Husain Abdullah was in the crowd. When asked if he would consider stepping in the ring – he would likely be a light heavyweight, where they throw a lot more punches – and he wasn't shy about his opinion.
"Absolutely not," Abdullah said with a smile. "I like watching boxing, but that's it. Watching and getting in there are two different things."
Maybe it's a d-back thing, but, asked the identical question, Winfield gave a near-identical response about boxing himself.
"Absolutely not," Winfield said. "I love to play football."
The Grand Casino ballroom in which the fight took place sold more than 1,700 tickets for the event. However, in the room for the payouts, for everyone from the tight-dressed women that hoisted the cards for the next round to the boxers themselves, they weren't given wads of cash. Instead, they were cut checks. Not from a three-ring binder, but from a laminated personal checkbook. Hopefully the undercard talent will wait until after Edwards cashes his check.
Vikings fans in the crowd may have recognized the ring announcer – KFAN-AM Radio's Dan Cole the Common Man. He may not have ingratiated himself to the crowd after Hinckley native Tim Taggert got put to cool with one massive right hand from opponent Cerresso Fort. In announcing the time of the knockout, Cole said the fight ended "decisively" when announcing Fort as the winner, which got a few of Taggert's fans/drinking buddies a little salty.
Entrance music can set a tone for any fight. Some boxers come out to songs with pounding backbeats. Homer Simpson went to the ring to the strains of "Why Can't We Be Friends?" Edwards came to the ring to the tune of "Forever" by Drake. It wasn't the most imposing music, but it got his teammates up and groovin'.
Edwards deferred the question of rumors that former CBS boxing/MMA phenom Kimbo Slice would like to a bout with him to his management as to whether that would be a bout that would make sense. It would be a big payday, but, if his handlers care anything about Edwards – now and in the future – they won't even consider that as an option. Slice has mixed it up with some of the baddest in-ring competitors on the planet. Toughness can only take a fighter like Edwards so far. He would be a lamb sent to slaughter.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.