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Boxing circus hits new low

There was an old episode of The Simpsons, that edgy satire of American (and other) society, that rather perfectly encapsulates the Jaime Ridge versus Rosanna Arkle boxing match next month, which could otherwise be known as Bill’s Bit vs Best Bum.

These two “glamour models” (is there any other kind … ?) might be models though the glamour is elusive. Ridge is known only for briefly being Sonny Bill Williams’ girlfriend and Arkle for being in that reality show of couth and breeding, The GC – though her website reveals that she was once in a TV commercial for Munchos and featured in Zoo Weekly’s Best Bum competition 2011. Ah, the glamour …

But back to The Simpsons – in one episode, the series’ misanthropic millionaire, Montgomery Burns, was shot and the pompous TV newsreader said: “Local autocrat Montgomery C Burns was shot, following a tense confrontation at Town Hall. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was then taken to a better hospital where his condition was upgraded to alive.”

At this stage, you’d have to say that boxing, which regularly touches new lows presaging death by its own hand, could be pronounced dead in this country with this bout.

It might be ‘entertainment’ although even that’s stretching it. Whatever it is, it ain’t sport.

Jesse Ryder’s revenge bout against Craig McMillan (see p3) is different – they are at least national sporting identities and most definitely are not pretty girls boxing in bikinis.

Ridge has done nothing other than be a couple – possibly contrived for media purposes – with Williams. Her motivation is to use this as a lever to persuade TV to give her and her mum Sally their own reality TV show.

Arkle is less known here, a fact underlined by the “leaking” of the news that she intends to fight in a bikini.

It’s a sad day when such drivel (a) is presented as sport and (b) when we the media pick it up with such enthusiasm.

As circulations for print media drop all round the world – the Herald on Sunday being a notable exception – the focus goes firmly on what persuades readers to buy newspapers.

The promoters, Duco Events, have already given us an unintentional laugh by billing this bout as part of The KFC Godfather Of All Fight Nights – but you have to admire their chutzpah and their media perspicacity.

Their motivation is giving the Godfather Of All Fight Nights a bit of a push, as the main bout, Shane Cameron vs Monte Barrett, has been underwhelming thus far and, although Barrett tried to be a provocative poet at the fight’s opening press conference, Muhammad Ali, he ain’t.

In fact, this fight – delayed once already – has its own problems. Cameron, nice man that he is and a good fighter, isn’t a true heavyweight.

Barrett was found to have failed a drugs test for a banned supplement after his last fight against David Tua, ignored in the end because of testing irregularities.

Barrett was also on his way to retirement before he nudged Tua into that unfortunate embrace instead; he is at the end of his career and unlikely to win much kudos or accelerated rankings if he knocks Cameron over. Unlikely to win much, that is, except money. And that all depends on the marketing, tables sold and TV packages bought by pay-per-viewers – hence Bill’s Bit vs Best Bum.

The whisper that Arkle might fight in a bikini invokes the possibility that the bout might lead to – shock, horror, gasp – a wardrobe malfunction and a new boxing term to go with jab, right cross, left hook and uppercut: Look, Rosanna’s thrown a right mammary.

If you need any more evidence, you had only to listen to Solomon Haumono, a real boxer on the real undercard who is taking on promising New Zealand heavyweight Joey Wilson.

Haumono, based mostly in Australia these days, clearly hadn’t come under the thrall of the female Ridges. Asked about Jaime’s boxing prowess, Haumono reflected on father Matthew Ridge‘s sporting credentials and said of Jaime: “If he’s anything like his old man…”

The shame of it is that the boxer with the best chance of any kind of meaningful title fight is also on the undercard – Chauncy Welliver, the New Zealand-based American heavyweight with some decent titles, fast-improving prospects and, even more relevantly, good connections in the US where there is a paucity of credible heavyweights.But Welliver doesn’t have an opponent yet and, bless him, is so little known in this country that he doesn’t measure up as a marketing tool against Bill’s vs Bum.

No wonder this is more Monty Burns than Monte Barrett. Going back to that same episode of The Simpsons, Moe the barman was hooked up to a lie detector to see if he’d shot Burns and ended up making all sorts of embarrassing personal revelations. With apologies to the show’s writers, we’ve adapted that scene to include Duco boss David Higgins.

Questioner: Do you think Ridge vs Arkle is boxing?

Higgins: Yes.


Higgins: All right, I’m only doing it to promote the event.


Questioner: Checks out. Okay, you’re free to go.

Higgins: Good, because I’m going to the gym to watch Jaime spar.


Higgins: Okay, I’m going to the gym to watch Jaime.


Higgins: And Rosanna.


Higgins: Actually, I am going home to have dinner and an early night.


Higgins: Reading a few magazines.


Higgins: All right! I’m going to sit at home and read Ring Magazine.


Higgins: Zoo Weekly.


Higgins: Okay, now unhook me. I don’t deserve this kind of shabby treatment.


Just kidding, David …





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