A Bittersweet Science offers an epic look into the world of big-time boxing from the perspectives of the many individuals who make up this frequently brutal, yet often entrancing sport. From the exploited fighters who bleed for pay to the scurrilous promoters and slick young television executives who make the backroom deals to the sardonic journalists who are there to record it all with a jaded eye. More than just a boxing story, A Bittersweet Science asks the profound question of whether the ends really do justify the means in a world without objective morality.
And now, an excerpt from A Bittersweet Science…
The ancient Greeks, when they had first originated the sport, conceived it as a contest where two men sat upon rocks and simply struck each other in the face with leather covered fists until one man toppled over or died. Quite possibly, the only difference one might have noticed in the final round of Jones vs. Sanchez was the absence of the rock.
Sanchez, having regained his wind quicker due to the vigor of youth, opened more aggressively, slamming his looping hooks into the side of Jones’ head. By this point, the former champion was too weary to keep his hands up for the whole three minutes so instead he tried to simply roll with the force of the blows as best he could, hoping to weather the storm until Sanchez became tired. This occurred after about a minute, when the younger boxer momentarily ceased his attack to take a deep breath. Then it was Jones’ turn. He stepped forward and crashed an uppercut between his foe’s gloves.
Though a highly unorthodox punch to lead with, one that has gotten more than a few boxers in trouble when they attempted to throw it from the outer distances, in this case the uppercut was the perfect punch. Sanchez’s gloves were too far apart, along the sides of his head, and he was leaning forward slightly as he sought to regain his breath, in perfect position for Jones’ blow.
Jones took one big step forward and drove his right hand in an upward arc with the full weight of his body behind it as if he were shoveling snow and then tossing it over his shoulder. His gloved right fist came straight up directly into Sanchez’s unprotected face snapping his head backwards like a bobble head doll and making him stagger back until the ropes at the far side of the ring arrested his momentum. Before Sanchez could even think of defending himself, perhaps even going down to one knee to take an eight count from the referee and regain his senses, Jones was sprinting forward with the kind of renewed vitality that comes only in those decisive moments when a weary predator senses its prey has finally been mortally wounded and will, at last, surrender if pushed just a little harder.
With no regard to craft or technique, Jones plowed into Sanchez swinging his punches for all he was worth hitting head, body, arms, whatever he could reach. Though many of the blows were inconsequential, enough of them managed to get through that Sanchez never had a chance to recover his senses. As Jones crashed two more punches, a right and a left, into his opponent’s sagging form, Sanchez slowly slumped straight down into the mat as if he were gradually liquefying before everyone’s eyes. He melted into the canvas, leaving himself literally on his hands and knees at the feet of Marlon Jones. He was well and truly conquered.