Saturday, 8 August 2009

Know what I mean?

Had been scratching about for a sporting analogy to sum up this Ashes series, and as England blundered around yesterday it came to me: it's Frank Bruno versus Oliver McCall.

The man in one corner past his best but still beloved of his country, a nearly man, a noble giant, superficially in great shape, proficient against lesser opponents, exposed when challenging for the big titles, but a fighter possessed of a sunny determination to make things right even as he drinks in the last-chance saloon.

The other corner a champion, not one of the great champions of the past, but one still possessed of great physical gifts. A flake, though, too, capable of kayoing Lennox Lewis one week and crying in the ring the next. 

They begin to fight, and somehow, against the odds, almost miraculously, Big Frank gets ahead. He boxes steadily, building a lead as he realises that his opponent is on the slide, not what he was, highly strung and all over the place. The crowd's belief grows along with Big Frank's. The middle rounds tick by, only a couple left now - come on Big Man! - Frank so far ahead he can't be caught, only knocked out, running short of gas, legs slowing up, face puffing but still in there.

And then it happens, with the end in sight, McCall, the Atomic Bull, the man with a chin of granite, finds a punch from somewhere, and Big Frank, desperately tired, does what he always does, hits the ropes, straight-backed, legs stiff, chin hanging out. Only a minute to go, but a desperate, endless one as the crowd look through their fingers at this horror film, one they've seen played out plenty of times before, the one with the unhappy ending... Come on Frank, hold on, son. Just stay upright and you've got a chance...

Big Frank did it of course. McCall couldn't quite land the conclusive blow, even though he was eminently capable of it. Frank had big bloody tears in his eyes when they called his name out as the winner, barely had the strength to get his arms above his head... tremendous, it was... moving somehow. 

Not the greatest fight of all time, but a great night. Bit like this series... Come on Frank, lad...


Rob said...

Ah yes, I remember it well, we all cheered when he lifted the belt. Tyson hungrily took it from him.

FCKing said...

I tried hard to think of an analogy, although only from the point of view of the Aussies.

FCKing said...

And I finally thought of one, although I couldn't express it very well.

I have no idea who Frank Bruno and Oliver McAll were, so I'm off to wikipedia.