I have to tell you, even though I get to sit ringside and watch and write about a good many big fights, I don't think I will ever get used to being there when one of my friends is fighting. Damn. I was all but chewing my fingernails off at first, and after the second round I was a little concerned that Ishe was fighting too much like it was a ten-rounder; I was a little afraid that Tony might outhustle him. And then in round five, I was worried that Tony was going to bodyslam him, climb the top turnbuckle and do an elbow drop.
Still, good win for Ishe -- which, frankly, it needed to be. He needs to dominate people like Bonsante if he's to take it to the next level. Tony just isn't in his class as a boxer.
In the back afterward, as is almost always the case after a fight, everything was real cordial. Tony came up to Ishe, both said, "No hard feelings." Then Tony said to Ishe, "I have to ask you something. Be honest. Be totally honest. Did I ever, at any stage of that fight, hurt you." "No," said Ishe. "Nah," smiled Tony, "I didn't think so."
We were all especially pleased with Ishe's defense. I don't know how clear it came through on the streamed video, if you could see everything or not, but Ishe was slipping and parrying some of Tony's flurries beuatifully.
Anyway, as Ishe went to watch the next fight, I stood with Joe and exhaled. "Man, I can't watch my friends fight," I said. "It's hard work. I need a drink."
One other thing: I have to say, the atmosphere in that arena was tremendous. Very impressive. The enthusiasm of the crowd for the fighters was through the roof.