I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a professional fighter.

If you’re good in the ring, you can get paid handsomely. But I imagine much of your big purse from a fight has to go to your handler and trainer and other helpers.

It’s hard to fathom that it’s worth the physical toil and the risk and the pain.

There’s also the stress. I’m sure there’s some fear. There’s the anguish of preparing so hard for your goal and then taking a painful loss.

But I love to watch boxing and mixed martial arts. I’d never do that stuff myself but it’s intriguing to watch a good competitive fight.

My dad and I used to watch the Friday night fights on TV when I was growing up in Philadelphia. I remember the Gillette commercials and the cigarette commercials. There was no MMA on television back then, just boxing.

I remember when this kid named Cassius Clay, from Louisville, Kentucky, upset the invincible Sonny Liston. Clay backed up what he boasted he would do. I remember my friends in the hood said Liston’s face looked like he’d been in a meat grinder.

Of course Clay became the legendary Muhammad Ali. I followed his career all through my time at Auburn University and during my years at The Huntsville Times. I hated when he kept fighting long after his skills had diminished.

I still enjoy watching good fights. I hate that boxing has lost its luster since back in the day. As long as men and women have the talent and guts to step into the ring or octagon or cage, I’ll keep watching.

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