Friday, August 19, 2011
PTU Fight Night: Best Sports Brawls
The brawl that erupted between the Georgetown Hoyas and the Bayi Rockets produced some of the best fight photos of all time. Just take a look at that up there. Everyone lined up, throwing blows or preparing to inflict some damage (take a look at number 5 balling up his fist for a haymaker), and there's plenty more ridiculous photos where that one came from (when was the last time you saw a Chinese guy stomping out a black athlete? Game of Death?). This fight looks even better (or uglier) when compared to most sports fights. At best, you get a couple guys flailing away at each other while their teammates and coaches try to break it up. Most of the time, you can tell these guys don't really want to fight. They look like Marlon Wayans yelling "hold me back" while pushing his brother in front of him. They're athletes, not fighters. Occasionally though, tempers flare, everything falls into place and things get beautifully ugly. (I'm excluding the famous brawls we've already talked about before like the Knicks Heat fights and hockey because it sucks).
Kermit Washington Caves in Rudy T's Head
The brawl itself is pretty crazy (involving Kareem Abdul Jabaar and a few others), but it's mostly proof that a well placed punch can turn misdemeanors into murder cases and 10 game suspensions into life-long bans from the league. In Kermit Washington's case, the right hook that connected with Rudy Tomjanovich's temple followed him for life, resulting in his being banned for life from the NBA and a book called "The Punch". Rudy T. recovered to coach the Rockets to back to back titles in the 90s and Kermit's former team the Lakers for an unsuccessful post Phil Jackson season, but this punch almost killed him.
Armando Benitez vs. The Yankees
This one was fun. Far from the usual baseball scuffle, where the batter either runs out at the pitcher or just stares him down as both benches meander around the field, this was more in the vain of the last scene of Naked Gun. After Armando "Blown Save" Benitez lost his cool, yet again, and beaned Tino "Bay Ridge Toyota" Martinez, it was on and poppin'. The most memorable part of this brawl is, of course, wild Aussie Graeme Lloyd sprinting from the bullpen to cold cock Benitez (although both of those guys kind of punch like girls). Darryl gets the best shot in. Even the fights were better in the Yankee glory days of the 90s.
Derek Harper vs. Jojo English
The Knicks had a lot of heated rivalries during the Clinton administration (not that it was his fault). We've gone on at length already about the Miami brawls (PJ Brown flipping Charlie Ward, Van Gundy hanging on Alonzo's leg for dear life, etc.) but this one is sometimes forgotten. Even though the Knicks and Bulls rivalry was one of the fiercest at that time,(in Junior High and much of high school, you were either a Knicks or Bulls fan) it was mostly devoid of fisticuffs. PTU commenter Derek Harper made up for it, though, with this doozy of a sports fight. Jojo English was a very forgettable player if not for being the only NBA player to be body slammed during a game and his very stupid name. Harp was known as a pest (back when you could hand check players) and no doubt he got under Joey Jo Jo's skin. It gets broken up pretty fast but this video is still worth it to see Anthony Mason in the unlikely role of peacemaker (you ain't going nowhere, Scott Williams) John Starks being escorted away by about 5 security guards and the look on David Stern's face. This game would later become famous for Toni Kukoc's buzzer beater and Scottie Pippen's hissy fit.
The Bowe-Golata Riot in MSG
It's kind of redundant, I suppose, to talk about a fight breaking out during boxing, but when it's a brawl like this we can make an exception. Big Polish lug Andrew Golota had just landed his fourth (fourth!) low blow of the fight resulting in Bowe's agony and one of the wildest riots in the history of sports. Golota took a 2 way radio to the noggin from someone in Riddick's camp and there were chairs thrown from every direction. Total chaos that also involved some Polish mafia looking goons regulating in the ring. I strongly encourage you to watch this entire video. The Garden hasn't seen anything this ugly since Chris Dudley shot a free throw.
Andre Johnson vs. Cortland Finnegan
Football fights are usually pretty lame. There's been a couple of good ones (Deion throwing some blows in his return to ATL, and a few others) but for the most part, it's hard to get real riled up over dudes fighting in helmets and padding unless they have weapons. This one here was among the all time great fights since both guys are actually throwing punches and both of them lose their helmets. Finnegan seems to be the feisty sort, but Johnson totally makes him his half Irish bitch for a couple moments there, right about the 47 second mark. HOLD THAT, HALF BREED!
So, where does the Hoyas vs. China fight rank among the all time great brawls? It was a meaningless game, but it gets some points for the international vibe. Americans are already suspicious of the Chinese taking over in a few years, could this have been an example of the Georgetown players anxietys over future submission to the Yellow man? Probably not, but damn, it made for a great brawl.