The Art of Brawling

The Great Ji-Hoon Kim

“You mean to tell me there’s some sort of art to bashing someone in the face?” asked an incredulous family friend last Thanksgiving.

“Not only am I telling you it’s a science, I’m telling you it’s a beautiful science,” I replied.

I attempted to explain some of the nuances of boxing to her, but her eyes glazed over. So, I realize the challenge I have when explaining its appeal. Boxing cannot be explained, it has to be seen to be appreciated.

Yet, here I am talking about it. Boxing is a integral part of my life. It’s not the Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao’s of the world the hold my interest. My favorite fighters are the lunch box brawlers who show up for a few thousand dollars, yet give it their all every fight.

Kim-Amidu, Part I

The fight between Ji-Hoon Kim and Yakubu Amidu was one such fight. The two of them cannot be more dissimilar.

Kim comes from South Korea, a economic powerhouse that is home to several multinational high-tech corporations. It is a nation that once produced several elite level boxers, but has since seen a drop off in talent.

Amidu hails from Ghana. Indeed, it is a third world country located in West Africa, but it is also the world’s third fastest growing economy. Ghana continues to produce top level boxing talent, including Joseph Agbeko, Joshua Clottey, and Osumu Adama.

In many ways, these fighters represent a new reality of boxing. Boxing talent comes from around the world. It is has become globalized — yet talent continues to come to America in pursuit of a dream.

In part of of Kim-Amidu, we see a back and forth in momentum. Both fighters go full bore offensive.

Kim-Amidu, Part II

As you see, Kim and Amidu are not what you would typically see on a top shelf Pay-Per-View fight. They are not beautifully defensive fighters like Floyd Mayweather, nor do they have the calculated blitzes of Manny Pacquiao.  Rather, Kim-Amidu was a great display of brawling.

By “brawl”, I don’t mean that either fighters were sloppy or lacked skill. Brawling is a legitimate, long storied style in boxing. Some of the most famous boxers in history were brawlers including: Micky Ward, George Foreman, and (the fictional) Rocky Balboa.

Brawling, as a style, seems deceptively simple. A brawler moves forward into the killzone, absorbs punishment, then trades with their own (often) harder, more powerful punches. Of course, there’s more to it than that. Brawling is about foot positioning, forcing your opponent onto his heels, and maximizing torque for hooks and uppercuts.

Kim-Amidu, Part III

What made this fight so fun to watch was that both Kim and Amidu were willing to trade — both being convinced of his ability to out-punch, out-muscle, and out-last the other.

At any moment, either Kim or Amidu could have thrown the knockout punch, the equivalent of a home run swing that kept the verdict of the fight out of the judges’ hands. But in the end, both fighters were standing — doubtlessly due to their grade A chins.

Sadly, By virtue of their willingness to trade all too often, both fighters won’t have long careers in boxing. We will be lucky to watch a few more displays of chutzpah on Friday Night Fights. Perhaps one of them will get a crack at an alphabet championship, but both will probably fade into obscurity.

At least they gave us this fight — a fight that entertains. More importantly, it’s a fight that deserves to be seen.

How Canadian Content is Killing Itself

A maple leaf painted on a sidewalk using a ste...

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If you are unaware of what Canadian culture is, blame CanCon. What is CanCon? A CRTC requirement that a certain percentage of content broadcast in Canada must be at least partly written, produced, presented, or otherwise contributed to by persons in Canada. Apart from the CBC, CanCon is rarely responsible for forging a unique Canadian cultural identity.

Nor is it mean to. CanCon exists for purely political reasons — and is ironically destroying real Canadian content.

CanCon Explained

Theoretically, CanCon is supposed to jump start a renaissance of Canadian cultural activity. This is not the case.

Musicians that receive airplay on Canadian radio usually achieve success in the United States before they are allotted time. For example, Arcade Fire had no commercial radio airplay in Canada until months after the band was widely anointed rising stars in American music media.

With television, the results are more dubious. Canadian networks frequently fulfil Cancon requirements by airing series filmed in Canada but intended primarily for the lucrative United States market. One such production is Stargate SG-1. Few of Stargate’s creative people were Canadian. Canadian involvement was purely financial.

In 1998 Reed Hastings founded Netflix, the lar...

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The Real Problem with CanCon

Most Canadians see CanCon as a quirky-but-benign bureaucratic rule that’s just… there. Unfortunately, CanCon is killing Canadian content. Telcos and broadcasters invoke CanCon requirements to battle back the evil Internet Horde of Progress — in order to protect their revenue streams.

Who is this Internet Horde of Progress I refer to? Netflix.

According to telcos and broadcasters, Netflix should be banned from Canada because it does not fulfil CanCon requirements. Never mind that Netflix catalogue of Canadian content is massive, or that it is easy to procure — a certain percentage of Netflix content is not Canadian!

So here we see that CanCon is not about Canadian content — but about keeping competition out of Canada so the media cartels (as Kemp Edmonds likes to call them) can continue to thrive.

Current CRTC insignia

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CanCon’s Destructive Rampage

If we’re going to apply a rule, it should be consistent. If the media cartels are successful at utilizing CanCon to ban Netflix from Canada, they might as well ban YouTube. Better yet, they might as well ban the Internet since it is doubtful even 5% of its content is Canadian.

Yet now, Canadians already cannot access Hulu or Pandora due to CanCon. What has been the effect so far of the ban? Piracy — not because Canadians refuse to compensate creatives for their work, but because their work is being censored.

You would think  piracy would incentivize Canadian telcos and broadcasters to create innovative Intenet channels to consume content. However, they would rather protect current revenue streams by pretending the Internet doesn’t exist.

Personally, I would rather not pirate — partly because it’s more convenient to pay $7/month for instant streaming than it is to torrent. However, if Netflix is banned and the CanCon status quo is upheld, Canada will become a nation of pirates.

If this happens, Canadian artists will not produce new work — since they will not get paid.

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