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Buffalo Fights in the U.S.

By Richard E. Baker on August 21, 2022


Many fighters would rather eat and sleep than do any work. (Photo: Richard E. Baker)

Big guys at a boxing match always remind me of the Do Son buffalo fighting contests in Vietnam. Andy Ruiz (34-2-0) and Luis Ortiz (33-2-0) are two such buffalos and square off September 4th at Arena in Los Angeles in an interesting night of bouts from Showtime that features Isaac Cruz (23-2-1) vs. Eduardo Ramirez (27-3-2), Jose Valenzuela (12-0-0) vs. Jezreel Corrales (26-4-0), Juseph Spencer (15-0-0) vs. Kevin Zambran (14-0-1), and Abner Mares (31-3-1) vs. Miguel Florez (25-4-0).


A big buildup precedes the bull fights where owners tout the fighting abilities of their beasts. The animals have been well trained and well fed and taught to fight with a vengeance. Not all of this talk is true. Water buffalo are rather peaceful and docile creatures and would rather laze around and eat than fight. Many times they prefer sleeping and eating to reproducing. For a year prior to the contest they fight in local village contests against opponents who have no possibility of winning. They are used to built records, many of them Ferdinands with few fighting abilities.


Boxers also have a big buildup prior to a fight. Managers claim their fighters are in tip-top shape and ready to do damage. Trainers also say the same things. Much of this talk is not true. Many fighters would rather eat and sleep than do any work. Unlike the buffalo, they are ready and willing to breed at any time. They fight meaningless bouts against tomato cans and tumbleweeds to earn their spot under the big lights.


The atmosphere heats up the day of the fight. The buffalo are paraded about for the observation of the fans. Money is bet. Buffalo with red hair receive the most bets. They claim to be descended from the best fighting stock. Often large sums of money are bet. Because Vietnam is a communist country most events are free to the public so people have money to bet. The government feels that events should be free to everyone, not just the middle class and wealthy. Seats are first come first served. Buffalo teams, promoters, event people, etc. receive no money outside their regular paychecks.


Boxers parade around the day before the fight, especially if the event is to happen at a casino. They talk with the crowd, sign autographs, have their pictures taken with the big lion. People look them over and start laying bets. Large sums of money are spent to attend the event. Seats where the fights can actually be seen sell for the price of a luxury vehicle. Customers with only a few hundred dollars end up scattered about the rafters and watch the fights on a big screen television. Huge sums of money can be earned for promoters, television, with money distributed between people in the fight game who only talk. Common people are left out.


The buffalo from the red side and the blue side are paraded around the arena while trainers, owners and handlers raise flags and shout. The beasts are brought to the center of the arena to start the action. For a while they eye each other and circle about as if they have forgotten why they are there. Suddenly one attacks while the other defends. Blows are landed. Then they back off. They attack again. They get winded quickly. They clinch many times as they catch their breaths. Eventually one decides, “What the hell,” and runs off followed by flag waving clowns.


Boxers are paraded around the ring before returning to either the red corner or the blue corner. They are brought to the center of the ring to face one another. When the fight starts they are tentative and they mostly move about eyeing one another. Finally one boxer attacks and the other one defends. They go head-to-head. They start to clinch when they get tired. They go at it again. Eventually one loses heart and just attempts to hang on until the final bell. When a winner and loser are declared a bunch of clowns jump into the ring and either shout for the winner or protest the loss.


The final winner of the buffalo fights is determined through elimination. All the losers are chopped up that day and the meat sold on the streets for the profits of others. Those buffalo that fought better sell for more money. The final winner of the fights is dressed up, receives a crown, and given a big party. Fans are allowed to pet and fondle him. The party goes on well into the night. The following day, after the champion has outlived his usefulness, he is killed and the money for the meat, which goes for large sums of cash, is distributed to owners and managers, pay-offs to officials and other big-shots in the game.


In boxing, well, I guess there really is no difference between buffalo fights and heavyweight fights after all.

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