Ringside at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood California. Monday night Aug. 12, 1991. Troy "The Destroyer" Dorsey owned the IBF Featherweight title.
The WBC Continental Americas Featherweight title was up for grabs and Dorsey only had to get through Manuel "Manteca" Medina that night.
The 12-round bout was ugly. Medina got knocked down twice and kept getting up to take more punishment from his relentless opponent. Dorsey got cut early, and by the fifth or sixth round, the notebook where I was keeping score was covered in blood.
As the fight wore on Dorsey's blood and sweat-soaked face became a grotesque mask. Medina treated the bout like work that needed to be done. Yet, the harder Medina hit, the more determined and dangerous Dorsey became as he pressed attack after attack.
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And isn't that what Donald "The Donald" Trump really is? A Great White Hope? More like "Great White Hype."
News story after news story from the campaign trail detail mobs -- likely in the same demographic as wrestling fans in the Midwest and heroin abusers in the Northeast -- threatening Muslims, whispering about "international bankers" (read: Jews), crying about President Obama and swearing the election is rigged.
This might be a bit counterintuitive, but it makes sense that wrestling fans would be complaining about rigged outcomes. Just saying.
None of this is to say that Hillary Clinton is the second coming of Ali. She isn't. There's no charisma, no high-minded ideals and no genuine appeal in her scripted, phony and predictable campaign.
In a post-Ali world there are no 15-round matches and no Alis — only pretenders.
Think about all those times you paid $59.99 or more for a pay-per-view only to be disappointed. Maybe it explains the rise of MMA/Ultimate Fighting and ascension of Trump. Think of fight history as a road map, and how this campaign climaxes in Vegas tonight.
Boxing is an intellectual sport. It is a chess match. A winner must not only out-box an opponent, he's got to be studied — watch the feet, know when a tactical opportunity arises from a misplaced right and go for the jaw at the second it is exposed.
Ali's rope-a-dope strategy was a work of pure genius. Let the stronger man punch and punch until he can punch no more, then go in for the win.
MMA on the other hand only relies on brutality. There are no rules, no strategies, no ethics. The only thing a good MMA fighter needs to do is be inhumanely brutal. Chokes, kicks, armbars? Those are the tools of the mentally weak.
This has been Trump's strategy since he entered the fray during the Republican primaries. He's name-called, bullied and abused his opponents -- never once promising anything other than to "Make America Great Again."
And, all the while, thanks to his remarkable lack of grace, Trump has succeeded in bloodying himself as much as anything. Yet, here he is. Still standing in the 12th round and ready to come out for the final bell.
So let me tell you about Troy Dorsey. Bloodied, probably missing a tooth or two, barely able to support himself, Dorsey stood up for the bell in the 12th. The crowd in the Forum was electrified. The Destroyer boxed his heart out. There were no low blows, no head-butts, no rabbit punches. Nothing in his game was cheap, demeaning or a cheat. Three-minutes later the fight was over. The Forum erupted in applause.
The refs went to their cards and declared Medina the winner. There was no clamor. No shouts of dismay or claims that the fight had been rigged. Dorsey took the loss like a sport and went off to other battles. Medina took the belt and went off on a world tour to defend it.
If only 2016's election season could end on a like high note, we'd all be winners.
Girardot is an award-winning former editor and columnist with the Los Angeles News Group. He is co-author of true crime tales "A Taste For Murder" and the soon-to-be released “Betrayal in Blue: The Shocking Memoir of the Scandal that Rocked the NYPD.” Follow him on Twitter @FrankGirardot
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