Saturday, April 06, 2013

Cops vs. Firefighters

The photo above is from Halloween, 2011, and Colonel is the guy in the middle wearing the suit.  Colonel is retired from the Chicago Fire Department.  He encouraged me to attend the Battle of Badges boxing match, which took place Friday night.  It was held at De La Salle Institute, a Catholic high school on the south side of the city.  "The event is usually standing room only!" Colonel told me earlier this week.  He wasn't kidding.

I got there early enough to get a seat on the bleachers, and to see the under card matches.  All of those bouts featured youths who fight through the Chicago Park District.  Jimmy Ray was doing the announcing.  He named all of the Park District boxing gyms, and mentioned a few times that kids can learn to box for free.  Finally, he mentioned that adults can train at those gyms, too.

The color guards of both the Chicago Police and the Chicago Fire Department were presented before the main event matches began. Bagpipes and drums were played. Posthumous awards were given to several police officers and firefighters.

Ten fights between the cops and firefighters took place after that, and the atmosphere got charged up.  People in the audience took sides.  Cops booed the firefighters and visa versa.   The referees got cursed out, too.  One of them, Celestino, gave a boxer an eight count after what looked like a slip, and most in the audience cried foul.  Most of the fights were wild slug fests, and the rounds weren't more than a minute or two.

One of the loudest uproars took place at the very end.  It was announced that the cops won five fights and the firefighters won five fights, so there was a draw.  Since the firefighters won more fights the year before, the championship trophy would remain with them.

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