First things first, let me apologize to everyone for not sticking around for the final free-for-all. The nice people who provide me with the paycheck that allows me to pay for such things as electricity and internet access tend to appreciate it when I'm not asleep at my desk, hence the needful early exit.
So, on to the events of last night: I arrived a little late, and upon doing so was immediately pressed into judging for the evening by Karine. This caught me off guard, as I was looking forward to hanging around in the back, joking with the other boxers, and cheering on whoever was fighting at the moment. But a lady's request is not to be denied, especially if that lady happens to be someone whom I frequently address as "boss". So I sat my avatar down and, in the real world, grabbed a handy notebook and pen to track the points scored.
Judging is not a task suited to multitasking. Any IMs I got had to be answered quickly, curtly, and, preferably, between rounds. Despite my best efforts, I'm afraid that I may have ruffled some feathers because I just couldn't pull away from watching the fights long enough to give satisfactory answers.
There was good action last night. All of our fighters appeared to be in top form, and nobody succumbed to a knockout in either the lightweight or middleweight divisions.
As I mentioned yesterday, I had signed up for the card as well, and was hoping to put that coveted tenth victory on my record. So it was with great eagerness that I put down my pen and paper and let Karine take over judging for my fight.
My opponent was Jihan McCallen. I've been at ringside in various capacities in the past few weeks, so I've had a firsthand look at the roll she had been on of late. Starting with her first win, a come-from-behind KO of snake Boa, followed in the next week by outboxing former lightweight champ (and newly minted middleweight) jony Abramovic, it was clear that Jihan was not an opponent to take lightly. Not that that's ever a good idea for any opponent, but Jihan's record of late speaks for itself.
As we faced each other in the center of the ring while announcer Vox Mullen did the pro forma reading of the rules, another opponent made itself known: Lag. Now there's lag and then there's lag. This was Lagzilla. And it raised its massive foot at the beginning of our match and stomped on the ring. Hard.
Now even in a crowded sim, such as what we had last night, you can reasonably expect lag to sort of come and go in waves: Some moments of freedom of movement followed by a near-grinding halt of the frame rate. Not so this time. This lag was annoyingly persistent, its only saving grace that it seemed to be affecting Jihan and myself equally as we lurched around the ring, trying to do each other some damage.
Complaining about lag in SL is a bit like complaining about bad weather in real life: You can gripe about it all you like, but there's little you can do about it once it hits. And the lag doesn't much care what you think.
There was nothing to do but soldier on, and we did our best to give the people what they came for. We rattled each others cages and each popped the other up pretty good in the fourth round, but in the end it came down to a back-and-forth ground war. We maneuvered as best we could, each trying to catch the other in the side or on the back, unloading with rights and lefts that either sent one of us across the ring or a small jump off of the ground. One-point hits, and we did our best to deliver them. We neither of us went out of the ring for the whole fight.
The overwhelming lag and the uncertainty of who had the advantage made for a nerve-wracking fight. When the last bell rang, Jihan and I congratulated each other before the decision was read. I was as certain that she had won as she was that I had.
When the decision was finally read, awarding the match to me on points, I could have been knocked over with the proverbial feather. I don't know what the judge's scores were, but I'm sure that it was close. It was one hell of a fight. I told Jihan that I'd give her a rematch any time, and I meant it.
But while it was a good night for me, I'd have to say that the person that it really belonged to was Conan Horan, whom I'd fought to a draw in my last middleweight outing. In addition to a solid win over snake Boa after stepping in for an absent boxer, he went on after my match with Jihan to fight Derrick Cult in a real white-knuckler of a match. The two of them ended round after round either tied up in the score or nearly so. In the end, Conan pulled it off, taking down the guy who is widely recognized as one of the best fighters at Averlast.