Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Friday Night Tournament: Lightweight Championship Qualifier

I don't know what happened. Maybe I worded the announcement wrongly and implied that only lightweights were welcome at last Friday's event. Maybe it was simply a confluence of coincidental scheduling conflicts. Maybe the middleweights got together and decided not to try to overshadow the event by entering. Maybe Great Cthulhu, dreaming in the murky depths of sunken R'lyeh, willed it so.

Whatever the reason, middleweights in gloves were in short supply that night, and it was the lightweights' show from beginning to end.

Karine had decided to go ahead with the championship tournament, since waiting for Linden Labs to fix the bugs that were vexing us was proving to be a lesson in frustration. To compensate, and to draw things out a little more, we extended the KO limit to four ringouts instead of the usual three.

The evening started out with scotty Qinan going up against veteran lightweight Dwain Aeon. The pair of them really dove into it, each never giving ground for a second to the other. But in the end Dwain's edge in experience showed, as he scored a second round knockout.

The next match featured deano Stenvaag against JoJo Nightfire. I've written about deano before, and his talent for the game is considerable. But JoJo really had the mojo going that night. I don't know what lit the fire in her belly then, but she was not going to be denied as she quickly scored the knockout win.

The third match pitted Paula Wilcox against Smokey Dreadlow. It was the only fight of the evening to go for the full three rounds and come down to a decision, as both fighters dug in and slugged for the advantage. When the points were tallied, it was Paula who emerged as the victor, gaining for herself not only a berth in the semi-finals but also her first win at Averlast.

The last match was definitely not the least, as Sal Cooljoke and Brett Middle faced off. The pair seemed evenly matched through three rounds, with each scoring three ringouts, turning the fight into a real edge-of-your-seat affair. A final blast by Sal kept the decision out of the judge's hands, though, and gave him the KO win.

So our semifinalists are Dwain, JoJo, Paula, and Sal. There are several ways I could approach them, from a writer's point of view. I could group Dwain together with JoJo and call it veterans versus the new blood, or JoJo with Paula and say "girls versus boys". That latter one, as any guy who has stepped into the ring with a female opponent in front of a crowd can tell you, has some potency. But no matter how you slice it, four very talented fighters will be lacing up the gloves on Friday in pursuit of the championship. I, for one, can't wait to see how it turns out.

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