There is a particular way I make my way through a club fight when the event is sold out, as last night's Lou DiBella show at the compact BB King's was. I move through gingerly, elbows tucked to my sides, making sure not to jostle anyone, and spill their beer. Because at such an event, one never knows when someone is jostling a former pro pug, or current Golden Glover or wannabe with beer muscles amped up after watching a crazed tussle in the ring.
I mention this because while it can be a pain in the arse to make one's way through the crowd, and site lines are diminished because space is limited, it's good for the business, for DiBella's in particular, when his club shows are sold out. No, he's not getting rich when this happens. The cost of doing business, paying the venue, the fighters, the insurance, etc. etc., basically means he breaks even when the joint is jammed. But for every fight fan who enjoys the scraps, such as the Boyd Melson-Delen Parsley tussle, it is that much more likely they will buy a ticket to see another DiBella card, like the March 17 event at the Madison Square Garden Theater, which is headlined by Sergio Martinez-Matthew Macklin.
It is no fluke that the event sold out, by the way. My take is that by using mainly local guys, and matching them pretty tough, fans knew they'd get a few hours worth of competitive action, as opposed to what they sometimes get at club shows, namely, showcase rubouts for name guys looking to pad their records.
In all likelihood, Melson and Parsley will never advance to HBO or Showtime main event status. They are what they are: limited pugilists with limited upside. That's no knock, even if it is cuttingly candid. But that doesn't mean they can't and didn't put on a helluva show. The Brooklyner Parsley, age 24, took a UD8, by scores of 75-74, 76-73, 76-73, over the crowd-fave Melson, the 30 year-old lefty brawler out of White Plains. The crowd didn't dig the decision, as they saw Melson drop Parsley (now 7-0) in the second and sixth. Parsley, who I thought would succumb to the madman Melson (now 8-1) late, showed heart galore when he sent Melson, who shot his wad somewhat when he tried to end the affair in the second, to the floor in the eighth and final round. Then Melson sent Parsley down, but the ref said it was a slip.
All in all, there wasn't one future superstar on the card, but that didn't prevent the event from pleasing the assembled to no end.