You have some thoughts. You can no longer be alone with them. They involve boxing, so all of your loved ones abandoned you years ago. What to do?
Well, you could go out and make some new friends.
Haha, just kidding! You’re going to die alone in your parents’ basement, just how god intended. Ha, gotcha again! There is no god. It’s just you, an autographed picture of Colonel Bob Sheridan, and a disgusting panoply of Funyuns bags fused into a makeshift blanket by bodily fluids and held together by years of disregard for basic human hygiene.
I suppose you could try sticking your head down a storm drain and screaming your hot takes into the sewer, but that’s where the Ninja Turtles live and everyone knows they’re a bunch of casuals.
So what now?
You could join an online group of like-minded people who share your interest in the sweet science and would gladly welcome your distinct brand of insight. What a treat!
The only problem is that place we just described doesn’t exist and those people are as real Floyd Mayweather’s cousin Roy. Face it, pal, you’re going to have to dig into the apocalyptic shithole of Twitter dot com. Grab a shovel.
In its purest form, Twitter can be a great source of real-time news. It wasn’t all that long ago that you had to sit around and refresh the message board on Fat Shit Randy’s Boxing Universe for six hours straight just to see who won a non-televised fight. Now we can get on-the-fly updates on purse bids, drug test results, and how many runaways Ricardo Mayorga has killed that week.
For better or worse, we’re stuck with Twitter, and definitely for worse, it’s stuck with us.
If you haven’t yet had to develop a system for dealing with the dregs of boxing Twitter, well, congratulations on a life well-lived. For the rest of us, here’s an encyclopedic compendium of the various species of troll you’ll encounter on these boxing Twitter streets and, more importantly, how to navigate their specific psychoses without exacerbating your own.
Seriously, what the hell are we doing with our lives?
1.The Novelist: This person is a troll only in the sense that they likely live under a bridge. Sometimes people just need someone to talk to. That’s all well and good until they decide you’re that person. I don’t have a degree in psychology so don’t quote me on this, but one of the symptoms of prolonged isolation is a complete disregard for Twitter’s 280 character limit. Your time is their fuel, and they will run the gauge below “E” if you let them. Expect a thread here, and not a short one. You may get the courtesy of a numbered one, but trust me, you’ll know after the first sentence whether or not you want to keep reading and I’ll save you the suspense… you will not.
Sample tweet: “First of all, it is difficult to compare fighters from different eras for a multitude of reasons, all of which I will describe here before even getting to my actual point. 1/84”
How to respond: Just a simple “like” then move on. You could throw them a bone with a retweet, but then you’re opening yourself up to a “Thanks for the retweet” message in your DMs, and now you’ve got two overly verbose, pointless conversations happening, and what is this, a marriage?
2. The YDKSABs: You don’t know shit about boxing. This is the most common phrase you’ll encounter on boxing Twitter. Effective in its simplicity, this is basically the boxing troll pledge of allegiance. They won’t have any factual information to pass your way, so don’t bother asking for it. They are simply here to tell you that your knowledge of boxing is so limited that it couldn’t even be described as “shit.” And Jesus wept.
Sample tweet: “For real bro? You think Kovalev could do more push-ups than Omar Narvaez? Man you don’t know shit about boxing.”
How to respond: This one is pretty easy if you’ve got a couple minutes. Just scroll through their timeline until you come across a dumbshit boxing take. Trust me, it won’t take you long. Screenshot said tweet, continue scrolling through their timeline, and use it to reply to any thread they’re mentioned in, proving to them, and anyone drunk enough to interact with them, that it is, in fact, they who don’t know shit about boxing. This is petty and solves nothing, but you’ve successfully passed your problem off on someone else and isn’t that what being an adult is all about?
3. The Pearl Clutchers: These are the self-styled guardians of morality of the boxing Twitter kingdom, and they defend their throne with a depravity not seen since GG Allin’s funeral. Their attack usually opens and closes with the dual-headed beast of “Too soon” and “SMH,” and the space in between is reserved for an “Aristocrats” level soliloquy describing the horrors they wish for the world to visit upon your loved ones. If they find graphically detailing their pornographic pain fetishes to be an ironic way of policing the internet, they generally make no mention of it.
Sample tweet: “Too soon, man. I hope someday a rogue sniper’s bullet pierces your grandmother’s skull as she’s sitting down to blow out the candles on her birthday cake. When she looks to you for help as she gulps down her last breath and you’re so paralyzed with unquenchable sorrow that all you can do is watch, maybe then you’ll think twice about making fun of Spike O’Sullivan’s mustache. SMH…”
How to respond: In the wake of Errol Spence’s stuntman audition last week, I posted a delightful tweet alluding to the fact that he may or may not enjoy a couple bowls of loudmouth soup every now and then. Despite the mountain of evidence supporting this claim and the accompanying video of him Dukes-of-Hazzarding his Ferrari down the entirety of two city blocks, I was told that I had crossed a line. Putting aside the fact that “crossing the lines” appears to be Spence’s approach to driving, I was implored to apologize for a thing someone else did and hey, check this out: No.
If you think making a joke about a shitty thing is shittier than the shitty thing, then the only thing you’re getting is blocked. This place isn’t for you. It probably sounds like I’m talking about Twitter but I mean earth in general.
4. The Promoter: When you say something negative about a fighter there will inevitably be someone to come along and remind you that said fighter could kick your ass. This will almost always include @’ing the aggrieved fighter in their tweet and attempting to set up a time and location for them to use your asshole as a foot-warmer. Two things: 1) Fighters don’t read these tweets and 2) I hit send on every tweet knowing full well that every professional boxer* alive could knock my dick in the dirt. It is in no way a deterrent. Fighters do the violence, I do the jokes. That’s the contractually agreed upon scope of services, and policing my humor with third party threats of violence is just as trivial as the other way around.
*except Adrien Broner
Sample tweet: “Bro, you’re so tough behind a computer but why don’t you come say that to @Butterbean’s face? You guys can do it in my grandparent’s barn next weekend. It would have to be Saturday though because the meat raffle is on Sunday but he’d totally fuck you up!”
How to respond: Take them up on it. Agree to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime, as long as they buy your plane ticket. Again, the fighter’s not reading this so the worst that can happen is you might get a free trip to Ellsworth, Maine or something. Ok, the actual worst that could happen is you might have to go to the UK, but I don’t think they even have airports there so don’t lose too much sleep over it.
5. The Fucking Psycho: Are you willing to die for your tweets? These folks are. Their replies generally read like a prison kite followed by a dozen knife emojis. This is chaos for its own sake. They don’t care if they win as long as someone else loses. Engagement here is done at your own peril. These people are tweeting from inside a windowless cell with their belt and shoelaces removed and this will be your fate as well, should you choose to play along.
Sample tweet: “Boom boom, I stab and no one find me. Canelo beast rages inside us and the blood will be yours only. Your own screams won’t recognize you. I sneak in and trick or treat your ass. Dead souls can’t rest. Piss!”
How to respond: Don’t. Seriously.
6. The Bubbe: On the whole, these people support your interests and want you to be happy. A couple of times a year though, they’ll drop in just to remind you how much you’ve let them down, and it’s like, come on, I’ve already got parents to do that. They’ll keep their words clean but their seething disappointment will make you feel downright filthy.
Sample tweet: “Greetings and salutations. I’m generally a fan of your brand of irreverent wit but I just have to say that I was disheartened to hear you voice this opinion. I will continue to read but will do so cautiously. In the future, I hope a second draft will take the place of these irresponsible outbursts. Thank you for your time.”
How to respond: Lightly. Bubbe is the Yiddish term for grandmother. Grandmother implies old. Old implies death. Being on Twitter implies abject loneliness. Play this thing right and you could end up in their will. Or at the very least get a couple of gift cards sent your way, and who doesn’t like gift cards?
7. The Suicide Bomber: A distant cousin of the Psycho, these folks have a strict policy against looking before they leap. These are the people who attempt to instigate a scurrilous campaign against you or your tweet without doing the slightest bit of oppositional research on themselves. They’ll ruthlessly attack your mundane spelling error without bothering to account for the fact that their avatar is a picture of them playing Magic: The Gathering in a Tool shirt and a MAGA hat. Collateral damage is a feature, not a bug, of the Kamikaze attack style.
Sample tweet: “Hahahaha! I read your tweet while my wife was recovering from gastric bypass surgery and I laughed so hard I spilled my herpes medication all over my unemployment forms. Ur so dum! LoL!”
How to respond: You don’t need to be a Juan Manuel Marquez-level counterpuncher to fight your way out of this one, so it’s kind of a choose-your-own-adventure. My preferred method requires patience, and a level of pettiness most people aren’t comfortable with.
Bookmark the tweet and wait for about six months. The longer you wait, the more effective it will be, but delaying too long could give this guy a chance to die his way out of this and we don’t want that. Well, we do but not yet. When the time is right, get nice and drunk until you can no longer even hear your inhibitions screaming from the shoreline. Pull up his tweet and the picture of him therein, quote tweet it and just absolutely unburden yourself from every vile, inhumane thought in your brain. Go all-in on his personal appearance and drag his wife and kids into it too. Who gives a fuck? Quote tweeting allows for a type of naked exhibitionism that will help other people feel comfortable joining in. You are duty-bound to force this poor asshole into a choice between deleting his account and suicide. Or both.
Added points for taking note of his location and posting your tweet while he’s sleeping. This will deny him the ability to defend himself in real-time and force him to wake up to the wreckage that just hours ago was his sense of self-worth.
I think I may have some emotional issues to sort through.
8. The Stick to Sports Brigade: Once again, this is a person who mostly likes and supports you, but they like and support one specific thing you do. Should you veer even slightly outside the designated guidelines they’ve assigned to you in their head, you will be swiftly reprimanded. Twitter is a plantation, they are the owner and your jokes are their property. You will produce, smile graciously, and not make eye contact with his wife, which is also a thing my neighbor spray-painted onto my garage door.
Sample tweet: “I’m fan of your boxing takes but you recently said that you’re against throwing live baby otters into a wood-chipper and I don’t come here for politics. Stick to sports, please.”
How to respond: You’re not going to get anywhere convincing these people that you don’t work for them, so your best bet is to go non-sequitur. They’ve decided that your knowledge of boxing disqualifies you from discussing politics, so who’s to say you can’t decide that their understanding of fishing prohibits them from having an opinion on volcanoes? Just go down their timeline commenting on their cooking posts with shit like “Hey man, stick to Satan worshipping.”
He’ll say you’re wasting your time. You’ll say he’s a goon. And you’re both right.
9. The Historian: These people ultimately mean well, but by the time they’ve completed their passive-aggressive fact-checking of your tweet about Ray Mancini’s butt plug collection or whatever, I promise you’ll no longer care. There are few things worse than a know-it-all with an open forum and time on their hands. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge but if you’re applying for a job at Snopes, I assure you that my twitter timeline is not the appropriate place to submit your resume.
Sample tweet: “Hi there, I really enjoyed your piece but when you said Fritzie Zivic beat Izzy Janazzo on cuts that was wrong. His eye was closing and he failed to answer the bell for round 5 thus ruling it an RTD, not a TKO. I know because I was there. I am old. So very, very old. Please correct this or I will remind you of it every time you post anything. Also, I’m old.”
How to respond: Again, these folks mean you no harm, so you can kind of sit back a little on this one. No need to be overly bellicose here. A simple “Cool story, Grandpa” will usually do.
10. The Plankton: Though absolutely useless in practice, these people are vital to the boxing Twitter ecosystem. They generally have no discernable avatar and single-digit followers, but will quote tweet your original post with something snarky in a desperate gasp for attention. They attach like barnacles to the bottom of your vessel — in my case, a yacht — in hopes of the slightest nibble of new followers. In reality, they are a mere food source for the larger organisms in the Twitter ocean, but to quote Ice Cube’s iconic “Boyz N’ The Hood” character, Doughboy, “Bitches gotta eat too.” I feel like it’s probably a good thing that this list is coming to an end soon.
Sample tweet: “LOL *cry laughing emoji* You bum! *cry laughing emoji* *cry laughing emoji* *cry laughing emoji* *cry laughing emoji*LMAO *cry laughing emoji* *cry laughing emoji*”
How to respond: Treat it like open mic night. You can try out new material that won’t necessarily make it into your act but that will help keep your chops up. Teeing off on 40 mph slow pitches at the batting cages won’t help your swing any, but sometimes you gotta do it to remind yourself, hey, this is supposed to be fun here. I realize I just equated shitting on those less fortunate than you with a feel-good, rediscovering-your-love-for-the-game redemption arc, but if you’ve made it this far in this list you’re just as fucked up as I am, so your judgments mean nothing to me.