ESPN Friday Night Fights

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This is another one of those different kinds of things that I get to do that never seem to end up on the blog.  For those of you that don't know, I actually get to shoot a lot of sports events in Jacksonville.  I've shot the Jaguars in the past and hope to be on the sidelines again this season.  I've also shot the Suns, the Sharks, the Bullies, the LFL Breeze, and had a really bad experience shooting the Giants.  I've covered basketball, football and golf for UF, JU and UNF.  I've also been lucky enough to shoot the last two Gator Bowls.  I've even been courtside for the Harlem Globetrotters and up close for the Monster Trucks and WWE when they hit Jacksonville.  And let's not forget shooting barrel racing and bull riding which got me some of the most views on my website that I've ever gotten.  While I was up north, I covered high school golf, baseball, and softball, as well as minor league baseball and stand-up paddelboard races.

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Most people start out shooting youth and school sports and work their way up to the bigger stuff.  Not me.  The first sporting event I ever covered was a Jaguars game.  And I was hooked.  One thing has led to another, and through my association with EU Jacksonville, I have been able to expand my capabilities into so many areas.

Again, for no good reason, none of it has ever been on the blog.

Recently, ESPN brought their Friday Night Fights to town.  This was a big deal.  It had been more than a decade since a professional boxing match of this magnitude was held in this town.  Part of the credit goes to Alan Verlander, the city's man in charge of bringing sporting events of all kinds to Jacksonville and putting us on the sports world's radar.  He's been working hard to bring more of these kind of events to town.  And it appears to be working out well.

There were several bouts that night.  And several had local guys from Jacksonville competing.  The first bout was more about dancing and prancing and strategy than it was about landing blows.

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The second bout was totally different.  It was a slugfest from beginning to end.  By the final round, you had to wonder where these guys were getting their ability to keep on going.  They had both laid it all out in the ring and had nothing left at the final bell.

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The third bout was completely different.  It was over in less than a minute.  The two boxers were still dancing around, feeling one another out when the one connected and the other hit the mat.  It was over by a knockdown as the second fighter couldn't get his legs to work right after that.  It went so fast that I didn't even get any good pix of it.

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Then came the two bouts that ESPN was broadcasting live.  They were both hard fought and ended up in split decisions.  The fighters in both were pretty evenly matched.

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Oh, and for those of you that would like to see some of the other goings on that night....

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On the whole, it was a very challenging night.  We were allowed on the floor, but we weren't allowed to get really close to the ring.  So, if you were on the floor, you had to shoot through the ropes, which does not result in great images.  I chose to move into the stands instead so that I could get cleaner photos, but it created an angle that I'm not crazy about.  I also had to shoot with a longer lens that isn't as good as some of my shorter lenses.  All in all though, I'm pretty happy with the results of shooting my first major night of fights.  I hope you are too.  If you'd like to see more of my images from that night, please click on over to my website.   As always, I welcome your comments.