A Boxing Spectacle Forgotten by the Ages
Before MayGregor there was Tatum vs. Simpson
August 26th, 2017 UFC Champion Conor McGregor stepped into the boxing ring to face 49–0 Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. The two clashed under the bright lights of T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in a surprisingly entertaining fight ending with a TKO victory for Mayweather Jr.
Almost 21 years ago, November 9th, 1996 there was another boxing spectacle that has been often forgotten in the pages of combat sports history. Tatum vs. Simpson: Payback
A nuclear safety inspector from Springfield, Homer Simpson lived a happy life with his wife and 3 children. To call Simpson’s meteoric rise in the sport of boxing that culminated in a fight against Drederick Tatum, the Heavyweight Champion, unanticipated would be an understatement.
At 38 years old Homer had gotten into a bar room scuffle with 3 men and his ability to take punishment was noticed by the bar owner, Moe Syzlack. Syzlack was a former boxer himself and was managed by none other than Lucius Sweet, a man as rich and as famous as Don King. He was formerly known as Kid Gorgeous, then Kid Presentable, then Kid Gruesome, and finally Kid Moe.
“Back when I was Kid Gorgeous, everyone wanted a piece of me. But somehow I never made it to the big time.”
Moe Syzlack on his checkered boxing career ending in getting knocked out 40 straight matches.
Moe would approach about being his boxing manager and trainer. However, before Homer could compete in the ring, his wife Marge Simpson insisted he consult a competent doctor. This is when Simpson discovered that he suffered from an unique genetic condition known as Homer Simpson Syndrome. His brain is cushioned by a layer of fluid 1/8th inch thicker than normal, almost as if he was wearing a football helmet inside of his own head.
Humble Beginnings on the local circuit
His first match in the Association of Springfield Semi-Pro Boxers, ASSBOX, Simpson faced unranked fighter, Boxcar Bob. A hungry young fighter who was famously fighting for a sandwich.
At the opening bell, Simpson unexpectedly came out with both hands down. Undeterred by this unorthodox stance Boxcar Bob opened with two quick feints, once getting no reaction, he began pummeling Simpson with 1–2 combinations.
“He never stops punching! Except to check on his bindle”
Carl Carlson on Boxcar Bob’s cardio
But to Boxcar’s surprise, Simpson was employing a variation of a tried and trued strategy made famous by Muhammad Ali himself, the rope-a-dope. The rope-a-dope strategy essentially has the opposing boxer throw ineffective punches that would eventually tire themselves out.
Homer would eventually skyrocket through the ASSBOX rankings beating the likes of Boxcar Fred, Boxcar Ira, and Switchyard Sullivan. Once he Captured the #1 ranking that’s when boxing destiny came knocking on his door.
Lucius Sweet approached his former fighter about setting up a match between Simpson and Tatum, whom he was managing, in his comeback fight. (Tatum had been incarcerated for pushing his mother down a flight of stairs)
Tatum was a dominate tour de force who had won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics and eventually captured the Heavyweight title, knocking out Watson in the “Bout to Knock the Other Guy Out. However, his dominance began to make fans angry due to the fact that matches would end before they could even get drunk. Sweet had learned that Syzlack had “a young pugilist who cannot be knocked down.” Sweet needed someone that could last at least 3 rounds and hoped that Simpson could be that anomaly.
Everyone was skeptical of Homer’s chances, even his family. But even with Vegas setting the odds at 1000–1 that didn’t deter Simpson.
“I can make a fortune for one night’s work! We can have all the things we’ve always dreamed of, a snooty butler, carpeted car ports, those blue cupcakes they sell sometimes…plug in room deodorizers, front and rear spoilers for the car!”
Tatum vs. Simpson: Payback
The night of the fight was electric. Celebrities were there, Rainier Wolfcastle, anchorman Kent Brockman, Anthony “Fat Tony” D’amico, to name a few. Less than one week into his boxing career, Homer was stepping into the ring with the Irresistible force of Drederick Tatum.
Homer came into the fight confident. And why shouldn’t he be? With his #1 ranking in ASSBOX, he was undefeated in the local circuit and impressively finished all of his opponents. He even walked to War’s “Why can’t we be friends?”
Homer had never fought anyone nearly as skilled and decorated as Drederick. Homer tried to employ the strategy that got him to where he was today, but Tatum’s punching power was just too much for Simpson. In the first 5 seconds Tatum landed a clean 8 punch combination that had Simpson hurt.
“Showing utter disdain for his opponent’s ability, Tatum took a mid-round breather to converse with actor charlie Sheen.”
Simpson knew that he had to make something happen. Uncharacteristically Homer threw a hail-Mary desperation overhand right at the champ that although courageous would eventually miss.
Simpson was all out of ideas, Tatum had countered his punch with what could only be described as a downer-cut, knocking Simpson’s mouth piece into the canvas and leaving him stumbling on his feet.
As Tatum wound up to finish Simpson with one last straight left, a miracle happened. Tatum missed….
Like an angel, Syzlack swooped in and saved his fighter from the killing blow.
Just like that, Homer Simpson’s illustrious boxing career was over. Although it’s not known if he will ever step into the ring again, this author would still remember Simpson’s career with fondness.