A Cornered Cobra

A few months after Virani’s last fight, a poor outing against Lexi Mills, Virani’s inner circle has gathered once again to discuss what Virani’s next move is. Though the Canadian Cobra is up to #7 in the latest Featherweight rankings, her momentum seems to be a bit stalled.

Emma, Thomas and Anita are on hand for the meeting at a local restaurant. Anita is the one that takes the lead in the conversation.

Anita: “Well, spoke with Spencer Grandin at DAZN today, and well, I don’t think you are going to like it.

Virani (sighing): “I guess they are still pissed over that Lexi fight.”

Anita: “An electrifying performance was expected and you put on anything but. You also ruined Spencer’s personal plans to have you fight The Empress, so he’s not in the mood to give you any favours.”

Virani: “Just tell me that they aren’t going to freeze me out.”

Anita: “Well…they do have a fight to offer you. And I kind of get the impression that if you don’t take it, that you might be waiting a while for the next fight that they offer you.”

Virani: “Great.”

Emma: “Well, we don’t have to play by DAZN’s rules…they are just the broadcaster…”

Anita: “Yes, but without broadcast income, its hard to put together a purse that would bring in a top fighter. We could find someone that might be ranked 10-15 that would take the fight. But I don’t get the impression that’s what you want.”

Virani: “Let’s just hear what DAZN is offering.”

Anita: “So the offer is for you to fight Michaela Sommer. The good news is…she’s ranked #8 and a national champion. The bad news is that they want to fight in her backyard in Germany. ”

Thomas: “Wait, how does it benefit DAZN to have Virani fight in Germany? That’s not even going to be a DAZN card?”

Anita: “There’s two major things at play here. The first is that DAZN is trying to grow its profile in Germany and in Europe in general, so a fight with a local champion against a known fighter in Virani is something they are using to promote their platform. Second, they seem to be doing a favour for DE-Box Promotion, in hopes of being in a good place to win their next broadcast contract, which Box TV currently has. Plus, they get the rights to show the fight in America and elsewhere. It’s not a bad plan by them. If you win, you’re on the up again. If you lose, well, your contract with them is just about up, they’ll probably let you buy yourself out of it.”

Virani (muttering): “So nice to be a pawn.”

Thomas: “But this is kind of the fight that we want. Michaela is 10-1, and German champion. She’s a legit name to put on Virani’s resume.”

Emma: “Michaela’s not exactly the type of opponent I would pick for Virani or anyone really. She’s 10 and 1 with 10 knockouts. That chick throws bombs. She gets homefield advantage too. And, well if Virani loses to someone who looks like her, it’s a bit devastating.”

Virani (frowning): “Just because she doesn’t look like a typical boxer? I think she’s pretty good looking, honestly.”

Anita: “Appearances matter, honey.”

Thomas: “Wait a second. Can someone clue me in to how she looks?”

Emma: “Thomas wants to look at the pretty girl? Should we ask your girlfriend first?”

Thomas: “I mean if you don’t want me to coach…”

Virani (interrupting): “She’s short, stocky, and with short arms. But she’s cute. I like her pink hair.”

Thomas: “So we can outbox her the way Virani did to Carla.”

Emma: “Michaela isn’t tactically naive enough to fall for that. We showed that card against Carla. Now she’ll expect it. Plus, going ‘on the road’ and hoping the judges will see it in Virani’s favour is a bit naïve. I think this one is a battle of punchers.”

Thomas: “I’m not sure I like it.”

Virani: “Emma. What do you think?”

Emma: “I think Michaela is quite good. She’s a unique challenge, and you tend to struggle against fighters that have big power. But…it’s not like there is anyone in the top 10 that’s just an easy fight. They are all good in their own way. And Michaela’s never really been tested. German fighters tend to fight domestically for a long time before taking a step up, and you’d be a HUGE step up for her. She might not be ready for it.”

Virani: “Anita?”

Anita: “Hun, I don’t like this any more than you do. You’ve traveled more than I really would have wanted you to. You’ve fought in India, the UK, America and Canada. I like it when you fight at home. But, you’ve always talked about fighting quality opposition. Michaela represents that. We lose, we can rebuild. We win…and you are back in everyone’s good graces. Plus, building a bit of a reputation in Germany can only help you long term.”

Virani pauses to think about it

Virani: “Okay, let’s take it. But I want you to get 2 of 3 judges from outside of Germany and a neutral ref. Get someone who is favourable to us in there.”

Anita: “Now you see how the game is played. And now you see why you pay for someone like me to do these negotiations. I’ll make sure the conditions are as favourable as possible.”

Emma: “Why do we never talk about me getting favourable judges in my fights?”

Anita: “How do you know that they weren’t? It’s not like your fights go to decision, missy.”

Thomas (interrupting): “Anita, can you hammer out the details so we can prepare the timetable for a training camp?”

Anita: “Natürlich”

Thomas, Emma and Virani stare at Anita in confusion.

Anita: “It means of course!”

Releasing the Emotions

Back at MacVicar’s Gym, Emma finds Virani hitting the heavybag in the empty gym.

Emma: “You picturing the heavy bag as Michaela yet, or does that come later?”

Virani: “I’m picturing some executives that I’d really like to punch instead.”

Virani thumps the heavybag a few more times before exhaling and turning to her friend

Emma: “You jumped at the fight against Michaela pretty quickly.”

Virani: “Well, Alesia let me know that the fight was being offered before it was officially offered. So I had a few days to come to terms with it.”

Emma: “Nice to have friends in high places.”

Virani: “Yeah it was nice of her. But now that the fight is official, she’ll have to be neutral.”

Emma: “You’re pissed about this.”

Virani: “Yeah! It feels like I get railroaded into taking fights all the time. Everything is just so damned political. I thought by getting my own promotion company I could cut through the crap. But even now, the broadcaster controls my life. Next, it will be the rankings organizations. It’s always something. I envy hockey players. They just show up and play. Me? I have to meander my way around 18 different stakeholders, and people get pissed off even when I win!”

Emma: “So why’d you take the fight? You, of all people have the ability to say no. You know that DAZN can talk about not needing you, and then have one of their fighters get hurt and then suddenly they will need you really bad. It’s not like you haven’t been active. You can wait them out.”

Virani: “Because…it’s a fight that I like. It’s for the wrong reasons, but it’s a good fight. I’ll enjoy it.”

Emma: “So you are going to use being roped into this match as motivation?”

Virani (smiling): You bet.

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