Ran So Hard

By Avi Steinberg
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 20, 2009

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Referee Cotton immediately waves his arms. The bell rings. That's it. The crowd gasps. The fight turns out to be as long as a Nakash interview: short and decisive. Fifty seconds, to be exact.

Later I will ask Nakash if he prefers a quick win or a long, hard-earned victory.

"I like short," he replies.

•••


After the Israeli flag is waved and a raucous ovation goes up, the frenzy begins. Tal takes his fighter into the stands to meet his biggest fans, a group of guys with gold chains and Jewish hearts--they're playing hookie from Friday night services at their synagogue to watch the Jewish boxing sensation. They swarm Nakash, showering the bemused fighter with high-fives, enthusiastic pats on the back and promises of support.

"We're gonna set you up really well," says Stephen Silverhardt, putting his arm around the fighter. "Next time, you stay two weeks in the Hilton, whatever you need, you get."

Michael Harris, a member of the Nakash team in Philadelphia, can't believe his eyes. "I'm just overwhelmed," he says, shaking his head. "I'm so proud to see a Jewish guy in the ring like that. No joke, I was in tears."

Tal is transformed.

"Something happened here tonight," he says, stuffing the Israeli flag into a gym bag. "We're getting a real response."

Will Team Nakash return to Philadelphia?

"We'll do whatever it takes. We'll sleep in the streets in order to succeed," says Tal. "But it would be nice to have time to get over the jetlag next time."

The next fight night at the Legendary Blue Horizon is tonight, Friday, October 3. It will feature world-ranked heavyweight "Fast" Eddie Chamber (31-1, 17 KOs).

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