Fight Night Champion Goes Retro
Fight Night Champion Goes Retro
A touch of boxing history takes Fight Night Champion into the future
When you add up all of the boxers, features and details included in the new downloadable content packs for Fight Night Champion, you will have in your hands a kind of interactive boxing history lesson. We’re not going back to the very beginning of the sport because things get muddled. But starting with bare-knuckle brawls and some of the legendary fighters from the early 20th century and continuing on through to modern fighters and the way they looked at earlier points in their careers, you’ve been given an opportunity re-create some iconic fights and experience some pivotal moments in the sport.
First, you’ll have to digest the details of the Bare Knuckles Boxing Pack, Heavyweight Legends Pack and Alternate Weight Class Pack (http://www.ea.com/fight-night/blog/dlc-details). Then you will realize what you can do.
Joe Louis vs Rocky Marciano
This is probably the marquee matchup of the HW Legends pack because every time you bring up boxing somebody has to pull Rocky Marciano….out of nowhere. And much of the barber shop discussion you’ve heard is true: Marciano beat Joe Louis in 1951, that was Louis’ last fight and Rocky did finish his career undefeated. There are also much more powerful social elements to these two fighters’ careers, some of which resonate to this day. Joe Louis ascended to the heavyweight championship to become a bona fide “People’s Champ” at a time when the sport was still reacting to both the legacy of Jack Johnson (more on that later) and social extremism in Europe. Marciano, on the other hand, was such an appealing sports hero that his punishing, slow-footed style inspired a filmmaker to appropriate his story for an iconic movie franchise that will not die. You can’t find a pair of fighters, who have fought each other, who’ve had more influence on American culture.
Fight Night Champion ships with Manny Pacquiao as a welterweight. The Alternate Weight Class Pack adds the featherweight (122 lbs) and lightweight (135 lbs) versions of Pac-Man and we’re still missing six weight classes in which Pacquiao has won championships! When you have so many boxing organizations and you can always gain or lose four pounds to fight in a different class, it’s easy to disparage what it means to win belts at different weights. It’s not easy to say this about Pacquiao. Putting on roughly forty pounds between his debut in 1995 and his last championship win over Antonio Margarito last year is phenomenal because it means he retained enough of his fighting ability and speed to be effective. I’m not sure if heavyweights are at a disadvantage because they can’t move up in weight or if they’re lucky for avoiding him.
London Prize Ring Rules
That’s the official name of the set of boxing rules we now know as bare-knuckle brawling. Throw in a movie like The Gangs of New York and you’ll catch a glimpse of how wild and vicious fighting used to be. People just fought back then. Prize fights throughout the 19th century were more like spontaneous afterschool brawls but with alcohol and gambling thrown into the mix to take it to a whole different level of “wrong.”
Now in Fight Night Champion you’ll be able to use Old School Rules (a variation of London Prize Ring Rules) in Play Now and online in ranked and unranked matches. You get the wrapped hands with no gloves plus different sound effects and instant blood like you saw in Champion Mode. Offline you’ll get the full old school experience where rounds don’t end until somebody gets knocked down and fights only end when there’s a knockout.
If you still don’t think people were tougher back in the day, consider this: throughout the early 20th century, after the sport adopted Marquess of Queensberry rules, you could still knockdown an opponent, stand over him and, as soon as both knees were off of the mat, beat him some more. Neutral corners and standing eight counts have no place here.
No, not the musical act. We’re talking about the first African-American heavyweight champion who pioneered the role of sports hero as celebrity showman. Every athlete --from Chad Ochocinco to Usain Bolt to Reggie Miller—that plays to the crowd or otherwise celebrates a moment of superiority is taking a chapter out of Johnson’s book. The swirl of legends, myths and facts around Johnson eclipse the fact that he paid dearly for his success in the ring and the lifestyle he claimed with it. The White Slave Traffic Act is a Federal statute to this day after Johnson was the first man to be convicted under the new law in 1913 by Judge Kennesaw Landis. We’ll wait while you search and connect those dots.
His unprecedented, to that point, style of counter-punching and solid defense confounded opponents. When he lost the heavyweight title, the legend is that it was by choice because he was photographed shielding his eyes from the afternoon sun while the referee was counting him out.
So as you dive into this batch of downloadable content for Fight Night Champion, we encourage you to think and throw educated punches as you fight your way through history.