By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
"I fought last week for the first time, and won," Monique tells us. "I've never boxed for real. Last Tuesday, I actually got my lip busted a little bit. But there was no blood, thankfully."
"What's the worst part about Foxy Boxing?" I ask the champ.
"Those friggin' gloves are heavy!" she exclaims. "My arms were sore after last time for four days. The best thing about it is the money."
Monique has to go get her game face on while her opponent Ryan, a darling little brunette, steps forward. Ryan will be donning the blue gloves for the first time ever this evening.
"Ever been in a fight before?" wonders the J-unit, coming out of her stripper-induced stupor.
"Never," answers Ryan. "Unless you count those I got into with my sister when we were younger."
"Are you worried?" I query. "After all, you're going up against the champ."
"Nah, it's all for fun. But I am thinking maybe I should take this piercing out I just got," she says, indicating a diamond stud piercing over her upper lip.
"Good idea," advises the Jettster. "And remember, keep your left up, girl."
Soon, the babes are on stage and topless, and with the theme to Rocky playing on the stereo system, DJ Turtle rings in the first round. Almost immediately, booful bad-ass Monique rains down a blizzard of punches with her jumbo boxing gloves on Ryan's pretty head. Monique's veteran status helps her, as does the fact that she's wearing strap-up shoes with thick rubber soles, giving her a commanding height advantage over Ryan, who's gone barefoot. A big mistake, despite the fact that she has lovely feet. In the second round, Ryan regroups and rushes Monique, but this Million Dollar Baby quickly regains composure and punishes poor Ryan with a series of whacks upside her noggin. By the third round, it's over, with Monique the victor and still champion.
Back in the dressing room, both gals' bods are glistening with sweat, but they're unharmed save for being winded. Ryan says she's not sure she'd do it again, though, only because the gloves are so hard to lift.
We amble back to parlay with some patrons, the first of whom is Shawn, a muscular cat in a yellow Indiana Pacers jersey, with a ton of gold chains and even some gold teeth in his grill. Shawn tells us he's been in the military for four years and is a senior airman over at Luke Air Force Base. Shawn's originally from Atlanta, and he's poppin' bottles of Mo tonight with his homie G. from back East.
"Why are you here tonight, soldier?" asks Jett, getting all hot and bothered, admiring how perfectly pumped Shawn is.
"I'm mainly here to get my drink on," answers Shawn. "But I like the music they play, and the way the girls look. Also the boxing's kind of interesting."
"Are you a Pacers fan?" I ask.
"Oh, no. I just like the way the color yellow looks on me. Gold, too."
"So we see," remarks the princess of P-town nightlife. "Nice bling."
"Thanks. This is how we do in ATL. We keep it real O.G. out there," he states.
Shawn divulges that he's done four months in Kuwait so far as part of his service, and we thank him for protecting America abroad and at home. We must've lucked into military night at Pantera, because nearby is Vietnam vet and ex-Marine William, a.k.a. Kalif, who's a martial arts expert, a philosopher and a spiritual teacher. A profound fellow, dressed casually in a blue-and-white jacket and a beige hat, he drops some knowledge on the Jettster and me as we're ordering beverages at the bar.
"In the metaphorical universe, where the body and soul meet is where perversion takes place," he explains like a Jedi master. "That's when the animalistic body comes more alive. This place is a place that perpetuates the soul meeting the animal. And this type of place usually wins."
"It's sort of like there's a time and a place for everything," I say, grasping the essence of his teaching. I feel like Grasshopper on them Kung Fu reruns.
"And that's okay, as long as we recognize it, and don't let the animal side of us overwhelm the spirit."
"Pardon me," interrupts Jett. "But the only spirits I'm interested in feeding my body are in that Absolut bottle over there."
"Forgive her, Kalif," I say, shaking my head. "Both her spirit and her effin' flesh are oh so weak. You have no idea."