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edge staff writer


Celebrity Slam - That's how I beat ... Lamar Odom?

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As anyone who has spent time with us in the past knows, we here at Celebrity Slam do our very best to stay on top of the ever-shifting sands of celebrity culture. And it’s not an easy beat – the nature of our relationship to celebrity (and celebrity’s relationship to us) is constantly evolving.

It used to be that fame was reserved for those who reached the pinnacle of their profession and/or craft – entertainment, athletics, politics, what have you – but the explosion of options means that the definition of “pinnacle” has changed significantly. Instead of a few dozen movies and whatever turns up on the three broadcast networks or top-40 radio, the entire world is made up of content, all of it growing increasingly granular and niche as offerings expand.

Of course, to pinpoint just how ridiculous it all is, the previous 150ish words are there basically to introduce this reminder: celebrity boxing is still a thing.

We’ve seen some celebrity fights trickling out over the past year or so, but the truth is that the vast majority of those bouts involve at least one participant (and often both) that really stretches to reach the realm of “celebrity,” even with the aforementioned caveats regarding the explosion of content.

The bout we’re talking about this week does not do that. Now, don’t get us wrong – these dudes are both very much in the rearview as far as their cultural relevance goes. They haven’t been centered in the spotlight for quite some time. But they’re names that you almost certainly know, even if perhaps not for the reasons that they and their people might wish.

Singer Aaron Carter is going to face off against former NBA star Lamar Odom in Atlantic City on June 12. By all accounts, both are training hard and treating the fight seriously, which is good – too often, these celebrity “matches” wind up with one fighter taking things far more seriously than the other, which works out about as well as you’d expect.

There has been some relatively good-natured trash talk along the way, but for the most part, it all seems to be very civil. You’ve got Carter, who apparently was hoping to fight a fellow pop star, preferably a boy-bander, only to wind up facing off against Odom, who had a solid NBA career but is best known these days for his stint as Mr. Khloe Kardashian. Both men have well-documented struggles with substance abuse.

It’s worth noting that the size differential is … significant. While Carter is listed at six feet even, his weight is usually given at around 160 pounds. Odom, meanwhile, stands 10 inches taller and outweighs him by at least 75 pounds. Now, we have no doubt that Carter is training hard, but we’re not sure how much skill he’s going to need to overcome physical deficits of that magnitude. As for Odom, we’ll see how quickly he can move – he’s eight years older than Carter and has been physically worn down by years on the court.

(Plus, Aaron Carter had a song called “That’s How I Beat Shaq” back in the day. If he can beat Shaq, one imagines he can handle Lamar Odom.)

Look, this isn’t meant to be a condemnation of this particular fight, but rather the idea of celebrity boxing as a whole.

In short – who is this for?

Someone must be into it. A lot of someones, actually, considering how often these stunt fights seem to happen. But why? What does it mean for a person to be engaged by the idea of two people – known for something other than boxing – stepping into the ring to whale on each other? Is it an ironic watch? A hate-watch? Some sort of smug schadenfreude?

Again – this wouldn’t be happening if there wasn’t money to be made. And it’s hard to fault either Carter or Odom for stepping up – neither man is exactly tearing it up in their chosen field at the moment and the bills aren’t going to pay themselves. We don’t doubt that a nice check was cut for both of them on top of whatever prize may be handed to the winner.

We know the who, the what and the where of this fight. We just don’t understand the why.

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 March 2021 05:06


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