Too often, it seems like those comparing a sporting event to a heavyweight title fight have never seen a boxing match of any sort.
Yet, if not two sluggers going at it in the ring, what should we compare the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League final
The sides traded punches. Tigres would attack, only for Rayados to keep the final pass from getting through. Then they'd go forward, surging from the back as is their
Maybe the analogy falls short there, too. Because while Tuesday's first leg certainly felt like a title fight, it had some of that classic scrap that was in a fighter like Julio Cesar Chavez. There were big punches thrown but it also was remarkable just how much each team was able to withstand. It should be seen as no slam to call the game reminiscent of a welterweight fight.
It was a minor miracle no one actually threw a punch - outside the stadium nor on the field - as referee John Pitti kept the whistle to his lips and tried to impose some sort of order over the proceedings (the Panamanian did well, showing how silly those trying to start controversy when the news came out that neither leg would be overseen by a Mexican referee were being).
Tigres were frustrated, not only to be held quiet at home but not to have more success on the wings. Miguel Layun and Jesus Gallardo had help all match, with Rodolfo Pizarro and Dorlan
Tigres weren't at full strength, either. Gignac will look to go the full 90 minutes in the second leg. Carlos Salcedo would love to slot back into the
With the away goals rule not in effect for the title game, there is still plenty of chance for Tigres to get back into the series and win its first-ever international title. And the ghosts of the Liga MX final between the two clubs in the 2017 Apertura, which Tigres won on Rayados' home field, will be howling Wednesday. You only had to look at Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman urging the crowd at El Volcan to sing louder after the final whistle to see that Tuca Ferretti's side still will have belief.
So it all hangs in the balance going into the second leg. We knew it would. There's not enough between the city's two teams for either to have created any separation before the decider at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer.
You don't have to be an expert to know that each team still stands more than just a puncher's chance.