Of all the winners and losers of last weekend, the memory that lingers is the sight of blogger Cameron Slater slumped on the floor of the boxing ring like a beached pilot whale, while all around, a liquored-up, "formally dressed" crowd bayed for more blood.
Slater is an unloveable character. He makes his living hunched over his keyboard, smearing and belittling people he dislikes. But the organisers of this one-minute mismatch are no better.
Admittedly, I'm no fan of boxing. Putting two athletes up against each and encouraging them to whack each other until one or other suffers a brain short-circuit is a dangerous and uncivilised form of entertainment.
But the Christchurch bout was worse. It didn't involve two athletes. It lined up a professional athlete, himself hospitalised not so long ago with a serious head injury, against an unfit loud-mouth, with a long and very public history of clinical depression. For years, Slater has publicised his ongoing battle with an ailment that the Ministry of Health defines as "a mental illness where you feel sad and miserable most of the time and your mood is persistently very low".
Whichever of his demons encouraged him to humiliate himself and endanger his life last weekend, a responsible boxing promoter - if there is such a beast - should have said no. It's not as though Slater keeps his illness at secret. But the promoters chose to ignore this. They saw Slater and his sparring rival, accident-prone cricketer Jesse Ryder, as the freak show drawcard they needed to promote the night's entertainment. Roll up, roll up, and see the nasty blabber mouth get a fat lip from the bad boy cricketer.
To assuage any guilty feelings, the children's charity KidsCan was offered a slice of the profits. More shame it for accepting.
Ned Ward, who wrote about the famous London Bethlem Mental Hospital in the late 17th century, would have felt right at home at Christchurch's Horncastle Arena - ringside tables, $5995 - on Saturday. Bedlam, as it was known, was one of the must-visit tourist stops of the day, along with the Tower, the zoo and London Bridge.
A sign at the entrance declared 'Pray remember the poor lunaticks and put your charity into the box'. Inside, nuts and fruits and cheesecake were sold in the galleries as the keepers paraded their charges like performing bears. He noted how inmates belted out a ballad in return for a glass of gin...
Another chronicler wrote of groups of visitors strolling from cell to cell laughing and joking, "tourists for whom misery was nothing more than entertainment".
Treating the mentally troubled as cheap entertainment was outlawed in Britain more than 200 years ago. New Zealand boxing promoters don't seem to have caught up. The Slater mismatch was promoted by Sky Television's events promotion arm, Sky Arena. Rival promoters Duco Events are just as bad.
Last month, Duco lined up brain-damaged Teina Pora for a bout with an unnamed senior policeman, just a few days after the Privy Council quashed Pora's conviction for the 1992 rape and murder of Susan Burdett, for which he spent 22 years in prison after twice being found guilty. In its decision, the Privy Council noted Pora has been diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, had a low IQ, and a mental age of 9 or 10.
Pora's lawyer denounced the proposed fight as "utterly reprehensible" and "reptilian". Promoter David Higgins hit back, accusing the lawyers of "mollycoddling" him and treating him like a child. A day later, Duco backed down, deciding "not to continue discussions with Mr Pora".
Ironically, the promoter of the Slater fiasco, Sky Arena director John McRae, couldn't resist a jab at Duco, saying he'd turned down two approaches from Pora "supporters" because "I feel it's in bad taste".
If that was in bad taste, how does he define matching an overweight blogger, who regularly interrupts his online monologue for "Mental Health Breaks", with a headline-grabbing professional cricketer, who, himself, just two years previously, had his head so badly bashed in a pub assault that he ended up in hospital in a three-day-long induced coma.
What next, dwarves? A celebrity "recovering" P addict? Oh, of course, Duco has already done that.