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Why Patrick Fabian Thinks That Boxing Fight On Better Call Saul Was So Absurd

"Better Call Saul" Season 6, Episode 5 ("Black and Blue") features an unexpected late-night meeting between attorneys Jimmy McGill (aka Saul Goodman) (Bob Odenkirk) and Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian). Howard lures Jimmy to a boxing gym by making an appointment for legal consultation under the pseudonym of H.O. Ward. When Jimmy arrives at the gym, he is shocked to find Howard waiting for him. "That is really cute, Howard," Jimmy says, "So, that means you're the guy who shanked some dude in a rumble near Central Penn?" Howard replies, "I thought it sounded like a Saul Goodman kind of case." 

Howard quickly admits that he knows the source of the reputation-damaging schemes orchestrated by Jimmy and his wife, Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn). To put an end to it, Howard suggests the two men punch out their differences. Jimmy admits no guilt and initially takes a few steps toward the door before stopping and deciding to step in the ring with his rival. 

Once in the ring, Jimmy clowns for a nonexistent crowd and camera before the two face off awkwardly, trading wild misses and, eventually, landing a few body blows. When Howard starts to get the better of him, Jimmy tries a couple of feeble dirty tricks before Howard floors him with a powerful uppercut. Standing over Jimmy, Howard tells him, "You've mistaken my kindness for weakness ... I like to think that this ends it. Probably not." Howard then walks off, leaving Jimmy flat on his back and gasping for air. 

Of course, viewers are used to seeing Howard and Jimmy debate in law offices, but even Fabian was shocked that his character chose a boxing ring for this meeting.

Patrick Fabian told Variety the moment was absurd but fit the Saul and Howard's story

During an interview with Variety, Howard Hamlin actor Patrick Fabian admitted that even he didn't see this sort of scene coming back in Season 1. "It's earned, it's kind of absurd, but it's not like it doesn't make sense," Fabian said. "It's come to blows, where literally Howard's been the punching bag for Jimmy all this time. So it's great to turn the tables."

Fabian subsequently revealed that Luis Moncada, the actor who plays Marco Salamanca, has boxing experience and trained him before the episode was shot. He also admitted that the training utilized muscles he had never consciously used before. "We trained for about two or three weeks out," Fabian said. "If you've never boxed before, the first thing you find out is the day after you train, you have muscles all the way up and down your lower back that you didn't know you had."

Of course, Howard's stiff but fundamentally sound mechanics in the ring are right in line with his character's approach to everything else. Fabian pointed out that boxing would be a fitting outlet, given the character's competitive and rigid nature. Fabian said, "Howard is trained, and he's a rules guy ... It's another card that Howard gets to pull out to show power and status over somebody else."

When Howard leaves the gym, he hops into a car with a private investigator he has hired to follow Jimmy. Needless to say, the rivalry is nowhere near over. In fact, just after turning out their bedside light that night, Kim tells Jimmy not to fret about the night's events. Kim says, "You know what's coming next." 

Both moments clearly indicate that we haven't seen the last of Howard vs. Jimmy, but it's unlikely we'll ever see the two in a boxing ring again.