Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday Night Out

The best fight of the night at the Golden Gloves yesterday was the 14th one.  During the first round, there was clearly an underdog.  Then the underdog decided they were going to be as dominant as their opponent.  The bout turned into an out-and-out brawl, which included both boxers throwing each other to the canvas several times.  The night before, I had written about Carlos' fight and submitted it as a writing sample to the Chicago Examiner.  "This is the fight you should have written about," Alan told me.  The crowd rose to their feet several times during that fight. 

There were high hopes for Young Ed's fight, where he ended up fighting the guy from Garfield Park who has the exact same name he does.  The fight was the fourth of the night, and Young Ed appeared very confident, giving fast punches to his opponent.  But a nasty surprise showed up less than a minute into the first round.  The Garfield Park boxer knocked Young Ed to the canvas with a right hand so quick that most barely saw it land.  Anthony was sitting to my left along with John and Carlos, and Alan was sitting to my right.  JJ was sitting further down on the row.  All of us were stunned.  Young Ed was shaky when he got up, but appeared to recover by the time the referee, "Gentleman" Gerald Scott,  got to him.  But the referee waved his hands in the air to stop the fight.  We all agreed that the fight was stopped too fast.

John and St. Louis had to wait a long time to fight.  John's fight was number 22 and St. Louis was number 24 on the fight roster.  "Shit!  I have to wait a long fucking time," John exclaimed. He ended up going back out to get something to put on his stomach.  John called his girlfriend and asked her to come down to St. Andrew's around 10:00 PM.  We estimated that's when he probably would fight. 

Before John's fight, Alan pulled a business card out of his pocket.  "I don't have my glasses with me, so I can't read it," he said, handing it to me.  It was for a strip club.  Alan pointed out the woman who gave it to him.  I had seen her in the woman's washroom earlier, preening in the mirror with a friend of hers. Both women looked as if they worked at the club. "You don't need this," I joked, acting as if I was not going to give the card back.  Alan put it back in his pants pocket.  "I'd like to read it later on," he grinned.

It was actually after 10:30 PM when that match took place.  I worked the corner for John's fight, the first time I have worked anyone's corner as a coach.  The match barely got rolling when John got into trouble.  "Shit, he got an eight count," I thought to myself.  "Keep your hands up!  You have to punch, John!" Alan barked.  It wasn't long before "Gentleman" Gerald gave him another eight count after John's opponent continued to put the heat on him.  Normally, the only person in the boxer's corner who is supposed to be talking is the coach.  However, at one point, I was calling out a warning to John after he took some punishing shots.  John bent over near the ropes and didn't return punches.  His opponent set off a barrage of hooks to his head.  The referee stopped it.  "Damn", I thought.  John took the loss well.  His girlfriend, a pretty Asian woman, hugged and kissed him after the bout. 

During St. Louis' fight, Anthony was of the opinion that St. Louis appeared to look sharper while sparring in the gym.  "It happens that all the time when all the stuff picked up in sparring gets forgotten when one is in a real match," I said.  Carefully constructed game plans in the gym often get blown away by the opponent's agenda. St. Louis was popped a few times, and he popped back.  Then he got winded.  There was a lot of clinching going on.  When the dust cleared, St. Louis had lost.  St. Louis is signed up at Loyola Park, but he fought under Joe's organization, which is Go Time.  We count St. Louis as our own, so when he lost, that meant everyone from Loyola was out of the tournament. 

Several guys sitting behind me commented on a couple of the later fights.  A boxer during one bout made the mistake of coming out of his corner angry.  He kept leaping at his opponent, who met his actions with well-timed punches each time.  A boxer in the second fight thought his build would carry him to a win.  When he lost, the guy sitting directly behind me told his buddies,  "See, that pretty muscle shit don't work all the time."  I turned to look at him, and he apologized, thinking I was offended by his choice of words.  "Oh, no, you're right," I told him.     
The announcers pointed out a few celebrities in the audience.  There was a 95-year-old who won the Golden Gloves back in 1934, plus professional boxer David Estrada.  Estrada previously fought "Sugar" Shane Mosley, and he'll appear on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" sometime in April.  The Pope, a hip-hop/dance recording artist, was also in attendance.  "Who's that?" Alan asked.   "You don't listen to rap or hip-hop," I smiled.  "No, only talk radio and easy listening," Alan grinned.

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