Friday, March 04, 2011

Boxing In a Small Place

In the middle of the Golden Gloves festivities last night, Tina Wonogas asked the crowd, "How do you like the new place here at Gordon Tech?"  The response was underwhelming.  "Okay, wrong question!  Are you having fun tonight?" she continued.  I kept thinking as I looked around the venue that it was so small.  By the times the finals come around, the place will be packed like sardines in a can.  There were less bleachers and less room on the floor for reserved seating. 

The usual faces were present: Shifty, Percy, Ted, Tracy, Johnny, Jack, Bill, Luis, Sam, Chupa, Gary, etc.  I didn't know that Alan was acquainted with referee "Gentleman" Gerald Scott, who is often seen on HBO, Showtime, and ESPN officiating matches.  Alan, myself and Professor were sitting ringside near the referee while waiting for Professor's match to come up. 

I realized just after I got there that I had forgotten to bring my camera, otherwise, I would have posted pictures on here.  I won't forget it next time.  I just have to dodge the security guys who don't want people taking pictures.  It shouldn't be a problem if I'm taking pictures of individuals as opposed to taking shots (or video) of the actual matches, however.  The organizers are tough about that, though.  I overheard Tracy, one of the event's organizers, telling off a reporter who apparently showed up last night wanting a story, but who didn't clear things ahead of time. 

Earlier in the evening, a coach's meeting took place in the school's cafeteria.  Alan hadn't arrived yet.  I told Professor, "Maybe I better go and see what they're talking about."  I am a coach after all, so why shouldn't I not go?  It was the first time I had attended a coach's meeting at the Gloves.  There had to be about seventy guys in that meeting.  Myself and an Asian woman were the only two females in the room.  John, an official, went over some rules and procedures that the coaches needed to know.  I was surprised to learn that officials and referees have to had overseen 300 to 500 fights before being allowed to officiate over Golden Gloves matches.  Luis Rios made it clear that passbooks were going to be checked of everyone who was planning to work the corners of the fighters.  Apparently there had been incidents of people in the corners who weren't officially authorized to be there in the past. 

Unfortunately, some guys who plan to fight and want to fight on certain nights don't get to do so.  That was the case with Kenny, who expected to have a match Thursday night.  "This is going to eff up my training schedule," he told me later as he drove me home.  Reggie and Professor made the schedule.  Danny and Oscar are tentatively scheduled for tonight; Kenny will return for his match on Saturday.

The guys made fun of me because I was eating what they thought was a whole lot before the fights began.  It's become a running joke at the Gloves for the past few years now.  I hadn't eaten since 11:00 AM, and I was starving by the time I got to Gordon Tech around 6:30 PM.  I had a thick cheeseburger, BBQ chips, a slice of banana cake (I was entitled because my blood sugar was a little low), and a Diet Pepsi. 

"You don't have a wife beater shirt?" Alan asked Professor.  He ended up having to cut the sleeves off of the T-shirt that Professor was wearing.  Kenny held pads for Professor to warm him up beforehand.  Professor spoke to professional boxer David Diaz before his fight and got some encouraging words.  Professor slipped on the canvas twice during the first round against a guy named Marcin Kunicki who was fighting out of HyperFight Gym.  He rallied back to catch the guy with a series of jabs.  But by the third round, both men were in trouble as they were tired out.  While Professor sat in the corner between the second and last round, Alan admonished him.  "One effing body shot!  You can't give him one effing body shot?"  A body shot most likely would have stopped Kunicki.  The bell rang again and the men fought their fatigue to get through the round.  In the end, Professor got the win.  Manny, who was there, commented, "The other guy kept looking like he was surprised that Professor was still throwing punches at him!"

Reggie's fight was several bouts later, and a posse of his friends were there to cheer him on.  Reggie was up against Lucas Hyre, who was fighting for Team Colon.  Reggie tagged Hyre with a left jab, and Hyre fell into the ropes before stumbling to the canvas.  The referee ruled that to be a slip.  Reggie's next actions left no doubt, however.  He backed his opponent up into a corner and pummeled him with body shots and hooks to the head.  Hyre slumped down in the corner, and that was it.  Reggie was declared the winner, and I believe he did the job less than one minute into the first round.  His friends and I jumped to our feet and chanted Reggie's name.

No comments: