Thursday, July 25, 2013

Punching On The Inside and The Outside

Wednesday was busy at the gym.  In the photo above, Gabriel spars with Franco.

A couple of my relatives visited the gym.  They heard about my nose being bloodied up, and got on Alan about it a little bit.  The day before, Alan called me at work to see how I was doing.  "My nose is little swollen.  I saw some blood when I blew my nose this morning, but other than that, I'm fine," I told him.  "Good, because you and I are through," he said.  "Why do you say that?" I asked.  "We can't spar anymore.  I looked like a bully!  From now on, I'm sticking with the dudes," he replied.

Clintonia, a woman I've know since we were both in Kindergarten, saw the pictures of me holding bloody tissues and towels.  She called and left an angry voice mail message while I was doing laundry downstairs in my building.  When I returned the call, I told her I knew she was going to curse me out.  "Damn right!  Why in the hell did you let Alan hit you like that?  Hillari, you've got to take up another hobby other than boxing!  People end up with Parkinson's like Muhammad Ali doing that after awhile!" she said.  There was no convincing her that getting bloodied up is normal in boxing.  Nor could I convince her that Alan wasn't taking out any personal frustrations on me.

Amanda and I sparred, and I went a little too hard with the hooks.  I'm beginning to notice that it appears easier for me to go easy doing jabs, straight rights, and uppercuts, but I don't hold back much while throwing hooks and overhand rights.  Alan was encouraging her to throw more punches and not turn her head away. One of my relatives thought Alan was dissing me so they were yelling for me to "get her!"

John, a school teacher, stopped into the gym.  None of us had seen him for about three years.  He had just got back from teaching overseas.  "Wow, it's a good crowd in here!  I can't wait to come back," he said. John had competed in several matches the last time he was in training.  Come to think of it, that was the last time Carlos was in the gym, as well.  I still have photos of when we were all at the Golden Gloves, back when it was still being held at St. Andrew's Gym.

Today, there was a boxing show at the Taylor Park field house.  I had never been there before.  The old Robert Taylor housing projects used to be nearby.  Just like all of the other old projects in the city, Robert Taylor was torn down.  Tony and Gabriel were hoping to get fights.  Tony had a fight lined up, but that fell through.  However, there was a match for Gabriel, but his fight was the twelfth and last one of the night.

Gabriel and Tony picked me up from work, and then we drove to Alan's house.  Matt, Alan's son, came out of the house to greet us.  Matt is a handsome guy who has been lifting weights.  He had his shirt off, and I could see that Matt had become "swole".  Alan's wife Riva came outside, too.  Like I suspected, she had got on Alan for hitting me in the nose the other day.  Gabriel, Tony and myself got into Alan's car, and Alan drove us all out to the south side.

Several kids were impressed by how tall and lanky Gabriel is (he's 6 foot 1).  One of them said they wouldn't want to be the guy who Gabriel was going to fight.  Colonel came to the fights, and he watched our gear during Gabriel's fight.  Alan and I worked Gabriel's corner.  I wish I not only brought my camera, but I also wish I had thought to wear the corner person's jacket that Amy gave me.

Gabriel's opponent "dashed on him" like my late younger sister would say.  But Gabriel watched the guy closely, while slipping and ducking most of the incoming punches.  Gabriel was backed up against the ropes and into the corners a few times, but fought his way out of those situations.  Before the last round began, Alan told him to use left hooks, which he did.  A guy in the audience with a megaphone (the fights were held outside) kept saying, "Guy in the blue tank top, get him!  Go, Loyola!"  Sean, who was the referee, raised Gabriel's hand in victory.

Gabriel didn't think he did well.  "All my skills went out the window," he said.  "That's what happens in these type of fights.  One minute rounds don't give enough time to feel the other person out," I said.  I thought Gabriel kept his composure very well, especially when the other guy just wanted to trade flurries of blows with him.

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