Friday, September 27, 2013

Loyola Park's Winning Night

As promised some time ago, here is a photo of me wearing the lovely coach's jacket that Amy gave me a few months ago.  There was no fight for me at this year's boxing show down at the field house, so I helped out everyone else in my assistant coach role.

I got to the field house a bit late.  I saw Rob, a pastor who used to train at the gym.  His sons, both heavyweights, had fights.  Rob's sons didn't win, but according to their father, they put on a good showing.

Gabriel's fight came up not long after I showed up.  The announcer got Gabriel's last name correct, but kept messing up on his first name, which I found amusing.  Usually people have problems pronouncing the last name.  Gabriel was backed up into corners and the ropes a few times, but then he used his long reach to keep the other guy from coming in on him.  The other guy took some hard straight punches and hooks from Gabriel, especially in the last round.  Gabriel was the victor.

James, or Professor, as we commonly know him, was up next in a 168 pound match.  Throughout the fast three rounds, the other boxer never got one significant hit on Professor.  Professor was clocking the guy left and right. Professor had said all day long on his Facebook page that he was going to win his fight, and true to his word, he did.

Andres was in a super heavyweight fight.  Arnold and I kept yelling from the sides, "Hit the body!"  At the end of the second round, Andres' opponent was tired, and it showed.  Andres delivered some straight shots to the guy's mid-section, and threw some hooks in that direction as well.  Andres' hand was raised in victory after it was all over.

Of the adult boxers, Matthew was the last to have a bout.  From ringside, Alan instructed Matthew to relax. Matthew was aggressive enough to back the other person up into a corner at one point.  But after Matthew was backed into a corner, the referee stopped the fight.  Confused, I asked, "What happened?"  Matthew had raised up his knee -- the same thing he did the other night when Alan had him up against the ropes while they sparred.  I heard Alan telling him, "I should have reminded you not to do that," as he took off Matthew's gloves and headgear.   The decision went to the other boxer.

Arnold took a video of me on his cell phone interviewing Professor and Andre about their fights afterwards.

Barry's fighters didn't do bad, either.  The last fight of the evening was between Dominick, and another kid. Dominick was getting the best of the kid most of the time.  The other kid got two eight counts.  Dominick won.

Arnold (who looks very good with a beard, by the way), a friend of Andres, and Andres pose with Alan right after Andres' fight.

Andres goes in for a hook to the other boxer's body.

Arnold holds the pads to help Matthew warm up for his bout.

Eric and Barry with Dominick in the corner.

Matthew (in the middle) talks to Gabriel and Nina (Matthew's girlfriend) after the fight.

Professor and Andres after Professor's fight.

Professor and Oscar.

The champions:  Professor, Andres, and Gabriel.

It was a good night.  I saw Bill, the coach at Hamlin, and he told me there's six women in his gym.  I need to get over there and get some sparring in.  I also saw Sean, who was the referee during some of the matches. Rico, who I hadn't seen since the cops vs fire fighters match a few months ago, was there, too.

Tall John was disappointed that I didn't get a fight.  He was ready to take pictures.  Gabriel wanted to see me fight, too.  "I wanted to see you throw that overhand right on someone!" he grinned.  But there are still several more tournaments to go before mid-December, and I believe I will get at least one fight at one of those shows.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wednesday Before The Show

Natalia (I hope I'm spelling her name right) is seen here on the red heavy bag.  She told me that she wants to see how the workout goes first before she makes any decisions about sparring.  The guy in the green next to the rack is Marcus, who signed up again for the gym.  Alan can be seen in the background standing next to his desk.

Speaking of the desk, I really took notice of Igor changing his clothes at the desk.  Alan was standing right there, and Igor just took over the space like he owned it.  Before we all got inside the gym, I was at the front desk telling Mary that I wouldn't be able to sing the National Anthem for the boxing show because I was going to be late getting there this year.  Igor rudely interrupted us to get Mary's attention.  She kindly told him to wait his turn.

Tall John and I sparred first, and he wore a body protector to ward off my right hooks to the body.  But the body protector also helped me to focus on throwing left hooks to the body, which I don't do often.  Tall John gave me some very good advice:  I'm always dropping my left hand, leaving myself wide open for incoming straight rights, so I need to glue my left hand to my head.  I also bend down too far when delivering hooks, so that I don't see what else is coming at me.  I caught myself doing that before John pointed it out.  He told me that my strategy should be to lull the other boxer (if I get a fight on Friday, that is) into expecting that I'm going to throw the same punches and combinations for two rounds, then totally switch up my punches in the third round.

Bearded John sparred with Matthew.  I told Alan, "John keeps throwing both of his hands."  "I know," Alan replied, "but John is game. . . .he's hanging in their with Matthew."

It surprised me when Alan told me that George, the coach over at Garfield Park, said he had a female opponent for me.  George seldom has any females over at his gym.  I've only seen one fight between females at a Garfield Park boxing show, and that was several years ago.  George also mentioned that he has some guys to bring over to Loyola as well.

Alicia and a friend of hers came to get a look at the gym.  Alicia works in the office of the foot doctor I used to see back when I used to have health insurance.  She's really been working hard to lose weight and change her eating habits.  She takes an aerobics class at Loyola Park.  Alicia liked what she saw when she observed what was going on the gym.  "I want to sign up!" she grinned.  Her friend seems to be interested as well.  I told them that there's still room to sign up.  Alicia has been talking about taking up boxing for a long time, and I hope she tries it out.

Amy came to the gym to workout.  "Where's Sarah?" Alan asked.  "She still plans to return to boxing," Amy said.  It's always nice to see Amy, but it would also be nice to see Sarah.  It's been a long time since she's been in the gym.

I tried to get as good of a shot of this old newspaper article from the early 1970's as I could.  The headline reads, "Mesa Boxer Back Flips Over Win".  The picture accompanying the article is of a twenty-two year old young man with a full head of hair and very nice abs.  The young man in the picture is Alan.  Alan used to be a gymnast back in the day, which explains how he was able to do a back flip in the ring.  When he taped the article up on the wall, he grinned and said, "I want some recognition, too."

Matthew's getting better in the ring.  He also sparred with Alan.  Now there were a few times when Matthew took some hits because his hands were down, but Matthew returned some good punches back.  Matthew accidentally popped Alan on the back.  I was watching the action.  Matthew caught my eye and said, "Sorry!"  I laughed when I pointed out to Matthew that an illegal punch had been thrown.  Alan had turned at the wrong time, which was why the punch landed the way it did.  Later in the round, Alan was backing up to avoid Matthew advancing on him.  Alan slipped and fell into the ropes.  When Alan recovered, he backed Matthew into a corner with punches, but the younger man spun out of the corner and away from being hemmed in.

I left my gear in my locker at the gym.  There was no need to lug it all home considering the boxing show is on Friday.  I'll just take it home after the show.  Maybe this weekend, I'll remember to wash all of my hand wraps.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Focus Challenge

It took a lot for me to come out of my apartment today and go to the gym.  I had been holed up inside for most of the day, and remaining behind closed doors was looking more appealing.  But I had to get out, even though I had made the decision not the fight in the upcoming boxing show.  I can't.  I can't step into the ring with anyone right now and not be fully engaged in what is going on. Due to ongoing drama over the fallout at my former job, my focus has been way off.  A resolution is -- hopefully -- going to take place this week, which is the other reason.  I'll probably be late to the boxing show, which also means I won't be singing the National Anthem this year.    John was willing to work on defense with me in the gym, but I just couldn't muster up the motivation.

Gabriel was in the gym, and he sparred with Malik and Matthew.  Malik was throwing hard but wild punches.  One of them caught Gabriel in the nose, and there was blood.  However, Malik was done after a couple of rounds. "Gabe is hard to hit; Gabe's a southpaw," I told him. "Watch me, and if you see my hands down, tell me to put them up.  I want to protect my nose," Gabriel said to me before getting in the ring with Matthew.  Matthew got some hard body shots in.  Gabriel was rolling away from a lot of the other punches that came his way.

Seth sparred with Bearded John (yes, there are two Johns in the gym as well as two guys named Matthew). I think one round was done.  Later, I showed Bearded John how to use the double end bag.

I slogged through shadow boxing, did one round on a heavy bag, and one round on the speed bag.  Usually, I take out my anger on the bags, but I was moving in slow motion.  After awhile, I just gave in to my depressed mood and I sat down for the last fifteen minutes or so of gym time.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rainy Day Punches

I remember my late mother, who was a casual boxing fan, saying of Ken Norton Sr., "Norton's an intelligent boxer."  She liked the way he carried himself in interviews.  Unfortunately, Mr. Norton is now the latest boxing legend who has passed on.  Norton was 70 years old.  Muhammad Ali suffered a broken jaw at the hands of Ken Norton during a fight they had back in 1973.  Ali lost to Norton in that bout.

The rain matched my sour mood earlier in the day. I'm not totally focused on the fight that I may have at the boxing show next week, and there are ongoing issues that need to be resolved with my former employer. Summer is not ending on a good note this year.

The crowd was a bit light:  Heather, Kyle, Malik, Matthew, Igor.  Ben With Glasses, who hadn't been in awhile, came in with a friend of his, Keith.  Alan encouraged the both of them to sign up if they wanted to continue on at the gym.

John brought in a double end bag, and when the evening was over, I put it in my locker for safekeeping.  It's good; after pumping air in it and hanging it up, it worked fine.  John held pads for Malik, who has some power in his hands.  Alan found out that Malik qualifies as a heavyweight.  Malik seems very interested in competing.  He was asking Alan a lot of questions about it.

I showed Heather how to throw uppercuts on the teardrop bag.  She wants to get in shape, but as for sparring and competing, that would be a no.  Outside of me, Heather's the only other woman in the gym this time around.

Mary asked me to sing the National Anthem at next week's boxing show.  I sure hope I'm in the mood to sing, because at the moment, I'm not.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Lack of Old Faces In Fall

In this photo, John gives a couple of the new people a lesson on the speed bag.  John is back in the gym after being gone for about a couple of years.  He's growing a beard and still trying to get used to it.  "I've never had a beard before!" he told me.

"Where are all the old faces?" John asked me.  Arnold came in to pick up a copy of my college transcript (there may be a job opening at his place of business), and Matthew came in.  Other than that, everyone else who was there was brand new.  It was, however, a good turnout for the first day of the fall session.

Malik talks with Alan.  I gave him a quick lesson on the speed bag, having him hit it lighter than he was.

Matt and Heather are a couple.  She jokingly told me they were using boxing as "couple's therapy".

John and I sparred lightly.  I had headgear on, but John didn't.  Alan told him to wear it the next time.  I tried the "work the body, then the head" routine with some success.  My heart wasn't totally in it, but I needed to move around.  There is a possibility that I might have a fight later this month at the Loyola Park boxing show, so I needed to get the practice in.

Phil and Orrest are also new.  I thought I heard Orrest (in the dark colored clothes) tell Alan that he wanted to spar.  "The first day here?" I thought to myself.  Some people come in eager to get started.

There were pieces of what looked like a ring out in the hallway.  Alan thought it might be a new ring to be installed in the boxing gym.  I hope so.  The current ring has seen better days, and the various patch jobs that have been done on it over the years aren't working well anymore.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wearing the Jacket At Eckhart Park

Tonight's Chicago Park District boxing show was held at Eckhart Park, over in the West Town neighborhood.   The matches were held outside in a ring that was set up in the back of the field house.  It had been humid most of the day, but by the time the fights began, the temperatures dipped down low.  Luckily, I had my Ringside sweat jacket with me.  I was shivering in the breeze.

Familiar faces included Sean and Kitchens, who were the referees.  Barry had several of his guys fighting from the youth program.  Gabriel and Professor had fights, but Professor fought for a different park.

As usual, most of the fights featured the kids and teenagers.  One of the fights ended in 20 seconds; unfortunately, one of the Loyola Park youths suffered a TKO at the hands of their opponent.  In fact, only one of Barry's fighters won a match.  There was some tough competition from Davis Square, Bessemer Park, and other parks.

I missed the first round of Professor's bout, but I saw the second half of the second round, and all of the third round.  The guy who fought Professor looked heavier.  Later, I learned that Professor came in at 165 pounds., but the other boxer was 175 pounds.  The two men were wrestling a lot during the last round. Professor didn't get the win, but it appears that the other boxer was open for a rematch in the future.

It was so cool outside that I debated whether or not to wear my corner man's jacket, but I decided to put it on right before Gabriel's fight.  Too bad I forgot to bring my camera or else I would have had someone take a photo of me with it on.  Alan had to borrow stuff like water bottles to use in the corner because he went straight to the boxing show from work and didn't have a chance to stop at home first.

While Gabriel fought, many in the audience urged him to use his height and his arm length to get the best of the guy he fought.  The other boxer waited on Gabriel to move so he could counter his punches which he did with accuracy.  Gabriel was waiting too long to throw punches.  Then the other guy would leap, catch Gabriel in the corners or on the ropes, and let his hands fly.  Gabriel's nose was bloodied up, and for a minute, it looked as if the judges might stop the fight.  But they let it go on.  Gabriel looked alive in the third round and got some shots in.  However, I knew the judges would look favorably on the other boxer's aggressiveness.  Gabriel lost the fight.

"I wasn't used to being pressured like that.  I need someone to pressure me like that during sparring," Gabriel said afterwards.  It was a learning experience for him.

The last fight of the night, the one after Gabriel's fight, ended in an abrupt fashion.  One of Barry's fighters was involved.  I heard someone comment that the match had become a street fight.  Barry's fighter had the other guy in a headlock, delivering multiple punches.  Kitchens was the referee, but a park district employee who was identified to me as being one of the heads of the park district's boxing programs, stepped in the ring and broke the boxers up.  Immediately afterwards, it was announced that the fight was stopped due to disqualification.  I had never seen that happen during all of the park district boxing matches that I've seen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fighting Through and With Moods

In the above photo, Matthew shadow boxes in the ring.  Matthew hadn't been in for awhile because he took a brief vacation.  He's planning to sign up for the fall session which begins on Monday.  Matthew might compete in Loyola Park's boxing show later this month, but it depends on how much training he gets in between now and then.

Alan asked me how I felt, and I replied there hadn't been much of a change in my emotions.  When I lost a job in 2008 due to being laid off, I expected that was going to happen due to financial issues the company I worked for was experiencing.  But losing a job this time had nothing to do with financial issues nor my work performance, but everything to do with a "scorched earth" agenda that's been in place for some time.  I was just the latest victim of that agenda.  Alan told me, "Hillari, I know it's hard, but you can't stay in this funk.  You've got to remain proactive and keep moving on."

Gabriel came in for a short while, but he didn't work out.  However, Gabriel wants to get a fight at Eckhart Park tomorrow.  Alan and I plan to be in his corner.  This time, I'll remember to wear the corner man's jacket that Amy brought as a gift for me.  I'm not going to bring my gear, because I've never seen any women trying to get fights at Eckhart, and I've never had a fight there.  Besides, I need to be mentally ready for a fight, and judging by my mood lately, I'm not ready to take on one tomorrow.

Alan said that Mary inquired as to how many people should be allowed to sign up for the gym.  Alan told her to take as many as will sign up.  "Unfortunately, after two weeks, a lot of people will drop out," Alan said, which is true.  I'm starting to get irritated when people don't even stick around long enough to learn how to do the workout and miss out on a great exercise routine.  People are told over and over that they are NOT required to spar, but some people get skittish and bail out anyway.

This photo was taken near the end of the evening.  I should be concerned about being barefoot on a wood floor due to the possibility of getting splinters, but I don't think about it much.  If my feet appear to have light patches it's because they do.  I wore sandals a lot over the summer, especially on very hot days like this one was, and I was always standing in the sun.  My feet became tanned in spots.

Tomorrow is yet another day of me with a lot of time on my hands to fill until the boxing show at Eckhart Park.  A friend who've I known since kindergarten told me she's always believed that I was very smart, and that things would work out okay in my situation.  But I often wonder why someone as smart as me keeps getting the short end of the stick in the workplace.  

Monday, September 09, 2013

Drama All Around

"It's hard to work off depression", Alan told me.  I showed up at the gym, but I wasn't completely into the workout.  Alan knew something was up when I turned down a chance to spar with Gabriel.

Things really went south at the end of last week.  I spent a lot of time on the computer today looking for a new job.  I contacted Arnold, who hasn't been in the gym for awhile.  Arnold runs a preschool.  Several months ago, he told me I'd probably be a good candidate for a job there.  Several other people have told me they would be on the lookout for positions they may come across as well, so something may happen for me in the near future.  But the battles at work put a damper on the boxing workout.  I was angry that I allowed myself to be sidetracked at the gym by that.

On my way to the gym, I saw John, who was working out in the park.  He's already signed up for the fall session.  John didn't know that the gym was open, even though it's in-between sessions.  "I wish I had known that!  I would have been in there today," John told me.

Outside of Alan and myself, only Gabriel, Professor, and Colonel came in.  All day long I had the radio on, and I kept hearing reports that the temperatures were in the 90s.  I was comfortable in my apartment.  But then I came outside, and I found out quickly that the weather reports weren't joking.  When the temperatures go up, people tend to stay away from working out inside.  "It doesn't bother me," Gabriel said.  "Me, neither.  I just deal with the heat," I replied.

Professor and Gabriel sparred, and Professor got some good shots in.

Professor's been putting up a lot of videos on Facebook of himself working out hard.  He's really getting into shape for upcoming fights.

Gabriel told me that someone stole a pair of gloves from him right out of his garage.  His brother Sebastian had locked his bike outside of a Metra station, and that was stolen.  Colonel told me he nearly had to break off a cab driver for doing something out of pocket.  Seems like everybody is going through some sort of drama.  It must be something in the air.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Some Sunday Boxing Thoughts

There have always been reports about fighters ducking and dodging opponents.  When Laila Ali was still competing, she was often accused of avoiding certain boxers like Lucia Rijker, Christy Martin, and Ann Wolfe.  Ali did fight Martin.  I remember a press conference where Martin got up in Ali's face, and Ali referred to her as "little mama" and asked what did Martin think she was going to do to her.

I also remember watching an interview with Lucia Rijker where she was showed some fight footage of Ali.  Rijker was asked something about if she saw some skills in Ali.  "I see nothing in her style," Rijker quickly replied.  I would have loved to see that fight, but unfortunately, it never took place.

That would have been a heck of a fight if Ali and Ann Wolfe ever had stepped into the ring.  Personally, I would have had second, third, and forth thoughts about taking a bout with Wolfe.  It's been reported that Wolfe was so rough that she was knocking out men during sparring.  Alas, both Ali and Wolfe are now retired, so that's another fight that will never be seen.

Speaking of missed fight opportunities, the hype around the upcoming Mayweather and Alvarez match seems to be muting any more talk about a battle between Mayweather and Pacquiao.  I was watching an episode of Showtime's "All Access" on the internet earlier.  As usual, Mayweather was arrogant.  Alvarez was shown as a young, hungry fighter with focus.  Very little footage of Mayweather training was shown, but viewers were there were scenes of women hanging around "Money", who each had some job they were doing in his camp.  "We tend to hire attractive people because they make things happen," Mayweather explained as I rolled my eyes.

I don't think it's going to be business as usual for Mayweather.  I hope it's not.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A Relaxing Night

The gym was closed on Labor Day.  Today was Rosh Hashanah, so I ran the gym in Alan's place.  The crowd was small, only Colonel, Gabriel, and Igor.  Igor revealed that he had an operation, which explained his recent absence from the gym.  "I like when there's not a lot of people in here.  It's relaxing," Colonel said.

I was dragging on the way down to the gym.  The holiday weekend wasn't one of the best that I'd had.  The bright spot was me house sitting for a dear couple who had gone out of town. It was nice to get out of my apartment for awhile, and see some cable TV, since I currently don't have that service at my place.
The couple also has the most content cat that I've ever been around, and the cat had a calming effect on me.  I needed that to counteract other problems I experienced over the weekend.  I wasn't feeling well most of the day on Sunday, and part of Monday as well.  I haven't had much of an appetite lately; maybe that contributed to it.  Also, I learned that a friend has stage four cancer, realized that I missed my half-sister's birthday by several days (not the one who lives here, but the one who lives out of state), and I had to drop kick several individuals from my friends list on Facebook.  Yeah, the weekend could have been a lot better.

As usual, Igor didn't stay the entire session.  Forty-five minutes and Igor was out.

Colonel had Gabriel cracking up with tales of his exploits.  Gabriel said that Colonel was "the most gangsta person" that he knows.  I had to agree.  Colonel does have some wild stories, and I believe all of them are true.  He told us that he joined the military when he was 24 years old.  "I was the old man among everyone else.  People would call me Pops.  I had graduated college, and I had been to several countries by that time.  I had more combat experience than the officers over me," he smiled.

Gabriel was asking me about upcoming fights.  He's back in school now, plus working during the day, so it's probably going to be a matter of juggling time in order to be able to participate in matches.

Colonel noticed that I was bit slow on the speed bag.  "Usually, you make that bag sing!" he grinned.  I was pushing myself to do the workout.  A combination of me feeling run down and me being distracted by numerous other issues made it hard for me to focus.  Jilberto, who opened the gym door, asked me if I was ready to take a fight during Loyola Park's boxing show later this month.  I want to fight, but at this point, I'm not so sure that I'm up for it.  Several people have been telling me that it looks like I've lost some weight, so that's a positive in my favor.

Professor sent me a message earlier in the day saying that he was told that people who take boxing classes via the park district can't have gym privileges at other park district boxing gyms.  This is different from what was told the park district coaches about two years ago.  Sigh. . .that may knock out long-held plans I've had to get some sparring in up at Hamlin Park.  I'm going to have to look into the private boxing gyms in the area to see what their day pass rates are especially on the weekends.

While At The Doctor's Office

I often joke about how my health was very good up until I turned 40 years old.  For the next several years, every time I went for checkups, doctors would discover I had inherited something else from my family's medical history.  After awhile, I dreaded going for checkups because I was always steeling myself for more bad news.

It's tempting to tell doctors, "I'm fine" to avoid being prescribed more medicine, to avoid being told to make diet and exercise changes, and to just the get the heck out of the doctor's office because the wait was too long to see them in the first place.  But people should never hold back on telling medical personnel about health concerns.  This is even more true if patients are actively participating in sports.

Boxing is a tough sport that the whole body is engaged in.  Whether having a regular checkup or going to the hospital to have an injury looked at, here are some general tips:

1) Tell the doctor the truth.  The doctor may not figure out right away that a patient is boxing, but ones who have been practicing for a long time are going to figure out quickly that some bruises and bumps aren't the result of accidentally walking into a wall.  There's a possibility that the doctor will suggest that the patient stop boxing and take up another sport.  There's also a possibility that depending on what is found during the exam, the boxer will have to seriously take that advice.  Boxing is great, but one's health is more important.

2) Please see a doctor after any knockout.  Concussions are no joke.  The USA Boxing rule book states that no one should take a fight or even spar for 30 days after being rocked like that, so it's a serious matter.

3)  Lights flashing in the eyes means run, don't walk, to the eye doctor.  That situation happened to me, and luckily, I learned that I did not have a detached retina.  The lights went away, and I was told that my eyes were experiencing normal aging.  It was a relief to know that I would not have to go through laser surgery to repair my right eye, nor be faced with the possibility of losing sight in that eye.

4)  Find out what effect, if any, will existing health conditions will have on boxing.  Once again, I offer myself up as an example.  I have to take care of cuts with a quickness.  I'm diabetic, and cuts do not heal as fast as they used to do.  It's also a good idea for me to keep glucose tablets in my locker, just in case my blood sugar drops.  Please get the facts about effects of medicines, what to do in case warning signs occur during workouts, making adjustments in the workout routine, etc.

5)  Protect the teeth.  I was not happy, when I had to miss my aunts' good Thanksgiving cooking last year because a back tooth broke in half that morning.  I had taken a hit to my jaw during sparring a few days before.  That could have hastened the break.  It also could have been the result of me not having been to see a dentist in a long, long time, and not catching that something was wrong a long time ago with that tooth.  Who knows?  I used to never have a problem with going to the dentist, but now I do.  Some people have been nervous about seeing a dentist from day one.  But that exam has to be done because if teeth and gums aren't taken care of, that can affect overall health.  Fortunately, there are dentists these days who know how to deal with anxious patients.

6) Chiropractors are beautiful.  Currently, I can't afford to see the one I used to have, but being put in alignment cannot be beat.  Initially, I went to see them because of a couple of incidents that did a number on my back.  I would feel excellent all over after every appointment.  Having an alignment does the whole body good.

Have any tips regarding how to take care of health while boxing?  Feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Who To Know

A boxer is alone once they step into the ring with someone, but that doesn't necessarily mean that boxers don't have teams.  There are people that it would help boxers to have both in and out of the corner whether as friends or acquaintances. Some examples are:

1) Doctors - Of course, everyone should have regular general practitioners, optometrists, etc., that they see (although I know from experience that it's tough to do this without health insurance and/or money).  It would be helpful to have a doctor who understands sports injuries and who won't raise their eyebrows when they hear about anyone who is involved in boxing.

2) Police officers - Some may wonder why.  I'm the daughter of a former state cop, and I get it.  A lot of people don't want cops around even if they are doing their job.  But consider this:  there are a lot of cops who box, so they know what that life is like.  Contrary to what some lawyers believe, cops know the law, also.  Boxing and most other defensive arts can be useful for getting out of potentially dangerous situations on the street.  However, there are boxers who are doing community service, or worse yet, doing time, because of not knowing when to back off and pick battles properly.  A police officer can give some insight on what is legal to do.

3) Pharmacists -- I'm not necessarily talking about the ones who work for the major drug store chains.  There are plenty of independent pharmacies that still exist.  The smaller places offer great customer service, and the staff can probably give better suggestions on what gauze, bandages, ointment, etc. will work the best, not just the name brand items.

4) Massage therapists --  A good rub down is always helpful for sore muscles.  Seek out those who are just starting out or offer their services on a sliding scale to perhaps get discounts.

5)  Clerks in sporting good stores that sell boxing equipment -- They can let you know about new products and discounts on current ones.

6) Gym owners --  It's good to get out of one's own gym and get sparring and training in elsewhere from time to time. The owners may let people they know get in a work out once in awhile for free, or for at least a good discount. They're also a good source of knowledge about upcoming bouts.

7) Religious leaders -- Depending on how a pastor, rabbi, etc., feels about fighting sports, it's nice to have someone who will offer up extra prayers on a boxer's behalf as they go into matches.

8) Professional boxers -- Very few are going to get that close to someone like Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto, and the like.  But journeymen boxers are the ones who are most likely going to be seen hanging out at amateur shows and tournaments.  Unlike some famous actors, singers, and musicians, journeymen are mostly accessible and they are friendly.  Ask them a question or for a picture, and most are happy to oblige.  And who knows?  The journeyman (or woman) whom you become acquainted with may be tomorrow's million dollar champion.

9) Personal trainers --  Even if there's no funds to see them on a regular basis, it won't hurt to ask about different exercise techniques or nutrition when you see them.  Some love to give that information out in regular conversation, so just listen and take notes.

If you have suggestions on other people whom boxers should know, I'd love to read about it.  Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Never Saw It Coming

Well, it appears that I have some new fans peeping on my boxing blog, and they are from the church where I work and worship! How cute is that? Welcome, folks!  You know exactly who you are, so I won't name names.  But stay tuned to this space twice -- and sometimes three times weekly -- because they'll be plenty for y'all to read and discuss.  Don't forget to leave me comments, will ya?  Thank you kindly!

I was catching up on going through The Ring magazine over this Labor Day weekend. I was reading an article where a boxer was describing a bout.  "I was hit with a punch that I didn't see until it was being pulled back from me," the boxer said.  That has happened to me on more than one occasion.  Trust me, it's an odd feeling.  When that happens, I'm always thinking, "Okay, I know I was hit.  But when?"  It happens so fast.

This is yet another reason why people have to be focused when inside the ring.  One moment of daydreaming could mean being laid out and carried out.  Even if a knockout does not take place, taking a punch out of seemingly nowhere could seriously throw off a boxer's game plan for the rest of the match. Can't assume, "Oh, that was just a lucky shot," because the other person may just have fast hands.

I believe that this is also why a lot of coaches and trainers yell from ringside, "Be first!" in terms of throwing punches.  Yes, it is important to try and gauge what the other person will do.  However, in the world of amateur boxing, there's often no video to be had on another boxer before a fight.  Sometimes, something may be found on the Internet somewhere, but we can't bet on that.  When I fought Meg the firefighter the first time, the only footage I found was of one of her colleagues holding the punch mitts for her at the fire station.  Also, most amateur fights consists of short rounds.  None of that luxury in the gym of having three minute rounds to get to know a sparring partner's ways.

Gotta move often and quickly to avoid fast hands.  Gotta watch out for incoming punches.  Gotta cover up against fast hands.  Hmm. . . .sounds like what sometimes we all have to do figuratively in life as well.