Saturday, March 22, 2014

Weekend Championship Training

Alan opened up the gym this afternoon so Andres could get some extra training in.  Andres got there about ten minutes after Alan and I arrived, wiping his eyes.  "Sounded like you had just woke up when I called," Alan said.  "Yeah. . .I went out last night and didn't get home until 3:00 AM.  I woke up at 11:00 AM and set the alarm to go off a little later, but I still got up late," Andres said, sounding groggy.

Andres tried out two jump ropes, but neither of them were long enough.  "We've got to buy some new ones in here," I commented.  Andres used a rope that Alan had, and that worked.  After the brief warm up, Alan and Andres sparred for a few rounds.  I stood on the apron, ready with the bucket and water.  "Remember, I'm not 280 pounds," Alan joked to Andres as he stepped through the ropes.

Alan attempted to throw an overhand right on Andres during the second round, but the coach stumbled when the punch didn't reach the target.  Andres had stepped back because he saw it coming.  Alan was able to reach Andres with some well-placed jabs to the face, and Andres returned a few of his own.  The two men became tangled up a few times, but I didn't have to call "Break!" because they either shoved or punched their way out of it.

When sparring was over, Alan held the punch shield for Andres.  I went down the hall to fill up one of the water bottles.  A guy at the front desk saw me and said, "I didn't know boxing was on Saturday."  I explained why the coach had opened the gym.  The guy asked Andres' name, and then asked, "Is he good?"  We walked down the hall to the gym so the guy could see for himself.  Turns out that he knows a kid who trained in the Chicago Park District as an amateur who is now a professional fighter.  The guy also had pictures on his phone of J.J., taken at one of the last fights J.J. won at the UIC Pavillion.  Alan joked that the guy was going to be Andres' next sparring partner.  "Where's your gear?" Alan asked him.

Andres and I did a couple of burn outs on the "Roger" bag.  Alan reminded Andres to back up off of the bag to give himself room to punch.  "Hillari, don't you think that Andres' punches are harder when he's close up on the bag or a little distance from it?" Alan asked.  "The punches are harder when Andres is not as close to the bag," I answered.  I could feel those punches as I held the bag as Andres lit into it.

Someone at the Chicago Golden Gloves told Andres that his opponent at the finals, a guy named Rodriguez I believe, has had nine fights in another state.  "What difference does that make?  The other guy has two arms and two legs like you do.  The guy that wins the fight is the one who's going to have the more 'oomph'," Alan told Andres.  "Also, you have to consider whether or not what they told you was true," I added.  People say all kinds of stuff to mess with fighters' heads before a fight.  Most times it's best to let things go into one ear and out the other.

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