A Fighter’s Insecurities

January 25, 2012

Very strange things happen in a boxing gym; peculiar things that a person who has never been inside one would have a hard time believing. Like what occurred yesterday for example. I was moving around the heavy bag feeling real good. Working on my combinations while trying to adjust to having a new trainer when this very regal looking elderly gentlemen approached me. I saw him looking at me throwing my shots and I thought wow old dude must be really impressed. So I started throwing crisper more accurate blows.

 

So the guy, who obviously used to be a fighter, says to me; “Hey man, what are you about 140 pounds?” I smile and say yeah I’m about that. Then he shook his head in disapproval and said; “You need to get down to around 135,” and walked off.

 

That old son of a bitch! How dare he call me a fat ass. I spent the whole rest of my workout disappointed for eating one too many Oreo cookies the night before. I hate Oreos by the way. Every time I eat one it goes straight to my hips. And thus the great hidden secret of the boxing world is revealed. Boxing for all its hyper-masculine images of Mike Tyson knocking people through the ropes, Hagler and Hearns trying to kill each other, and Rocky Balboa drinking raw eggs at 5:00 in the morning, is the most effeminate sport in the world.

 

Men judge other men’s bodies constantly at the gym. Patrons say things like; “Damn you hella fat. How much you weighing now?” or “Damn you looking good. Do you have a fight coming up?” Sometimes I swear I’m in a girl’s locker room or a gay bar in The Castro district….Er erm, not that I’ve ever been inside either of those places I’m just trying to make a point. When people think about individuals that have poor self-images and low self-esteem they automatically conjure up a teenage girl starving herself to try to fit into a summer bikini but let me tell you, what a grown man puts himself through to make-weight for a boxing match is way worse. Let’s use this actual dialogue from my gym as an example;

 

“Damn how much you weigh now?”

“Shit I’m down to 150.”

“150! How you lose all that weight?”

“All I been eating is baby food and protein shakes.”

“Does it work?”

“Hell yeah look at me. I only got 9 more pounds to lose and I’ll be at my fighting weight.”

 

 

It’s an extreme problem. I find it to be very telling that a man is only allowed to be insecure in an institution where he is being trained in-depth on how to render another man unconscious. I also find it to be so ironic that a place can only be so macho until it begins to turn a little suspect. Like prison for example, the only place where societies toughest men can feel free to sleep with other men and not be judged harshly for it.

No but seriously I love boxing a lot. It’s just that I have a hard time getting used to hearing muscular men with tattoos talking to one another like a couple of women trying on clothes at the local department store. Before I started learning this craft I had no idea that fighters could be so insecure. So to all the boxers around the world I just want to remind you all to love yourselves. It’s OK to gain a few pounds here and there because your real beauty is on the inside. Be proud of who you are man. Be proud of what you look like.

LOL.

YB

 

 

Advertisements

The Plague of Quitting

October 25, 2011

I am fanatical about boxing. With that being said I am also a realist. Therefore I am fully aware that most Americans are unaware that the sport still exists, and probably about 25% of those who know wish that it didn’t. So it is for the oblivious masses of this country that I would like to briefly recount the latest fight that has made me sick to my stomach.

On October 15, 2011 a very decrepit 46-year-old fighter named Bernard Hopkins squared off against challenger and former undisputed champion Chad Dawson on pay-per-view. The fight started out very boring as the fighters felt each other out and made very little contact with one another. Then in the 2nd round controversy struck as Hopkins, who has been known to be a slightly dirty fighter, missed his opponent with a right hand and proceeded to climb onto his back. Dawson then lowered his shoulder which sent Hopkins falling to the canvass where he would remain for several minutes complaining of pain in his shoulder. The referee asked him could he go on and he said no. So the referee—well within his rights—ruled the fight a TKO victory for Dawson. Only to have that ruling overturned a few days ago by the WBC who decided to rule the fight a draw and allow Hopkins to keep his belt.

The truth is that Bernard Hopkins does not deserve to keep the belt and he needs to exercise his option of retiring from the sport immediately. In boxing you do not quit—period. If Hopkins corner wanted to throw in the towel then that would have been acceptable, if the referee would have stopped the fight then that would have been understandable, however, a fighter is never supposed to quit.

We all know that there is a serious economic crisis right now so how can Bernard Hopkins get paid $1,000,000 to behave like a coward. I hate to say it but boxing is not football where time stops because a man is injured, it’s not soccer where faking injuries are part of the game, and it’s not basketball where fouls are called every time players make serious contact with one another. On the contrary boxing is not merely a violent sport but rather boxing is violence. It is controlled, trained, beautiful, pure, violence. Furthermore boxing is combat and if you quit during combat then you are as good as dead.

In the past fighters have finished fights with broken arms, cut, bruised, blind, and out on their feet, but they finished. Nowadays fighters quit all the time and people condone it [see Devon Alexander vs. Timothy Bradley earlier this year]. Journalists condone it, ring analysts condone it and then they wonder why every fight fan under 25 would rather watch the UFC than suffer through a telecast of the ancient craft of boxing. I’m sure college students equate boxing with the medieval sports of fencing and jousting.  I’m sure they can’t name the heavyweight champion of the world, and I’m sure many of today’s young athletes can get a man in an armbar but can’t throw a basic jab. It shouldn’t shock anyone that the younger generation has quit on boxing because boxing quit on itself.

Bernard Hopkins is not a champion. He was at one point but now his career is over. Boxing needs to make some serious changes before the plague of quitting gets any worse.

-YB