If you have read My Story on Welcome to Fight-Times then you know that boxing is something that I wanted to do at 7 years old…. As life goes, I wasn’t allowed to at the time but at 23 years old my naval career landed me in Maryland and put in a position to look for a boxing gym. I walked into the office of a local gym in March of that year after being given a free workout and talked with the owner. He asked me what I thought and what I wanted to do, I told him I wanted to compete and it is something I wanted to do since I was a kid, he then told me the monthly fees and I said I will be back. To show how serious I was the next day I paid for 3 months of training in cash advance, to his shock he said I like this guy to those in the office, and I look forward to working with you.
The next few months I spent about 6 days a week for 2 hours training and getting into “Fighting” shape. At that time in my life I focused more on lifting and not much on running or calisthenic exercises, so I had muscles but not well conditioned for boxing. I lost about 15 pounds in the first 2 months of training. As I got in better shape and prepared enough I began sparring. After a couple of months of training my trainer told me there was an event coming up in September and that I could compete if I wanted, of course I did it is what I was waiting for….
Bout 1: Pace Yourself
Now that I had a date for my first competition I was more pumped for training. We didn’t do much training the day before the bout but an assistant trainer, a former pro, gave me some advice get some sleep and eat pasta and protein before the fight. That night before I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited and that afternoon I had so much energy that I ran 5 miles. After my run I had a pre fight meal of pasta with spaghetti sauce and 2 grilled chicken breasts.
Hours before the start of the event my trainers and teammates all met at the gym and carpooled to the venue. On the ride to the event I felt an inner joy like a kid on Christmas that my trainers and teammates noticed. We get to the venue and check in and go to the locker rooms for weigh-ins. At the weigh-ins I meet my opponent and I can tell he is nervous….at that moment part of me didn’t want to compete anymore because I was looking forward to being in the ring with someone that wanted to compete just as much as I did. I weighed in at 194; a weight that I hadn’t been at in 5 years since boot camp, I am 6’4 and weighed 212 pounds the first day of training. My opponent was about 5’10 and 190 pounds average build.
After weigh-ins my team and I head into the arena to our tables until it is time for one of us to compete. A couple of matches before my time my trainers and I head to the training rooms for warm ups. I was so excited the whole time leading up to the match that I got nervous walking to the ring…as I walked up the steps I looked down and what was only a few feet off the ground looked like miles and I almost tripped. The referee brought us to the center of the ring and I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and in my mind I said “Finally…” I will never forget that moment the smell of the ring and the vaseline on my face. When I looked at my opponent I could tell he was still nervous that I said to myself don’t run over this guy just have fun.
The bell rung and he rushed me with nervous energy and we exchanged a few punches then got tied up that referee had to break us up. When the referee stepped in and said stop I dropped my hands to my side and my opponent hit me in the face with the referee in between us, at that moment what I thought earlier went out of the window and I snapped and rage took over…when the referee said fight I hit him with a straight right hand to the center of his face and he went flying into the ropes and I went after him ferociously. As I chased him a look on his face said “Oh shit I’m in trouble” and tried to run… I ran him down and locked him a corner hitting him with many violent punches to his body and his head, I wanted to knock him out for the cheap shot I felt he took at me. He didn’t go down and my arms were getting tired from throwing so many punches. The second round was much like the first, him running and me trying to get a knockout. From all the chasing and punches in the first two rounds my legs and arms were dead; in the third round my hands were at my waist and all I could do was stand and defend myself… My opponent sensing that I was tired went on the attack and charged me with flurries of punches but I was able to keep him off with the reach of my jab. As I stood there tired looking at him I was mentally telling him Come On!
I won the match with a unanimous decision and was given a trophy and went back to my teams table with people congratulating me and a little kid said “dude you hit hard”. After the match as I sat there I felt a calmness and everything seemed quiet in the arena and my opponent approached me and I saw his face battered and couldn’t look at him because it felt like I had done something wrong losing control in the ring. It felt like I had taken out anger that I was holding in on him that he didn’t deserve. Boxing is about discipline and I had lost that discipline during the match.
The next day in training my trainer and I reviewed the match and he said good performance winning your first match then jokingly asked but what happened in that third round… I said I was tired I ran 5 miles that afternoon…looking surprised he said “uh huh” and told the other trainers what I had done….
My first fight experience taught me to pace myself during a match and not to lose control; like life. Don’t over pursue just cause your opponent is hurt or lose control trying to get what you want…
Another lesson learned don’t run 5 miles on days you have a fight, save your energy…