While having been brought up in a fight game active family, the massive respect I have for the MEN that enter the ring, on any level, comes only natural. To see how easily some fans blast proven fighters to the point of labeling them “cowards” only shows the little ring or in-deft boxing experience they actually have, if any at all. Fighters know THEMSELVES pretty well. It’s way past hypocritical when those that once praised his ‘Blood n’ Guts’ bravado in the past suddenly turn around and refer to him a ‘coward’ when he admits he’s ‘finished’ for the night and decides to fight another day.
A “coward”? It was probably the wisest decision the fighter or his corner made if we consider his health, family and future after his ring days are over. Hundreds fighters we’ve all admired, the kind that sometimes had to be saved from themselves, have passed away in conditions that would make the most hardened hearts cry. Many more barely exist in nursing homes, shelters, asylums… nobody visits nor offers them any help. Continue reading
The year was 1960, my desperate trainer uncle entered our 3rd floor South Bronx apartment without bothering to knock. With him was his Lightweight prospect, Pablo Lopez, then undefeated in 8 fights. They had to be at Madison Square Garden in less than two hours for the noon weigh-in, Pablo was scheduled to fight on the undercard that night. BUT… there was one problem, Pablo had suffered a slight cut on his right eyebrow earlier in the week, bad enough to cause a cancellation. My uncle pointed to the cut, Mom looked it over, placed a chair close to the window and said, “Sit down”. My older brother and I watched as my mother pulled out her “cut kit”, mix shades makeup and “go to work”. I had heard stories about Mom working “wonders” on black eyes, shiners and nicks in the past. I was hypnotized. And then she performed an unforgettable “magical” trick. She cut hairs from MY UNCLE’S bushy eyebrows and masterfully glued/pasted them to Pablo’s brow, completely covering any evidence of a cut!! The fighter thanked my Mom and said, “Ï owe you, Eva”, and as they headed out my brother asked my uncle, “Why don’t you just cancel the fight?” My uncle looked at him as if he was crazy and said, “Nobody pulls out of a fight in the Garden. Nobody!!” Well, Pablo lost a rather unpopular upset decision that night to journeyman Tommy Nethercott, whom he later defeated. But by not ‘pulling out’ out he earned another Garden opportunity, which he won. There would be more, SIX more to be exact. Continue reading