I Love Boxing!
by Coach Tim Walker - I love boxing! Later this week I will be blessed with the opportunity to go to a fight card in Fort Walton Beach, FL at the Emerald Coast Conference Center promoted by John Piper and Chase Massingill. I had hoped to take an early peak at Ibahiem King who recently upset Ashandi Gibbs but he's no longer on the card. I attend as many small to mid size boxing cards as possible. Sometimes driving up to 150 miles. On cards of this size there are usually no big name fighters but for a guy like me who loves boxing there couldn't be anything better.
Article posted on 16.03.2010
Most fans of the sport are casual and that's okay.. That type of fan, and yes we love and appreciate them enormously, mostly show up when the big names face off. When the Pacquaio's of the world face the likes of Clottey, or when the Mayweather's of the world lock horns with the Mosley's. In actuality we absolutely need those fans to support the sport but this piece isn't about the casual fan. This piece is about those individuals with bona fide affinities towards boxing. The type of fan who will sit in smaller venues watching debuting and journey-man fighters over a cold drink and a bag of nuts. To that guy whether a guy's record is 10-2 or 2-10 matters little. It's the sport he craves.
One of the best fights I have ever seen was a 2006 matchup between Vinnie Pezzullo and Jean Petit Homme in Daytona at the Jackie Robinson Ballpark. At the time Vinnie was 3-1, hasn't fought since, and Jean was 1-4-1. Jean's current record is 5-18-4. What could possibly be so stimulating about a 3-1 guy taking on a 1-4-1 guy? The cardinal rule of boxing is "styles make fights" and if you understand this concept then you know it really doesn't matter how good or bad a fighter's record is. It's all about the opponent standing in front of him. This fight was punch after punch, excitement after excitement. Total give and take for every round. In the end Vinnie won, probably as anticipated, but the fight had me on my seat in awe. The fight didn't make it to Good Morning America or even tip a back storyline of USA Today but it was seared into my mind where it will live for the rest of my days. Someday I'll tell my son how I saw Vinnie win at the Jack. He may not know who I am talking about but I'll tell him anyway.
Then there are guys like Jose Angel Roman. His record is 11-25-5 and there's a better than strong possibility he'll never be a world champion or anything beyond the opponent level. He will probably never make more than a few hundred dollars in this sport. So why keep on fighting when it's obvious that he has reached the upper limit of his boxing ability? If you don't know the answer to that question then you are hard pressed to call yourself a boxing fan.
In boxing there can be extreme amounts of fanfare at the top of the pyramid. VIP treatment, interviews, being recognized nearly everywhere you go. But boxing, at its core, doesn't really come down to that. Sure many fighters get into the sport because it presents excellent potential financial opportunities. The chance to provide greatly for your family. But again, there are fighters like Roman who will never see that prosperity side of the mountain yet he keeps fighting.
Take away the cameras, the fancy ring clothing, the lurking media, the over the top contract negotiations, the hangers-on and all of the fluff. Narrow the sport down to the two men standing in the ring and the guy that says "Break!" Pay attention to that setting then you will come to understand what boxing is truly about. It is inherently about the challenge of putting your best against another man's best. Fighters that get into the sport for that reason have a true joy of the fight. That is why I love this sport. That's why I'm proud to be a part of boxing.
Coach Tim Walker is a contributing writer for Eastsideboxing.com and his own personal blog at boxing4life.blogspot.com welcomes comments. To suggest fighters for Monthly Stud and The Project please email firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome questions or comments.
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