Danny OíConnor: ďIím down right now but Iím not outĒ

by Geoffrey Ciani - Junior welterweight prospect Danny OíConnor (14-1, 3 KOs) out of Framingham, Massachusetts recently suffered the first defeat of his professional career against undefeated Gabriel Bracero (15-0, 1 KO) two weeks ago. I was recently afforded the opportunity to have a nice chat with the 26 year old pugilist where he talked about the loss and discussed his future in boxing. Here is what he had to say:

GEOFFREY CIANI: Danny you lost the first fight of your professional career against Gabriel Bracero. Can you take us through that fight and tell us what happened?

DANNY OíCONNOR: Well I think there was a lot of behind the scenes stuff that was happening and just being at home watching it on TV you wouldnít have realized. About ten minutes before it was time for me to go on to fight I started spitting up blood in the locker room. I think at that point it really got to me. I didnít have any idea what was happening or why it was happening. My stomach was really upset. I just wasnít me during the fight. In between rounds when I was drinking water in the corner it made me feel like I was going to throw up. After the fight I was still spitting up blood.

I ended up going to the emergency room. They told me that my enzymes in my liver were really high and obviously something was wrong with my stomach because I was throwing up blood. I came home and traveled on Saturday and wound up having to go back in the emergency room on Sunday. They did an exam, a rectal exam, and found blood in my stool as well. So from there I had to go to a specialist, a doctor in Boston where I live to get checked out by him. So I had all sorts of tests done by him. I didnít have an ulcer. Whatever type of irritation was in my stomach, I got some medication. It lasted me for two weeks and they also had a bunch of blood tests that came back and for some reason at the moment Iím anemic, which I donít know why. I have to go get a bunch more tests done in three weeks and make sure my blood goes back to normal because if it doesnít I guess itís a real problem.

During the fight I broke my nose. So I had to go to a nose doctor and Iím going to need to get some surgery. I guess there must have been some previous damage on my nose too because the way the cartilage healed from being injured before, it healed so that I donít have any air coming out of my right nostril. So my option is either get surgery or not breath out of my nose ever again. Itís been a pretty tough week.

I donít want to take anything away from Bracero. I think he trained hard. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. He was a gentleman inside the ring, outside the ring, and after the fight. The next day he was nothing but respectful. It just came down to it was his night. It just wasnít my night. Itís tough when you train for every possible situation. You train for everything and the only thing you really canít train for is injury because itís out of your control. There is really nothing you can do about it. I donít know. It was just a horrible bug I guess that happened on one of the biggest days of my life but what can you do.

CIANI: Now Danny, do you wish in retrospect maybe that you had postponed or called it off at the last minute given that you werenít feeling 100%?

OíCONNOR: Yeah, I mean when I first saw the blood, I donít know. I donít like to play the what-if game. Honestly when youíre in the heat of the moment people make decisions and most of the time theyíre not really thought through and there is just so much commotion. When I spit up the blood I thought there might be something seriously wrong. Sh*t! I honestly thought maybe my life could be at stake if I did fight, but I also thought about my family and I knew that we were having a baby and I knew that I needed the paycheck. So yeah, the smart thing would have been to postpone it and not go out there, but I have a fighterís mentality and Iím always going to fight until someone tells me itís over. Itís tough.

CIANI: So what would you say is the most important thing youíve learned to take out of this experience?

OíCONNOR: To take out of this experience, I had forgotten what losing felt like honestly. I hadnít lost in a long time and losing brings so many different emotions and so many different thoughts that come into your mind after a loss. Iíll be honest man I was devastated. I really have been the last week. Itís really tough. You start to second guess yourself and you really start to think over everything and wonder if you had done this or if this didnít happen or anything. Really the biggest thing is you just need to understand that in my situation that wasnít me in the ring that night. I had something else going on. Iím not here to make excuses. Iím really not. I donít want to make any excuses. Iím just a normal guy like anyone else. Iím just a normal guy trying to do something special and with boxing I think I can do something special. I got a new baby and a beautiful wife and Iím just a regular guy trying to support my family. I think from this loss the biggest thing that Iíve learned is that you canít take stuff for granted. In a matter of thirty minutes my whole life was switched upside down. You canít take stuff for granted. When an opportunity comes to the door and comes knocking you have to do everything in your power to take it.

I canít forget the loss. It needs to motivate me and keep me going forward in a positive way, but I canít let it define me either. I canít be stuck on this loss. I just need to understand that it wasnít my night and I need to move on and I need to get back into the gym. Iím blessed to have people around me like for the last week my manager, and some close friends who have been childhood friends, and my wife. If it wasnít for them I probably would have lost it. They kept by my side, even when I wasnít responding back to them with calls. They kept texting and kept writing and the outpouring of support that Iíve gotten from people on Facebook and MySpace and everything just to keep my head up, itís just really great to see the type of support that I have. So I just need to keep moving forward and put this behind me.

CIANI: So when can we expect to see you back in action?

OíCONNOR: Well the biggest thing is my health. It really is. Itís kind of frustrating and a little worrisome whenever it comes to having problems with your health, especially when itís not something where you can be like okay this is wrong and this is what you do to fix it. When itís something where you donít really know whatís going on it gets kind of worrisome. So the first thing I have to do is worry about my health and I just need to continue to do my checkups and check in with the doctor to make sure physically Iím capable of performing at the level I need to, because I donít need any repeats of what happened that night. So as soon as I can figure that out and I can be healthy, boxing is my life. I put everything into it and not being in the gym is just as hard as losing. Thatís what I do. I love to train. I love to fight. Now I just feel restless. I just walk around the house. I need to be back in the gym. Thatís who I am. Thatís what I do. So as soon as I can.

CIANI: Now when you look at the 140 pound weight class itís filled with big name talent right now. There is a lot of good competition in the division. What do you think you will need to accomplish in order to get your name up there into the mix with that big crop of good fighters up at the top at 140?

OíCONNOR: I mean I just need to start opening some eyes and winning some fights. I mean whatís the worst thing that can happen? I can lose? Thatís already happened. Iíve already tasted loss. Iíve already flawed my record, so now itís like itís all or nothing. I just got to keep working hard, keep winning, and just keep getting my name up there. God willing hopefully this is just a bump in the road. If being world champ was easy then everyone would be a world champion. So there has got to be some things in life that are definitely harder than others but it will be that much sweeter when I achieve the goals that I set out to do.

I can remember I fought on an undercard with Paul Malignaggi. I never understood what he meant but when we were weighting in he was telling someone, ďWhen you win everybody wins, but when you lose you lose aloneĒ. I never really understood what it meant because I hadnít lost. Now Iím kind of understanding more about what he meant by that. The main thing is I just have to put this behind me and I just have to move on and I have to keep getting better every day.

CIANI: Looking at your short term goals, where would you like to be one year from now?

OíCONNOR: I would definitely like to be 100% healthy. I would like to be on the top of my game. Iíd like to be up there as a contender, if not already a champion. You know I have the same goals that everyone does when they put on a pair of gloves. I want to be a world champ and I want to take all the steps I that I need to do to make that happen.

CIANI: Alright Danny, for my final question, is there anything else you want to say to all your fans out there and the readers of East Side Boxing?

OíCONNOR: I really just want to thank everybody that supported me. You know this is definitely a tough time, but like I said if being a world champ was easy everyone would do it. Just understand that Iím down right now but Iím not out and when I comeback itís going to be a new me! Iím going to be 100% healthy. And for the people that donít support me, thatís alright, too. I love you guys. Just when I come back everyone will know it.

CIANI: Great Danny! Thank you very much for your time and I wish you the best of luck going forward.

OíCONNOR: Thank you very much.



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Article posted on 22.04.2011

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