Fighting Through The Pain - No Broken Toe Excuses For These Guys!

by James Slater: All boxers are courageous. The very fact that they have the stuff needed to climb into the ring and fight proves as much, but sometimes a boxer has to show the kind of courage that is astonishing even for a prize fighter. But just recently, fans everywhere were aghast when then WBA heavyweight champ David Haye blamed a broken toe - his little toe - for his humbling loss to Wladimir Klitschko. Okay, maybe Haye only partially blamed the busted digit for his wide points loss, but the fact that “The Hayemaker” brought up the excuse at all did his reputation perhaps untold damage.

Haye should have had a look back at the guys featured in this article; true warriors who fought through severe, savage injuries to win. These guys, it must also be added, were paid a fraction of the money Haye picked up for his July 2011 efforts.

In this article, I list three amazing examples of fighters who suffered either broken bones, seriously compromised vision or other, normally fight-ending injuries, only for the warriors in question to somehow battle on and win/

1: Arthur Abraham W12 Edison Miranda - September, 2006.

The great Muhammad Ali is rightfully praised for the amazing heart he showed when hanging in there against Ken Norton despite having his jaw broken in the fight (some say the break came early, some say it happened late in the 1973 fight). But what about Armenian-born middleweight Arthur Abraham? Involved in one of the roughest middleweights battles in years when he fought the hard-hitting Colombian Edison Miranda in 2006, the German-based "King" suffered a badly broken jaw of his own - in the 4th-round.

His mouth hanging open in a grotesque and frightening manner and his wound spurting blood - the dark, black-looking kind - Abraham looked a beaten man. He wasn't. Though it's simply impossible to imagine the pain he was suffering, the then IBF 160-pound ruler would not accept defeat, and somehow fought on and won on points. Not only were Miranda's legal blows hurtful, Abraham also had to contend with "Pantera's" illegal weapon, namely his head. Butted, bleeding profusely and in pain and near exhaustion, the German hero showed us, in vivid fashion, how ultra-tough boxers can be.

In a rematch, two years later, Abraham crushed Miranda in just four-rounds.

2: Danny Williams TKO 6 Mark Potter - October 21st, 2000.

British heavyweight Danny Williams is a strange character indeed. Capable of appearing to almost capitulate in a fight he is a big favourite to win one night, and then shocking the odds with a bite-down display of raw courage in another, "The Brixton Bomber" never gives fans any clue as to which frame of mind he is in when in the ring. One night in 2000, however, showed us in stunning fashion how gutsy Danny can be when the mood does take him.

Fighting Mark Potter for the vacant British heavyweight title, Williams suffered the agony of a dislocated right shoulder in the 3rd-round. The shoulder was forced back into its socket, only to pop back out again in the 6th-round. Hanging loosely by his side and ineffective as a weapon, Danny's right arm looked as misshapen as Abraham's jaw did. But, instead of accepting a corner retirement or a TKO loss, Williams stunned the crowd and Potter by transferring all his punching power to his left side and putting his rival down with an uppercut to the chin. Potter beat the count, only to be put down twice more and subsequently TKO'd in that incredible sixth round. The fans in attendance were simply left open-mouthed.

Williams, in another far more famous display of guts, stopped Mike Tyson in the 4th-round of an equally exciting fight in 2004.

3: Kevin Kelley KO 8 Derrick Gainer - June 15th, 1996.

How terrifying must it be for a fighter to suffer a head-butt that slams one of his eyes completely shut? Kevin Kelley found out in his June, 1996 battle with fellow southpaw Derrick "Smoke" Gainer. Despite a relatively cautious start to the fight, Kelley and Gainer were soon unloading big shots in electrifying fashion. Early in the fight, Kelley scored first, sending Gainer down with a shot to the head in round three. Perhaps going for the finish in the 4th after having his man hurt, "The Flushing Flash" was caught himself and sent down by a cluster of punches. When he got up, his right eye was as tight as a ball, so completely had it been closed.

Screaming to the third man in the ring that he'd been thumbed, Kelley's claim appeared to be substantiated in the replay - Kelley almost seemed to go down by on his own accord, knowing he'd been fouled. Gainer's shots didn't appear to have hurt Kelley, but he had, in one way or another, closed his rival's eye. There looked no way back for Kelley, but he would in no way think of quitting. Showing this in the 5th-round, Kelley brought the fans to their feet as he smashed Gainer to the mat with the same weapon he'd decked his man with in he 3rd - his over-hand left to the head. Could Kelley win the fight, his horrific injury or no?

Gainer got up and fought back well, out-boxing a more and more desperate Kelley in rounds 6 and 7. Looking somewhat pitiful, Kelley then amazed all those people who were privileged to have been at the fight in the 8th-round. Getting in close, his only chance considering his lack of vision down one side, Kelley again unleashed his left hand to the jaw. This time, Gainer crashed flat onto his back and was out, out, out! How on earth had Kelley done it? With sheer guts and a refusal to give in, that's how. Just like the other two guys I've written about in this article.

Kelley and Gainer would meet again two years later, with "Smoke" Winning on points.

The three fights listed here, aside from being three of my personal favourites, provide evidence of the special kind of people pro boxers are. Sometimes, as will happen again in the future, prize fighters have to go way beyond the call of duty. Could David Haye have done this at a time when it mattered so much? We will never know.

Article posted on 07.08.2011

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