The kind of man boxing relies upon

01.06.05 - By James Allan: There can be no argument that in boxing, the attention given to it focuses almost entirely on the top men in each division. The average fan is in the main, interested in who the best fighters will be facing next or who their potential opponents are likely to be further down the line. In fairness, this is the way that it should be.. No boxer gets to the top of his chosen profession without having the kind of talent and willpower that most ordinary people can only dream about. To make it to the top in boxing requires an incredible amount of hard work and dedication that is almost beyond belief.

When a fighter has, after years of hard work and a bit of good fortune, (and in boxing as in any walk of life you always need a little bit of luck) finally reached the pinnacle of his career, it is not without justice that they can enjoy the fame and the privileges that come with success. But in focusing almost exclusively on the elite fighters, we run the risk of overlooking the less well known, less talented and sometimes the less fortunate fighters that make up such a vital part of the sport.

There are the guys who show up on two days notice or less to fill in for another fighter on the under card of a local show. There are the fighters who have had over fifty or sixty fights, losing 80% of them but who give the young fighters coming through someone to learn on, offering them a new and different set of problems that have to be solved in order for them to win and progress.

And there are the fighters who are too good to languish in the lower echelons of the game but who are not quite good enough to make it at the higher levels. They are the fighters who never know when to quit, who you either have to knock out or dig deep into yourself to come out with a points win against. For me the very embodiment of this kind of fighter is a man called Alan Bosworth.

Now to the vast majority of fans, the name of Alan Bosworth won’t be recognisable, but a quick look at his record will yield plenty of names that are recognised. Included in it are Eamonn Magee, Junior Witter, Shea Neary and Alan Vester. At domestic level, he has also fought some good fighters; Francis Barrett and Colin Dunne are just two who come to mind. While it is true that Bosworth has lost all of these fights, he has always been able to leave the ring with his head held high.

He is always in good shape and he always comes to fight. While his lack of ring craft has probably stopped him from enjoying the kind of success that his heart and courage deserve, it also means that he is rarely in a bad fight. I have had the good fortune to see his last three fights on television, and each of them was, in its own way, a little classic.

To watch him with his shaven head, and slightly hooked nose and with his chin thrust forward, gamely taking everything his opponent can throw at him while still trying to throw his own shots is a great sight and embodies everything that the fans love about the sport. A never say die attitude and a determination to ensure that his opponent will have to work and work hard for their victory. While Bosworth has never and will never reach the top levels of international or even domestic competition he is the kind of test that any fighters with serious ambitions have to pass.

If your will is lacking or your chin is a little bit too soft, Bosworth will find out. He is in every true sense of the word a warrior and a credit to professional boxing. He is now 37 years of age and you have to wonder how long he can go on for. He has been ko’ed on more than one occasion and as previously mentioned his last three fights were tough affairs, the kind of matches that can end a fighters’ career. A boxer can only have so many hard fights before they catch up with him.

It would be sad to see a guy as brave as Bosworth going on too long and perhaps exposing himself to permanent injury. Boxing is a tough sport, especially on older fighters and no respecter of heart and courage. In fact sometimes too much heart and courage can be a boxer’s worst enemy. Alan Bosworth has achieved probably as much as he is ever likely to achieve in the game.

No matter whether he decides either to retire or to continue fighting, the greatest compliment that can be paid to him is that it is upon him, and all the other fighters like him, plying their trade in whatever country they may come from, that boxing owes a debt of gratitude to and as the title to this article implies, he and they are the kind of men upon whom boxing relies.

Article posted on 01.06.2005

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