This is a long one. There's no show this week, so this would have been what I talked about during one of the segments.
This weekend, I went to a local boxing show that reminded me of all the good, bad and ugly things about the sport.
First the GOOD -- A guy I know made his pro debut. In fact, I sparred with him four years ago, when I was getting ready to spar with Kassim Ouma for an article. You can read it here. http://www.thesweetscience.com/boxing-article/1959/weekend-warrior-challenges-kassim-ouma/ (Sorry I can't link to it. Blogger doesn't support Mac).
Anyway, the boxer, Omar Brown, used to give me pointers in the gym all the time. Often, we were the only ones in the gym and though he was still learning, would teach me little things that he was working on.
One day, he asked me if I wanted to work. I was warned to be careful because sometimes these guys like to take advantage of a novice like me. I responded that I knew Omar would be cool. We went five rounds and the only time he took it to me was when I got tired. He'd make me fight him off. After I did, he'd back away and work on his defense again.
Omar disappeared a month or so later. I was told he had some personal problems to take care of. I didn't see him again until last summer. He said he was going back to the gym and was working toward his pro debut.
Saturday night, I was as pumped for his debut as I've been for anyone's fight in a while. I visited him in the dressing room and told him that after five rounds with me, what he was about to experience would be easy. He laughed heartily and agreed.
He was fighting Elliot Alvarado, a decent local fighter who was 3-0. Omar was clearly the opponent.
For four rounds, he outhustled and out punched Alvarado, knocking him down in the first. There were lots of things he did wrong, but the one thing he did right was that he wanted it more.
After he was announced the winner, he broke down and became emotional. Omar doesn't have management and will likely be an opponent during his career. But for at least one night, he knew that he had overcome some pretty difficult odds and obstacles. That all of his hard work in and out of the ring had paid off and he was a winner.
Those are the good lessons boxing teaches.
I also spoke with several boxers who were telling me various stories. What resonated with me was how many great experiences some of these guys had. We're talking with journeymen fighters who grew up or still live in the 'hood. Yet they've been to Finland, Russia, and various other countries. Places they likely would never have had the opportunity to see otherwise. Those kinds of experiences help people expand their horizons and grow as human beings.
Oh, the card was incredible -- including the main event in which Daniel Edouard won by first round TKO, but not after he had to climb off the deck to do it. The house was standing room only, vocal and everyone had a great time. It was everything that a club show should be. Nice work Moe Malacarne and Eventco Sports.
The BAD - Lots of people came up to me telling me how much they enjoy Through the Ropes, so I feel guilty taking this week off to go announce ShoXC on Friday night. But tune in to Showtime at 11:00 on Friday and watch your boy.
The UGLY -- A boxer did get hurt that night. The opening bout featured two boxers making their debuts. Isiah Thomas was in a different league than his opponent Tyronne Dicks. Thomas knocked Dicks out with a vicious three punch combination. Dicks fell face first and slammed into the canvass just inches from me. It was scary as he lay there motionless, with his eyes closed. After less than a minute I realized we had a problem and moved my chair so the paramedics would be able to get to work. The kid didn't move for about 10 minutes. He was taken out on a stretcher. The last report I heard was that he was doing well, thankfully.
Talk to you next week.