... and chillin' ... anxious because I am a little tired and I am looking forward to tomorrow and beyond.
Thinking about my first amateur fight in college. I had been training in Greensboro for a couple of months, and they finally took me seriously when I got in with a couple of the local cats ... one was a former football player, big and muscled, the other was a slender, southpaw cruiserweight, who was actually a very good fighter.
The football player had been the 'bully' of the gym. The guys who would spar with him, tip-toed around him. He could hit, but he couldn't box at all. I observed that by the way the crusierweight would move him around with ease and was actually the one who had to 'go easy' so that they would get some rounds in.
The head trainer wanted to be careful with me, because cats from the college passed through there before thinking they wanted to box only to be pulling everyone's chain and wasting their time.
One day the coach asked me if I thought I would be ready to fight in a couple of weeks, as there was a show just across the line in South Carolina. I told him I felt good, and he let me work in with their heavyweight.
Being a 'small' big guy, I can generally count on a 'noramal' big guy trying to rush me around the ring and pounding on me. That is something that I have usually been able to use to my advantage even among the more experienced of boxers. This 'rube' would no doubt try to run me out of the gym, especially since he saw himself as the top dog. I hadn't done any real bragging on myself, just let them know that I was a student from Detroit and I boxed a little.
He was around 6'2, 235, put together really well, like a linebacker. At the time, I was weighing in at 190, amateur heavyweight (201+ is super heavyweight). But because I knew I was going to box while in school, I had been using the failities on campus and running for at least a month before I even stepped into the gym. I was rusty, but I had my stamina, and let's not forget, my talent. I was a very good boxer.
Short but with longer than you expect arms, I opened up circliing to my left, popping him with double and triple jabs. I was moving him around the ring, and instead of stepping to his right to try to cut me off, he just followed me around.
It was pretty simple defencing him. Keeping my guard high and tight was enough as he looped his punches. He did sting me a few times and got close to use his strength in that first round.
The second round was a little more of the same, only I started to introduec a sharp 1-2, jab step. I was setting him up for some work that I would do later in the round, as I would move inside his looping punches and dip to his body with my left hook. Football players train for agressive strength, and they are not conditioned physically or mentally for the wear and tear of a boxing ring. During the last 30 seconds, I stood inside and started to move him back with body shots. The bell rang, and he was gassed.
My corner guy was amped, trying to give me instructions. They weren't used to seeing the football player getting it handed to him. I took in the instruction and since it was all good, had every intention of carrying it. He told me to step wide to the left, and drop an overhand right on him.
The trainer I had when I turned pro would really get that punch right for me. Detroit cats don't train that punch too much. I tried to pattern mine after Ken Norton, throwing it from his shoulder up. The thing with overhand rights, is that they complement good body work, and I had started that near the end of the previous round.
Bell for the third round goes, and big boy must have had a fire lit under him. He comes out ready to work, a 'gotta get back into this thing' kind of effort. Wasn't going to happen this day, cat, nuh-uh. I wasn't having any of that mess.
I let him shoot his load for about 30 seconds, him pushing his punches and trying to use his weight. When he started trying to catch his breath, he found he couldn't. While he was milling around, I had continued working his body, and he was on empty. He pulled straight out, hands down.
That was when I took a big step wide to my left, my right shoulder following, and when my fore foot hit the canvas, an overhand right hit his jaw. Fast and sharp, it wasn't a thud as much as it sounded like a smack. Big boy weebled, wobbled, and him go down BOOM!
Yeah, I would be ready for the fight coming up ..!