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Won’t Back Down Sunday, January 13, 2008

Posted by Grace in la famiglia.
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10 oz, one of the boys, had started boxing recently. I was happy for him because he was enjoying it, but also had that concern in the back of my mind, saying “This is boxing, cool, but also injury inducing.” And having had experience with ‘my’ boys boxing with Coach, I knew that the love-hate paradox would only continue. Boxing, kickboxing, and mui thai are all things that they’ve done, and therefore all things that I have been a spectator of. At first I never really wanted to be included in these things; I don’t like to see people hurt in general, but especially so when it comes to people close to my heart. And my boys are like my family. After being dragged along to various fights, though, I did learn to appreciate the rush you get when they win. Being up against another person, taking the hits dished out to you, but in the end taking them out and laying them flat.

I am that girl, cringing and tearing up every time they get hit, leaving nail marks on my palms or someone’s arm, not being able to look, but going nuts and being so proud when they dish it back.

10 oz’s first big fight was a little while ago. Knowing a thing or two about the process because of Coach, it seemed a little early. I was concerned because 10 oz really hadn’t been boxing very long, but Coach told me that he’d picked it up really well and seemed to have some natural talent for it. And anyways, I was told, it’s just his first fight, it won’t be especially rough or serious, it’s a beginning.

Coach has been pretty involved with 10 oz’s training. He used to box, he had to stop because of an injury, but while he could still fight he was pretty well respected. Now that he can’t fight anymore he likes to stay with the sport from the outside of the ring. He drove The Resident Italian and myself to the fight, and we got quite a commentary about 10 oz’s shaping up and what the other fighter was like, bit of a hot head, but he’d been told to keep it cool.

When they both got to the ring, all those fears that had been quelled came right back, this other fighter was big. Even I could see that he had a good 20 pounds on 10 oz and at least an inch or two of reach. Sure, this was supposed to be a not too rough, not too serious fight, but the guy was still just too big. I still got the, “Grace, 10 oz will be fine. Its his first fight, not too much agro, the other guy knows that.”

When they came out of their corners 10 oz was all balls, first fights will do that to a man. He got some good hits in, kept his feet moving, you could see he was still green but, like Coach said, he did have some talent for it, he landed some nice combinations, but he worked the head and ignored the body too much. Being a little over-excited he let his guard down at some points, but the whole first round was just trading punches, us cheering him on.

When the bell rang and they went to their corners is when things started to go wrong. It is normal for opponents to rile each other up, but they definitely took the friendly out of a supposed to be friendly fight. Second round starts and pretty much immediately 10 oz is taking quite a few hits (cue closed eyes for me for the majority of the rest of the fight). This other guy is not so new to the game, so they were pretty good hits too. By this time I am quite concerned and The Resident Italian is holding my hand trying to calm me down.

10 oz’s trying to get a punch in edgewise but is spending all his time protecting himself. He back pedals out of the other guys reach, and just keeps back pedaling, you can see he’s feeling a little in over his head.

The other guy, super-confident because he’s fighting a greenie, lets down his arms and just charges, leaving his face open to wind up for a big hit. 10 oz sees the opening, stops in his tracks and hammers him with a textbook perfect (well, if there is a textbook), beautiful right cross. Time stopped for a split second, you could see the question in the hot head’s eyes, “How did the bugger hit me like that?”

A punch like that doesn’t leave a fighter with many options to follow up with, you don’t hit like that unless you don’t need to follow up, but that’s green 10 oz for you. The guy was affected by the punch, anyone could see that, he was slowed down but he wasn’t out. 10 oz wasn’t back to moving yet, probably not knowing what to do next, so he was open to take hits. And there were a slew of them, mostly landing on the arms, as he started to back off again. They were running out of time, the round was coming closer to an end.

The boys were yelling, I’m near tears, when 10 oz, by some miracle got another chance. The hot head was getting cocky again from the agro and doing most of the fighting; he let his guard down again. He jabbed and followed up with another divine cross, with good power and weight behind it. You could see on the hot head’s face, because 10 oz had his back to us, that he saw the punch coming for him but that he knew he didn’t have time to bring up his gloves and protect himself.

If it were a movie it would have been in slow motion. A light would have gone out in his eyes, he would have arched through the air; but because we had 10 oz in the way and it was not a movie, all we saw was that he hit the canvas.

10 oz won his first fight, the ‘nothing too rough, friendly’ fight, KO, and took quite a few good hits doing it. I’m so proud of him.

Song of the Day: Won’t Back Down – Fuel

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