Friday, February 20, 2009

What the Hell?

This week has, all things considered, been great. This week has also - looking back at the major events - left me wondering/muttering/exclaiming "what the hell?" far too often.

What. The hell.

What the hell?!

It's universal. Let's explore...

WTH #1: My bout was postponed
So I've been training my butt of for a bout originally scheduled for this Saturday, 2/21. I was informed Monday that, thanks to President's Day, this week is a "holiday week" for the branch of Boston City Council that issues alcohol permits. As such, they wouldn't issue any new permits this week. At all. None. The whole week. Because of President's Day. What the hell.

Given that the gym makes it's money from the bar and caterer on Fight Nights (admission goes to charity) the owner decided to postpone the card for one week. So I now have a bout next Friday, 2/27. As far as preparation goes, I'm actually a little better off. (I can peak now instead of "plateauing" - I'm more than ready for the bout, but now I can get a few more sparring sessions in, taper and rest up, and really peak peak. Not just your usual peak. It makes sense in my head, don't worry.) As far as scheduling goes, I'm peeved. I've mentally prepared for weeks to fight on the 21st, I've had to send multiple mass texts and emails to friends and colleagues who wanted to attend, and now I have to fight on a weekday. While this is (obviously) doable, it's definitely not ideal to work all day Friday and lug my crap (gym bag is extra heavy for a bout) to the gym and then cool my heels until the bell rings. But such is the life of an 8-5er (scratch that, let's be honest, I've been a 7-7er in the office lately.)

Verdict: What the hell?!?! And an extra shame on you to the Boston selectmen who refused to meet and keep the booze flowing. I swear, this is the most backasswards state ever.

Note: Thank you for all the well-wishes in anticipation of my originally scheduled bout. I appreciate the gesture, apologize for any inconvenience (sorry, only can update the blog once/week) and ask that you please keep me in your thoughts for just a little longer. Make sure to send the puncher's luck my way again next week!

WTH #2: Sparring with an ignoramus
Spent Preisdent's Day moving around with a guy I've never met that one of the trainer's connected me with. It was supposed to be just a light, long, "feel-out" sort of session, but it quickly turned into me aggressively defending his bullrushes and adding a little pop on my counterpunches to encourage him to simmer down. (I can't be the only boxer out there that finds it unbelivably irritating to set paramaters before sparring and then have them broken, especially when there's a talent discrepancy.) Unfortunately, me snapping his head back repeatedly didn't get him to mellow out. The haymakers quit flying only when he tired himself out...and then quit in the middle of the 3rd round.

Verdict: What the wrong with people?! Still had a great workout, but nobody benefits from one dude (me) beating the hell out of another (him) because someone (him) can't keep their feistiness at a minimum once they get in the ring. Whatever.

WTH #3: Sparring with a salty veteran
Moved around with a buddy from the gym who I've never sparred with before. He's in there all the time, competes regularly, and it's kind of beyond reason that I've never worked with him before. (By day he's a sales rep for a beer company - maybe us day-shifters subconsciously respect each other too much to pummel each other.)

But yeah, salty veteran, he was good. No matter how much I channeled my inner-Pacquiao, I couldn't - for the life of me - land more than one punch at a time or get him off-balance. He seemed to always always always have his legs under him so no matter what he was doing, he was doing it with authority. Apparently I was tipping my lead right too. After getting hit with multiple lead hooks (on my ear, right behind my glove, despite me looking for the same punch over and over) in round 4, I literally dropped my gloves and asked "what the hell am I doing for you to land that same punch?" He told me, and I quit doing it. Lesson learned, and 6 rounds well spent.

Verdict: What the I doing wrong?! Some lessons have to be learned in the ring, and this is exactly why quality (but controlled) sparring is essential for any amateur boxer. Or so they say. I know I won't be tipping my right and getting caught with any hooks next Saturday...

WTH #4: The bruise along my brow line
I woke up the morning after sparring with the vet with a purple bruise streaking across more than half of the top fold in my brow. Luckily my hair covered it a little (and it has since healed and faded surprisingly quickly) so I didn't have to explain to too many co-workers "I borrowed a friend's headgear, it was a size too I got this weird, odd-shaped bruise." It looked like I took a purple pen and connected the dots across the right side of my forehead. It was absurd. I hate getting marked up, I hate explaining what happened, I hate the color purple and...bleh! Thank goodness new (proper-fitting) gear is in the mail and shame on me for using sub-par equipment. My first and last random, horizontal forehead bruise...

Verdict: What the hell? Haha...just...what the hell... (Why me?!)

WTH #5: Yuriorkis Gamboa defying the rules of the sweet science.
Keep your hands up? Naw, he doesn't need to, he's too quick. Square up? Sure, why not, he can unload with both hands quicker that way, counterpunches be damned. Break the speed of light? Sure looks like it - them fists be flying. Put athleticism (and arrogance?) over technique? Sure, why not, it's gotten him this far, and a gold medal along the way.

I always look forward to watching Gamboa fight and, while I could technically go out tonight since my bout's pushed back, I'm still going to stay in to watch El Ciclon de Guantánamo. Why? Because he leaves me wondering...

Verdict: What the hell...does it take to move like that? What the hell was he thinking dropping his hand and getting dropped?! What the hell's this guy's ceiling? Gamboa is one of the more entertaining and intriguing prospects out there, and while he leaves some speechless, I'm always left in awe and with plenty to talk about. And if I had that much raw talent, shoot, I wouldn't be earning a nickname, I'd already have one too. After all, we've got tornados in KC too...


willfrank said...


WTH? (and I mean that in the Gamboa sense).

Another interesting angle, a great read and again filled with more "real" insight than anything I've seen before (although my reference point is probably George Plimpton and he was just too foppish for my working class roots). It just goes to show that a boxer who writes well can convey the "reality" of what goes on in the ring a heck of a lot better than a writer who tries to box for "a story". Great stuff.

Continued best of luck for THIS weeks bout.

Jonathan Moreland said...


And Gamboa didn't leave me saying "WTH" this time - it was a simple "wow."