Thursday, May 21, 2009


Tonight I'm flying to the "Redneck Riviera" of Panama City, FL for a man-cation with some of my Boston buddies. They know the owner of a mom n' pop hotel and go down for a long Memorial Day weekend every year and take the place over. I'm super excited.


I have the strange feeling that I won't be doing wind-sprints and shadow boxing on the beach. (On second thought, montage, anyone?!) A week on the beach is, well, a week on the beach and I have no complaints or reluctance to sit in a hammock and booze up and go deep sea fishing and play shuffleboard and... whatever else you do in Panama City.

But at the same time, I'm coming off one of the best fights of my amateur career and have been frustrated by my on-again/off-again training schedules the past 4+ months. I want to keep competing often and at a high level, and the missing link isn't a lack of physical ability or savvy or heart or dedication - it's consistency.

I have a saw. I just haven't been able to keep it sharp.

And sand and booze are only going to dull it a little more - albeit happily. Which, ironically, will make it all the more frustrating when I step back into the ring next week and get back into attack mode.

But I'll worry about that when I return. Until then, I have some fish to catch...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Beautiful Cycle

My bout could not have gone any better. No, that doesn't do it any justice.

My bout could not have been any more perfect.


I entered the ring Saturday and completely dismantled my opponent, sniping him with stiff jabs, snapping his head back with straight rights and demoralizing him with body shots and hooks. I did whatever I wanted, controlling the pace, keeping my defense tight and eluding entire combinations with my head and upper body movement.

In all honesty, I don’t know where this boxer (me) came from. I’ve won more than my share of fights, but never before have things clicked like this to where I just controlled and dominated it from bell to bell. My opponent was bloodied and disheartened (I didn’t think he was going to come out for the 3rd) and my corner literally had nothing to say between the 2nd and 3rd rounds aside from “good job, keep it up...yeah...that’s about’re killing him...where we drinking after this?”

Even the gym owner was surprised, commenting how “you’re a great boxer, but sometimes you trade a bit too much – tonight you picked your shots and just put on a boxing clinic.”

Psh, who needs momentum? I just need a pair of gloves, a good night’s sleep and a clear head, and I can save the world, one jab and counter-right at a time.

On the topic of momentum: since the bout, I’ve only been able to sneak into the gym four times this week (I guess that's not so bad) and I have a week-long vacation in Florida rapidly approaching, so I won’t be able to truly build off this experience. Despite this, time and time again I feel like momentum doesn’t matter – my training and success is just a hilly, beautiful cycle that keeps me head-down and on my toes, rewarding me along the way for my hard work, perseverance and love for the sport.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pre-fight Musings

I always talk about how the most important thing for me is to peak rather than plateau before a fight, but my preparation for this bout has definitely flattened out.

My last great workout was Sunday when I built my routine around 8 aggressive rounds of mitts with my buddy wearing the chest protector. It was better than sparring, giving me a great cardio and in-ring strength workout while letting me focus on my technique and combinations. Since then, I’ve felt like I’ve been boxing in sand, with my legs being fatigued and sore to the point that I even had to skip a workout on Wednesday.

Not ideal, but come 8 hours before my fight, I feel OK. Far from peaked, definitely not flat, but certainly not ideal. The biggest reason I worry about quantifying my preparation is because I can’t help but have it affect my confidence and mental preparation. I have the utmost confidence in my abilities, smarts and ring savvy, but right now I don’t have that “edge” – that certain completeness that lets me know with certainty that my opponent can’t touch me. How can you not fight a little conservative when you don’t know with 100% certainty that your legs will be there, your punches will be crisp and the gas tank is full?

I by no means have myself mentally defeated – I’m prepared for this fight and looking forward to it, but I’m not “up” and chomping at the bit. Perhaps it’s because of my short preparation, or maybe my attitude’s leaving a little to be desired, or it just might be the fact that this is yet another exhibition and I can’t help but look at it like an open sparring session rather than a higher-stakes, official bout.

What’s most likely is that I’m holding myself to an unfairly high standard, especially after just over two full weeks of training since my work-induced hiatus. Whenever I step in that ring I represent myself, my work ethic and my abilities, so I feel it's only human to take pride in my showing. At the same time, I need to just take deep breaths and Hulk-up - my brain and body have never let me down and, as always, I'll just have to improvise and adapt tonight to put it all together in the ring.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Recap - 2 weeks out

So my short “camp” leading up to my next fight has turned out to be as frenzied as I thought it’d be. The air of desperation has thus far been extremely beneficial – there’s no room for a lackadaisical workout or unplanned day off, so I’ve made sure neither happens. Maybe this is how I’ll have to find my stride – accept that training won't ever be a paced trot and just embrace the sprint to fight night. Besides, I’ve always prided myself in the fact that I never “let myself go” and am just a few weeks of fine-tuning away from being fight-ready, and, well, we’re entering week 2 and I feel as good as I usually do...

So here's a quick recap of my training since scheduling the fight. Everything starts with 12-minute jump rope, 3 rounds shadow boxing:

  • Saturday: Sparred with Tommy Duquette, one of the best amateur 140 lbers in the country. (Yes, the country - he's got the belts to prove it.) Needless to say, he had the advantage over me across the board, but when our 3 rounds were done he and his trainer had nothing but praise for my showing. I love sparring with Tommy because, despite outclassing me, he works with this certain style and pace that we both still get great work, no matter how lopsided the theoretical scorecard would be. If a national champ says I have a tight defense and good counterpunches (obviously I didn't need to say the same to him - I just laughed and said "wow" as I checked to make sure I was still in one piece) I know I'm more than capable of handling whatever shmuck I face next week. I finished up with a 10-round bag circuit and abs, then went for a 5-mile run. Fantastic workout.
  • Sunday: Upper body weight circuit (chest, bi's, tri's, back, neck) and abs, plus a 6-mile run. Before my run, I walked backwards on the treadmill at the gym for 15 minutes, shadowboxing and keeping my weight low. Thanks, Ann Wolfe!
  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Declined some sparring to work on some things I learned from my rounds with Tommy. Had a nice, long, paced session on the heavy bag (12 rounds) and tried to focus on my balance and footwork. Finished with a 3-round burnout on the hook bag. Abs, plyos.
  • Wednesday: Speed day. 4 rounds double-end bag, 4 rounds heavy bag, 4 rounds focus mitts. Had my 16 oz. gloves (rather than my 20 oz. "lobster claws") and really let them fly. Gassed quick - not early, but quick, from throwing cattle-cars full of leather in a short amount of time. Abs, plyos.
  • Thursday: 4-mile run, sit-ups, push-ups, core exercises. Felt gross and unmotivated, but was glad to get in what I did.
  • Friday: Sat in a suite at the Bruins game. Love me some Stanley Cup playoffs. Good times.
  • Saturday: Detoxed with a grueling workout in the heat. 4 rounds focus mitts, 4 rounds hook bag, 4 rounds heavy bag, 3 round burn-out changing levels on the huge jumbo bag duct-taped to one of the ring poles. That thing owns me. Broke out the rope ladder and truck tire for some hardcore plyos and drills. Finished with abs and a 4-mile run. Watched the Royals beat the Twins and Celtics beat the Bulls instead of forking over $55 for the Hatton/Pacquiao fight. Watched "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" as I drifted to sleep and fell in love with Mila Kunis' character. Ah, what a Saturday.
  • Sunday: Today. Feel-good sore. Going to go for a run, stretch out real well, and do 8 rounds of mitts with the body pads. I figure I'll get my strength in today by leaning/pushing on my buddy as I move around in the ring and tee off on him rather than just lifting per my usual Sunday routine. Was tempted to double-up the workouts, but figure this will be better work if I'm fresh. Besides, I'll never bench-press or curl my opponent, but I'm sure the situation will arise when I'll need to nudge him off me to make some space and rip into his rib cage. So the ring work wins. Sorry, beach muscles.
So good stuff going on this week in the ring and out. I have a busy week at work, some softball games to juggle (or skip this week...) and the usual life/schedule shenanigans, but I have zero complaints or worries about how I feel 2 weeks out. Just few more hard workouts and then I'll start tapering. And then it's go time.