Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Regional Finals

So I guess I should have posted this earlier, but in the same sitting as my last blog post I learned that the tournament organizers had adjusted the bout sheet and I was seeded to where I had a 1st round bye. So despite being as physically and mentally prepared as possible - including cutting my weight down - I did not fight last Saturday and will be fighting this coming Saturday, 9/19 in the regional finals in Pawtucket, RI.

While it's always nice to be given a shorter, more direct path to a championship, I must say that I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't fight last week. As mentioned above, I was truly peaked and ready to go. Instead, this week I feel a little banged up and sluggish. I feel like I'm having to rally my way to being fully prepared for Saturday, rather than simply riding a strong upswing like last week.

Don't get me wrong, I will be ready to fight and win Saturday. But, well, the extra week is proving to be as much of a nuisance as a convenience or blessing.

I did get to watch my opponent fight last week, and he is a strong kid and very talented boxer. I know what I need to do and am confident that if (when) I fight my fight and get him uncomfortable I can win this. Being able to strategize and visualize a victorious fight all week has been great.

So this week has been more of the same as last - tapering in the gym with shorter, more intense workouts, sharpening my mind, and dieting to keep my weight at the level I need. Tomorrow will be a vicious workout, and then Thursday and Friday will be (very) much-needed rest days.

Tomorrow also is my birthday. And I don't mind at all that I'll be spending it at the gym, wearing myself out with my training partners and chanting this mantra:

"Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it." - William Durant

And it's as simple as that. Let's do it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Closing Camp

So last night was my last big workout before the bout Saturday - "camp" is officially closed and I need to switch gears and have my mental preparation catch up with my physical readiness.

Some doubts have started to set in, but I think it's more jitters than legit concerns. After all, I feel great, have been having a lot of success in the ring, and got a vote of confidence from the gym owner tonight that all I need to do now is relax, have fun, and replicate all this when it counts Saturday.

My only regret, actually, is moving around with a kid last night that's notorious for cranking up the intensity randomly in the laziest of sparring sessions. He's a pretty decent boxer though, so I decided to change it up and work 4 rounds with him. As expected, he sprinkled some bombs into his flurries throughout our "light," final workout - including 3 well after the final bell that earned groans from a few onlookers - catching me off guard a few times and marking me up a little. I'm not worried about the cosmetics so much as a little swelling and bleeding from my nose. Some wear and tear is nothing new, but I just hate not being 100000001% going into a fight, especially when it's the result of some shenanigans 96 hours before. Such is life in the ring I guess and I doubt I'm the only boxer sporting some pre-existing war wounds at the weigh-in. Besides, I definitely would have won on the scorecards if it was "official" last night, so the underlying message is that I'm ready to dish it as well as receive. But in the meanwhile, here's to clear airways and not looking any more of a mess leaving the ring Saturday as I do going into it.


- I keep thinking of a quote from Manny Pacquiao on an episode of Hatton-Pacquio 24/7 that was along the lines of: "Training is the hard part. If you train hard, then the fight is easy." Now obviously there are a million variations to this quote, like "The harder you train, the luckier you get" and "The more you sweat, the less you bleed." While all are valid (albeit a bit cliche) there was something about how Pac-Man said this that stuck out as being genuine and profound. Just something that's crossed my mind a few times the past few weeks...

- I weighed in at 153 before my workouts each of the last two days, and well under 150 after each. At the risk of jinxing myself, I don't think I'm going to have to gas myself too much to make weight Saturday at 9 a.m. Early dinner, no water, lots of sleep, no breakfast or fluids until I step off the scale...should be all set.

- Speaking of weight, my roommate made cookies last night. I made her hide them.

This is what it's all about. I put in my time, paid my dues, now I just need to piece it all together, clear my head and go win some hardware.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

1 Week Out

So in exactly 1 week I'll be fighting in the Rocky Marciano Tournament of Champions and I can honestly say that I have done everything possible - both effort, mindset and results - to win this thing.

I sparred today with a kid who normally gives me a fair amount of problems - or rather, when I don't fight smart, he makes me eat some leather. He's pretty slick, all his punches are straight, and he seems to always be moving backwards, so the last thing I ever want to do is just go plodding in on a straight line. The past few months we've had some pretty competitive rounds, establishing a very noticeable trend that climaxed today.

And that trend, of course, is me being more boxer/less brawler and in the best shape of my life. Because today, after the 2nd round, my trainer called off the clinic I was putting on to spare the kid from the lopsided hurtin' I was going to continue to put on him in the 3rd.

I feel fast, strong and smart. I'm beating people to the punch, counterpunching with pop and just flat out-working, out-hustling, out-thinking and plain old out-boxing everyone I've moved around with lately. Bag work, mitts, plyos, everything just feels good. And this isn't me blowing my own horn so much as finally seeing the signs (feeling) that I'm peaking at the exact right time.

Since I only got in 2 rounds of sparring today, I immediately hit the bag circuit hard, rotating between the heavy, hook and uppercut bags for 8 rounds. I finished the day with 3 rounds of mitts, 20 minutes of plyos for my legs, 3 rounds of shadowboxing and abs. And my weight at the end of it all? 150.

Life in the ring is good.

Some random notes:

- Just clicked on a thread titled "It's International Bacon Day!" on the message board I always visit. The pics in it made me want to cry. I'm already itching for a burrito and now bacon...just...I need to stop writing about it and think about something other than food.

- Tomorrow will be my last day lifting before the fight. I plan on doing my "usual" upper body weight routine, but tacking on some additional miles to my road work. I intend on running every morning before work between now and fight night, regardless of the workout planned for that night. I want to keep my weight where it is now so I don't have to kill myself cutting down Friday night.

- Juan Manuel Marquez just drank his own pee on the 2nd episode of 24/7. PBF is acting strangely humble and has just gone a full hour without getting on my nerves. This makes no sense. Anyone else witnessing this madness?

- Cutting weight is hell. Don't know if I've mentioned that yet...

This is what it's all about, folks. Eyes on the prize...