Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trying to keep up - pt 1 of 2

What a whirlwind week. While I've been feeling relatively good in the ring with some encouraging results to boot, I can't help but feel a little anxious that I'm just doing enough to get by and I won't be able to keep savvy-ing my way to wins forever. (Who would have thunk we'd see the day where I ease off the gas, stop being so quick to brawl, use my head and dominate with "savvy?")

Speaking of which, the short-notice bouts continue to roll in. I was notified last Friday that I'd be fighting on December 4 and in our reality show season finale on December 11. Seeing how that's not even two weeks away, I'm officially behind and borderline desperate to get things "clicking" again - but tell that to the Dr.'s appointments, dentist drilling for oil in my gums, client projects and breakneck pace at the office. Oy. Just got to make it happen...

But to backtrack:

Last Friday I had a bout at an event hosted by my gym. Ironically, my opponent didn't show, so I was matched against a stablemate in a similar situation. I had never moved around with him before, but he's had some amateur success and is graced with - without a doubt, far and away - the fastest hands in the gym. Unfortunately, until I can post the video (and there will be video - this was recorded by a trainer as well as the TV crew) I'm stuck giving you the Reader's Digest version.

Round 1 was very much a feeling out round, with me gauging just how much faster he was than me (a lot) and figuring out what it will take to pin him in a corner, lower his work rate, slow down...anything to get him to keep his hands still and by his chin. Fortunately (for my face as well as my strategy) he wasn't one to push the tempo, engaging me at a pace that was borderline lazy. Noticing this early, I made sure to flurry the last 30 seconds to steal some points and the round.

Whether he got tired, lazy, comfortable or intimidated by my pop (the ham-muh was singing!) his work rate decreased further in Round 2 and I was able to consistently throw first. And since he was letting me get off first, I made sure to get off often, keeping distance with my lead right, sticking a healthy diet of jabs in his face, and pouncing in and out with 5-, 6- and 38- (if only) punch combinations.

Round 3 was a repeat of Round 2, only more lopsided in my favor. I kept my defense tight and feet moving to make sure we only engaged when I wanted to - we either traded individual punches at a distance or I was able to open him up, flurry in close and then quickly escape back out behind my jab. After the final bell, my corner and random spectators alike were telling me I "beat him up" - which, when going against a speedster, means a lot and is an indication of just how well I was able to neutralize his speed and fight my fight.

Another interesting comment I kept hearing was that I "looked so relaxed." I think that explains why I surprised myself with how much I had left in the gas tank. I also think it's a completely overlooked aspect of amateur boxing. There's no better way to tire yourself out, start lunging and getting sloppy than tensing up in the ring. It used to be a problem of mine, but I think time, experience and mental as much as physical preparation can help anyone stay calm, loose and composed in a bout, with far-reaching benefits.

Anyway, that brings us to a little over a week ago. Both a lot (sparring a nationally-ranked boxer on camera, learning about my two bouts early next month) and surprising little (um, not nearly enough time in the gym) has happened since then, but I want to leave that for another post this week. After all, with the holidays I'll definitely have time to crank out some more content, as well as (finally) tweak some visual stuff on this sorry-looking site.

You have to catch up with yourself before you can keep up (and move ahead) of the pack...

Until then, allow me to pose a question for the comments section: how would you fight a much taller opponent? And don't Google it - I'm much more interested in your experience, whether it be an in-ring lesson or outside observation. My answer (and rude awakening) coming later this week...

1 comment:

Nerd Of Steel's Boxing Tips said...

I haven't had a lot of experience with really tall guys. I've had two sparring partners that were maybe 3 inches taller, that's all I can comment on.

Neither of those two really used their height as well as they could, the better of the two was a (really good) counter puncher that mostly caught me on the way in. When I got inside though he was very uncomfortable and I dominated the exchanges.

I can't say I had difficulty getting inside on either of them as I had faster feet, I feel very comfortable moving fwd and punching at a fast rate and at the time I worked extensively on loosening up my hips and moving my head on the way in. Drill, drill, drill, jab or cross or left hook off left slip, right slip, bob, all while going fwd... Gotta keep it random, only time I've been knocked down a guy timed my rythmic head movement with an overhand right I whipped my head right into.

But if I ever fought a tall guy with a good jab and faster feet than I, he would probably eat me alive on the outside at least the first few rounds. And what if he was a better inside fighter? Bowe outboxed Holyfield on the inside in one of their fights (first?).

If I prepared for a tall guy, I guess I'd work on inside fighting, fighting out of the crouch, cutting off the ring and punching off the head movement. Get inside and brawl.