The opening minute of the bout looked like more of a catch drill than a traditional feeling-out period. Both of us wanted to control the center of the ring, but both of us also wanted to establish our jabs. Rather than always "getting off first," I found myself with the opportunity to "always finish last," whether it be simply doubling up my jab, throwing 3-2-3's after parrying, or simply stepping in behind a jab, shortening my arms and flurrying. By the end of the round, I knew that so long as I stayed tight and didn't get sloppy, I'd be able to fight my fight and better control the bout.
I made Round 2 much more of a fight - not a brawl, mind you, but I came out of my corner far more aggressive and threw"with bad intentions" more then the first round. I was able to control the center of the ring as well as the pace of the fight, keeping my distance with jabs but hiding behind a healthy dose of lead 2's (many landing) and using them to setup step-overs and flurries. With a tight guard and some strategic tie-ups (and maybe, just maybe a wee bit of holding) on my part, these flurries stayed one-sided, as I kept my opponent frustrated and unable to exchange.
The third round is where things get fuzzy - not because my memory is fuzzy, but because it was an almost surreal, out-of-body experience. I was in my element, slipping, moving and flurrying in a round that was equal parts Hopkins and Hagler. It was natural and pure to the point that - in retrospect - it was seemingly effortless. As I began to time my opponent, everything else fell into place. I threw first, landed last, tied him up and kept him off balance with different steps and combinations. Even when I caught myself leaning in or bending too much at the waist, I'd keep my base sound and throw punches from these different angles, turning my movements into a beautifully awkward yet somehow coordinated offensive.