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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The sweetest science

By Judah

April 6, 1991 Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns knocked out Ken Atkins in the third round in Honolulu, Hawaii. This was my very first taste of the sport I fell in love with called boxing. I was 6 years old when the Hitman entered that squared ring, and in retrospect it was a wonderful experience.

My father, brother and I went and sat near the top of the bleachers that day, along with a modest crowd. I can remember my brother and father going nuts over this guy they called the Hitman. At the time I was a kid, and the only thing I was concerned with was super Mario Brothers 3 ( a classic) and this girl name Crystal who was in my kindergarten class. ( I told her I liked her and she said “Ew, yuck”... so fuck that bitch.)

I was too young to fully appreciate the opportunity given to me that day. After the Hitman laid out Atkins during the third round, my dad gave me a piece of paper and told me to run fast as I could to Tommy. There were police and bodyguards everywhere blocking the ring. I was small and quick enough that no one would catch me--and they didn’t.

I, for the most part, did everything my dad ever told me. Him being a strict military guy, I knew whatever punishment the world could bring didn’t compare to my father’s leather belt. So I ran straight for Tommy. I didn’t run to him because he is arguably one of the greatest pound for pound fighters who ever lived. I ran to Tommy ‘cause daddy told me to. So I dodged about three or four guards until they finally caught me. By the time I was stopped, I’d say I was a good 20 feet away from Tommy.

Looking back, it was one of the great moments in my life. I didn’t see it this way at the time ‘cause I was a kid and Crystal was occupying my mind. I see it as a special moment now because as a man boxing is everything to me.

To stand in the middle of a ring and go toe to toe with someone and match wits for 12 rounds is not an easy task. Most street fights last a few minutes, if that, and both parties are tired beyond measure. Imagine having to give full amounts of energy for 36-plus minutes. It takes the right balance of strength and conditioning to be able to perform this task.

Boxing is my favorite because its the only true sport where its you verse the other man. In a team sport an individual can be carried. In basketball a really good point guard can mask the faults or lack of skills of the front court. In football a decent running back and pick up the slack for an inaccurate quarterback. In boxing its man at his most primitive state..Survival totally dependent upon how well trained and prepared he is.

There are many different kinds of boxers from all over the world who contribute to the sport. Some are walk-down fighters who just keep coming forward and wear you down with their relentless pressure. Some fighters are built for speed and conditioning who attempt to win on points. Then there are the pure boxers who can do all of the above. It’s the sweetest science, which I love.


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