Everyone has something in their life that they can turn to in their time of need. Something to “ease the pain,” as they say.
Unfortunately for some, those remedies aren’t always healthy and can be destructive. My remedy, although unable to harm me, does harm others. And in certain cases it can take years off their lives if the “dosage” is brutal enough.
I don’t know when it started, I can’t explain why it started, but for some reason whenever things have been a struggle or I’ve had a personal tragedy, boxing has been my remedy. There has always been something about the beauty behind the brutality that I’ve been able to connect with and lose myself in. Saturday night’s all-action, back and forth slugfest between Humberto Soto and Urbano Antillon was the latest example of what makes the sport of boxing my most frequent drug of choice.
For 12 rounds it was Soto’s precise punching and great footwork vs. Antillon’s non-stop inside pressure and relentless attack. It was violent, it was rough, and it was art. The respect I have for 2 fighters that have just waged that kind of war is almost too immense for words. When I talk about “The Sweet Science”, with friends or people that aren’t as familiar with the sport, I almost feel like a promoter. I tell tales of mental exhaustion to go along with near crippling physical pain, and how these men have continued to fight on. Although I can’t see my reflection, I know they can see the passion in my eyes and how much it means to me.
I’ve learned over time though that the way I feel about this sport and what it does for me emotionally is hard to find in others. Boxing, although centuries old, still has an underground feel. Now, there are the “Super Fights” and the fighters that participate in them that will bring in the casual fan. If I walked down the street and asked the weird guy who walks his dog at the same time everyday, who Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather is, there is a decent chance he’ll know one or the other. If I asked him the same and then had him watch a replay of Saturday night’s fight, there is virtually no chance he knows who either Humberto Soto or Urbano Antillon is, but upon its conclusion, he’ll know what both guys are all about.
My roommate recently lost his best friend in a tragic accident. Having dealt with the passing of someone you love, I tried to be there for him in any way possible. One of the pieces of encouragement I used was a replay of the 9th round between Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward’s first fight. I’ve told others in the past that it’s the most inspiring 3 minutes I’ve ever seen. I took that 180 seconds and used it, so that he could see a struggle played out and how at the bleakest moments, you’re always made of more than you think.
To be honest, I don’t know how much it did or if it even helped at all. But I know since that time him and I have become very close.
Maybe you have to have an acquired taste to enjoy my remedy and drug of choice. Maybe its something I’ll never fully be able to make someone understand. Maybe it will always be personal to me and my promoting skills won’t convince those around me to respect and see the beauty behind the brutality that I do.
Either way, I still hope one day others can appreciate this sport and the struggle that takes place inside the ropes, inside the body, and inside the mind. Because for me, boxing is inside my heart and I appreciate the opportunity to share that with them.