Emanuel Augustus: A Pugilist for All Seasons
By Jason Petock (August 10, 2005)  
Photo © German Villasenor
‘Have Gloves, Will Travel’. And thus expresses the frequently time honored declaration that has become conventional among certain profoundly seasoned professional pugilists over the years. Emanuel Augustus is no novice regarding this phrase, having spent his absolute career as a categorical instance of such parlance. He has literally stepped into the abyss with them all, and whether garnering a win or a loss, has maintained his status as a virtuous gentleman throughout his trials. Augustus is what you would hail a throwback fighter of the genuine article, an accomplished athlete with raw natural talent who immediately harkens to a former existence in boxing, long before the discipline sold the souls of its participants for stained tender. While days have certainly turned in sport, it is vaunt men like Emanuel Augustus who are the curators of the flame of boxing and who aid in the trust of its brilliance. His tireless work rate, entertaining and continually opponent numbing execution, and honorable character outside of the ropes showcase not only what the art means to Emanuel as a participant, but essentially what it should represent to the remainder of us as spirited observers.

‘Journeyman’ is a designation that followers, advocates, and partisans of boxing use to depict a fighter when the individual in question does not possess an immaculate or unblemished record (often due to hapless decisions or the fraudulent actions of hometown marauders in several cases), or when said individual is targeted as a sacrificial stepping stone or final exam for rising prospects and expectant contenders. Various boxers have unwillingly and with strong resentment been coined as such, only to forge ahead in their respective careers and dispel these inaccurate labels while redeeming themselves in the process. Emanuel Augustus is an example of one of these select few who are all too often misrepresented in their chosen professions only to be regarded as a mere catalyst for someone else’s greatness. They comprise of the essential fiber of boxing, even long after the sold out arenas and satiated halls have become barren and void of their last drops of sweat or their farewell splashes of blood from fallen victors.

Another familiar term used quite loosely in crowded circles of self proclaimed ‘experts’ to describe a fighter deemed less than sufficient in their slight judgments is what is commonly known as a ‘club fighter’. This tactician rates lower than the aforementioned ‘journeyman’ and therefore collects that many fewer accolades, regularly being on the lower end of the food chain and less worthy of proper recognition and respect from those who feel the necessity to establish such rankings. Interestingly enough, ‘Irish’ Micky Ward, Arturo ‘Thunder’ Gatti, and Emanuel Augustus to name a few, have all been classified at one time or another in each of their careers as either of these two terms by journalists and critics alike.

Granted it is far simpler for us all to sit stoically behind the pale mesmerizing glow of our computer monitors, voicing on the highest acme upon our teetering soapboxes who we feel is superior and who is inferior. Yet it is not our voices, or words for that matter that distinguish boxing from all other sport. It is those who challenge wills as they relinquish blood for desire and wage combat as they forego pleasure for pain in their complete quest to stand victorious in modern times, conquerors in the oldest recorded sport in the history of our very existence that matter in the preservation of boxing and its core meaning.

As you contemplate the fate of Augustus, or Gatti or whoever you admire or follow in this love affair we know as the ‘Sweet Science’, take the fraction of time required in your hectic lives to honor the boxer or boxers that you revere. Know in your heart that without these committed and focused athletes boxing would not exist. No other sport requests so much of its competitors in comparison. Repeatedly it has been remarked that in boxing you are alone as a combatant, and several fighters have embraced this fact and even revealed it as a welcome challenge, unlike what is offered in other disciplines.

Be it Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, the remaining manly art known as boxing left in a world softened by convenience and complacency is our last true act of defiance in a coddled existence. We need boxing and it needs our undying support and strength in numbers. We need more fighters who are pugilists for all seasons, whether they appear from the ranks of ‘journeymen’, ‘club fighters’, ‘contenders’ or ‘prospects’. These distinctions only mean something when you let them. It is time to shatter the myths of what a fighter is defined as and just step aside and let them do their thing. No past judgments, classifications, criticisms or dissections have room in this newfound arena. There is only enough room for hungry warriors in the ring fighting for a ‘W’. Once we remove our overbearing demands and let fighters do what they do best, only then can we find our true Champions in a vast sea of many.
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