|Trading Leather, Trading Time
By Jason Petock (Oct 22, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
Boxing has had its turbulent years as well as its productive ones over time. Champions have gained recognition, notoriety, fame, and accomplishment, all in the same breath. Fighters fought and won as opponents competed and lost. Yet what was always most compelling about what was going on in the day is that they always came to fight. It didn’t matter at the time what they were going through in their personal lives, or their own burdens to bear, pugilists would knuckle up and then some every time they stepped through the ring ropes. Often it was this very trouble at times that would fuel their victories, propel
them to succeed, to conquer.
The paydays came few and far between at first, until they honed their skills, perfected their craft. Then things could be lucrative, if, you were willing to fight and brought your ability and heart to every bout. A myriad of punches are thrown in a boxer’s life. Every one of them counts for something other than profit.
Although it is the end result to make a good living and get out relatively unscathed, a reality which all contenders, opponents, and Champions are after, and rightfully so, theirs is the pain game. The hurt business. A different breed of man that goes back to more courageous and stronger times and ideals. A warrior’s breed. A warrior’s mentality. To win.
We as fans and the boxing public have almost been privy to a secret happening when sensational fights have occurred, like they were only intended for us, during our generation. Fighters need to be honored among men and respected for their valiance. Some would argue that the distinction of “warrior” is not befitting a professional prize fighter, and I would have to respectfully disagree with them. They ply a craft that is ages old, one of the first disciplines among Greek fighters and Olympians, far before more modern conventions and athletics.
They step into a realm of introspection every time that they step foot into the squared circle. Their breath is controlled, rhythm like clockwork, reflexes on alert. They see a couple of steps ahead of the curve, angles are everywhere, and the key is to work them. Time ticks away in the ring, and sometimes the round can pass in the blink of an eye, and there are other times when every second is a notch reminding you that it’s Monday and this three minutes is going to feel like 30 to you the entire time. They face themselves in both victory and defeat.
Boxers trade leather with time. Sometimes an even trade, but often more one-sided in some fighter’s cases than not. Time can be unkind and no one likes to admit that maybe they are a little weathered from the storm. And we dislike seeing that as fans and admirers. Be honest. We hate it. When a former Champion or true competitor steps down and hangs up his gloves for good that effects us, whether we admit it or not. The impact is immense and sends waves through us all.
And fighters will continue to exchange leather for time, long after there isn’t any time left to trade for. Swinging away into their futures, sometimes passing by their pasts, each pugilist will bang out his own destiny with a barrage of life changing events and important obstacles. Each punch thrown with precision, like missiles on target, they pinpoint illusions and cut through defenses in half a blink.
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