"The Ballad of the Shot Boxer"

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"THE BALLAD OF THE SHOT BOXER"
Other common terms of "shot": burned out, past his prime, washed-up
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This article is something that I've been thinking about writing for some time. 
There is just so very much I want to say about this subject that truthfully, my not knowing where to begin has kept me from doing so. In fact, had "I" not been diagnosed with this particular cancer towards the end of my worn-out amateur career (140 fights) - it is for certain that I'd have a different take on the ENTIRE issue.
 
So much of today's Boxing community is ignorant on this subject. 

It may be a Blessing that the only ones well versed in recognizing when a fighter is SHOT are the true veterans of the sport.  This, however, gives birth to IRONY.  If MORE people were tuned into the (sometimes/oftentimes) tragic ending of a fighters tenure, it may very well affect the overall popularity of the sport. 

If MORE people were to witness firsthand a Boxers steady AND usually tragic demise—the sweet ambiance of the sport would be drastically & forever TAINTED. 

Thus, it may be a good thing that very few people actually get it.

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A "SHOT" fighter is not an anomaly in Boxing. 

It's a sad fact that in most cases when a fighter stays in the game for "too" long—becoming SHOT is the usual standard. We as humans are designed by our creator to endure only "so much" punishment before something breaks.

In the barbaric world of BOXING however, it is oftentimes the WILL (or desire) which refuses to break, outlasting the fighters talent. (This of course is never to be confused by the paper-tiger whose WILL to FIGHT is the first thing to go!)

In this respect, one of the saddest chapters to read in the library of BOXING is when a fighters HEART has greatly outlived his ABILITY to compete. Yet, due to passion, money-hungry managers, pure ignorance OR outright necessity...they continue.

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What is especially important to understand, however, is that we are ALL made differently. 

Boxers each have physical strengths and weaknesses which DIFFER from the opponents that they face. These qualities separate them from their sparring partners as much as they pull a fighter away from people on the street. 

Some Boxers have an innate ability to fire shots quicker, some can take a punch better while one fighter can sustain punishment LONGER than the other. 

What I am getting at here is that JUST BECAUSE one Boxer BEGINS a career in their teens & fights well into his/her 40's - DOES NOT mean that EVERYONE "should" be able to do so. 
JUST BECAUSE one Boxer has 100+ amateur wars, turns PRO to rack up a string of victories before becoming SHOT—DOES NOT MEAN that another fighter with equal ability lacks HEART because he ended up SHOT. 
We're all made differently. WE ARE ALL MADE DIFFERENTLY! (THIS is important to understand while attempting to comprehend my analysis of shot Boxers.) One fighter may PEAK in the SKILLS department at the same time that his teammate with EQUAL experience begins to plummet.
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*It is NOT ALWAYS THE AMOUNT OF FIGHTS which determines a Boxer's longevity.* 
Improper dieting may have "comparably" driven a deeper indention from their skill-set than the naysayers may understand.  Maybe the fighters cartilage has been worn down and though others cannot "see" it, "the fighter" feels the effect with every punch. 
GENETICS (which nobody can see) may play a role in a Boxer's demise.
Perhaps, countless shots to the head in preparation for each fight have beaten down his soul or desire to fight.  It could just be that the Boxers intrinsic LUST for training has disappeared and with NO education & NO work skills he simply does not know what else to do so—uninspired, his WILL tired...he continues. 
Since we are ALL made differently, BOXING affects us all in different ways.
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TELL-TALE SIGNS THAT A BOXER IS SHOT:

> HEAD MOVEMENT DISAPPEARS

> POWER DIMINISHES GREATLY

> THEY SIMPLY CANNOT PULL THE TRIGGER (let their hands go to throw a punch)

> FOOTWORK LOOKS CLUMSY AT BEST

> FEINTS, SLIPS & PIVOTS AS WELL AS STRATEGY BECOME
(nearly) NONEXISTENT
 > GRABBING THE OPPONENTS ARMS BECOME THE 
PRIMARY DEFENSE TACTIC
 > THEY BECOME TARGET PRACTICE FOR LESSER FIGHTERS
WHILE SPARRING

> HAND SPEED {in the ring} SLOWS DRASTICALLY

> THE ONCE SPECTACULAR ABILITY TO BOX IS REPLACED BY
AN INEFFECTUAL DESIRE TO SLUG IT OUT

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A SHOT Boxer (usually) STILL wants to WIN. 

It's quite common to see them fall FAR behind on the cards and CONTINUE fighting in a bout until the referee steps in to cease the onslaught (or stop the fight).  Why?  Because in most cases the WILL TO WIN still exists. 

I know this point has already been stated, but it bears repeating. MUCH too often we witness a SHOT fighters "DESIRE TO FIGHT" outliving the skills to successfully do so. 

CASE IN POINT:

People often witness a fighters physical altercations with their very own Trainer/ Corner-person who mercifully (YET, responsibly) throws in the towel to STOP a beating they're sustaining in a bout. In this particular instance, the fighter may just be outgunned and will live to fight another day. 
In some cases however, the fighter is SHOT and his body can no longer absorb OR release the required arsenal needed to win the match.  Leading up to the match in this particular case, it's best assumed that the Trainer witnessed blatant hints to a disastrous outcome while in the gym. 
*UPON RJ's ring walk toward his first fight with TARVER, the announcers omen'd that Jones' trainer said "Roy has lost a step in the gym". 'nuff said.
 
All of these explanations regarding THE WILL TO WIN or THE HEART of a fighter are important to know. 

It should NEVER be confused that a fighter is lacking his/her WILL or HEART when in fact they are "SHOT". 

When a fighter is SHOT they simply have nothing left in the tank. 
The SPEED they once had is at the very least 1 step behind what it used to be. 
Head movement and elusiveness fade into the likes of somebody who just doesn't care if they get hit anymore. Rather than exert the energy necessary to slip a punch to their forehead, the SHOT fighter chooses to just absorb it in order to be able to counter. 
The counter-shot is usually a second too late. Quick feet and smooth, crafty glides they once had around the ring now succumb to "shaky" legs which break every rule of their fighting past. 
INSIDE fighting results in the Boxer TAKING punches while effortlessly searching for the opportunity to fire back. The finger remains on the trigger as the opportunity to throw a punch rarely (if ever) makes itself known to the shot Boxer.

In a few sad cases the fighters once quick WIT fades into slurs and mumbles.

THIS is the dark side of Boxing. 

Hopefully the Boxer will never get to this point. 

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To make matters even worse - when a Boxers reign expires in the above fashion
~when they are stripped of their skills due to father time
~when the BRICK-WALL finally crumbles and there is nothing left but a SHOT exterior of a once great fighter
~WHEN there is nothing left in the tank & they HIT the ground HARD...the starry-eyed Boxing world scatters away during the fall- after KICKING them.
~Ricky Ray Taylor~
 

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Video Interview of the month:
BAZOOKA!
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 PS - (If I can retrieve them from my DATA card, each of you will see that NEXT MONTHS video interviews are the BEST ever.  The card will be in the hands of DATARECOVERYCORP Monday morning as they attempt to FIND what was .... evidently ... um, unsaved on my laptop).ugh.
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 **Be sure to visit the STORE PAGE on the site below
for FREE REGISTRATION of
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~a brief monthly Newsletter containing "3 DIVISIONS"~
1/Televised Boxing Schedule2/Article3/Video interview
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~RICKY RAY TAYLOR~
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