"Move, duck, punch....counter! Go Go Go....NOW!"
The endless cadence seems to still ring in my head as I caught endless jabs and hooks and returned them with countered straight rights and uppercuts to the body. This wasn't much different of a day from any other at ROC Boxing in upstate New York, where I am an amateur boxer, just me in the ring fighting seemingly endless rounds against my fellow boxers.
Then HE came in, and trust me the capital letters in HE does not do justice to the pure strength and intimidation that HE possesses.
He was a kid named A.J., strong, fast and hungry for a fight. My coach Bernie, looked from A.J. to me, back to A.J., and then smiled.
He said "Taylor meet A.J. he's new here and wants to look at the program, and he'll be your partner tonight." Me, being stupid (as usual) attempted to be amicable to this modern day Goliath to my David. I went right up to him and said "Hi!, I hope you like the facility!"
BIG MISTAKE GUYS
"Yeah whatever, I know I'm better than all of you anyways" responded the behemoth. Now I am Mike Tyson, at about 5'10, 145 lbs. , I have trouble intimidating my 5-year- old cousin.
"Well we'll have to see about that then" I said.
"Whatever" came the reply.
Twenty-five minutes later, we entered the ring ready to go toe to toe for three 3-minute rounds, and right from the beginning, he wanted to hurt me.
The first punch that caught me was a left hook right to my jaw that sent me reeling back to the ropes. I just survived the first round before stumbling back, looking like I had just been caught in a Three Stooges movie. Bernie caught me first. "What the HELL was that?!"
"I don't know Bernie? I'm being overpowered perhaps?"
From here, Bernie went on some tirade about how I needed to step around his hooks and counter, but I was too hazy to listen to it all.
As we went out for the second round, my sixth sense kicked in. I was guessing, and blocking every single punch.
That's when it turned sour.
I stepped under a straight right and felt the leather of my glove hit his headgear. The sound of it sickened me. I'm a guy who got into boxing to get his weight up, not pummel a guy into the ground, so seeing a 185 lbs. mass of human flesh drop isn't exactly on my bucket list, but I did.
As A.J.'s trainer (or dad) stepped in to get him to his feet I sulked back to the corner. "You did good kid" said Bernie, and I was surprised by the lack of emotion in his voice.
I had just dropped a man and Bernie acted like this was totally normal!
Of course I'll continue to box, I love it, make no mistake. The next time I get challenged to a fight however, I'll stick to body shots, thank you very much.