|June 12, 2015|
This time, I am a little older and not as strong as I was when I started. I can still hit hard, but not that really satisfying pop I would feel 8 years ago. On the day of my fight, I could feel myself getting very hot and sweaty. This happened again when I was getting my hands wrapped. I don't know how many other boxers have experienced hot flashes on the day of their fight, but I can tell you it is disconcerting. I knew this month was going to be tougher because my cycle was coinciding with the fight, but did not know how it would pan out. It panned out in hot flashes. I tried to imagine Mayweather having a hot flash. I decided to laugh at it because....what are my choices, really?
The biggest task of the day was to relax and try to be calm enough in the ring so my training paid off. This was difficult when I looked to the other side of the gym and saw a bigger girl who, when she hit the pads, popped them very loudly. To make matters worse, my coach knew her from his days of training at Gold's. She was a fitness person, into lifting weights. She could be a lot stronger than me. 7 lbs heavier and 7 years younger. Why did I agree to fight a bigger girl? I must have been delusional. This is all stuff that can get into your head if you let it and it was knocking on my mind's door. I knew from experience to let it keep knocking until it was drowned out by another sound. My confidence in my movement, my boxing. I have sparred bigger, stronger girls and I still do. I can hold my own for the most part, even against the pros. I had to practice letting those thoughts pass through my head. Those thoughts of "What if? She looks strong," etc. For every fighter, our minds play tricks on us leading up to the fight. Some worry about their weight, others worry they will get too tired, some that they won't be able to relax. It's a constant practice of letting go of these thoughts. None are helpful. None will do you any good.
The fight came upon us quickly as we were the fifth bout. My coach, Rich, had me practice defense, movement and hit the pads. He wanted me to go in warm and relaxed. At least I was warm!
The first round he told me to take it easy and feel her out, but when the bell rang, I started jabbing and felt the need to engage. We exchanged and I got some good shots in, but it was chaotic. After the round, I sat on the stool and Rich told me my heart rate was too high. My other coach, Cliff, was calmly telling me to breathe and relax. I locked eyes with him and drank in the calming energy. Then, Rich said that I was making it too hard on myself. Just stay with my style and box in and out and it would be an easy fight if I did that. In the second round, I was able to get into a groove, get a little swag on and fight my fight. I could tell I was winning. In the third, I continued on and went in for some more combos. Even with my mistakes and awkward moments, I felt like I won. When they announced that I did, I made sure not to make a dorky face because whenever I win, I seem to make a dorky face like I am surprised. Then I have to look at the picture and regret it forever. I congratulated my opponent for getting in the ring. It takes giant balls to do your first fight and she was just initiated into the club.
Now, because of a delay in the schedule for my next film, it looks like I will be fighting in July at the National Golden Gloves. There is another "little old lady" as I like to say, who is willing to get into the ring and fight. She will be exactly my size. It will again, coincide with my cycle and I will be flying on a redeye to get out there so it will take a while for me to feel rested. Nothing like stacking the deck against yourself. But I do know, at the end of the fight, that even with mistakes, fatigue, even a possible loss, the fight will give me confidence. In the beginning, I didn't know if I would be able to survive three or four rounds, let alone win a fight. I didn't know if I would be able to relax or breathe or work through my demons enough to be present. With four wins behind me now, I beat those odds. Everything else is a hot flash of gravy.