jesse kaellis en Lifestyle, beBee in English, Writers Bally's. Trop, Dunes, Caesars, Sahara. Landmark, Barbary, State Line, on and on. • 21 joints. I counted them again. 3/11/2016 · 3 min de lectura · +100


Manny Sobral and some other guy. 



I was coaching at the North Burnaby Boxing Club a couple of days a week. I was helping Manny out with the kids mostly. Sometimes you'll get a guy starting late who wants to fight.

Late would be anybody over 18 really, in my opinion. I had my first fight at 27, very late, especially at lightweight. Smaller men with fast metabolisms age faster. 

Heavyweights have been known to start late and have success. It's still rare, though. I managed to be able to fight on account of having an experienced friend and mentor and also I have naturally heavy hands. That helped. When you are older, you lose flexibility, speed, and your mind is not as open. Children learn more easily. 

The gym offered a first workout free. So guys and some girls would show up, and I would show them stuff. Stand like this. I’d show them how to jab. I'd hold up my right hand. Gimme a jab!
I had ‘em all lined up. Some guy, early twenties, ”Gimme a jab.” He hits my hand. No power, zero. Robert, the 13-year-old, hit three times harder. Robert weighed about 100 lbs. This guy was a cruiser-weight. 180-190 lbs. I told him to jab again. "Do you lift weights?" "Yeah." He had that kind of bogus deep voice. "Maybe you should stop lifting for a while. Smooth out." "I'm not smooth?" He had a frog in his throat.

I drift off to another kid. Fuck him. I don't have time for that shit, and of course, he never came back. 

See, Manny needs the money from dues, but he doesn't have time to pay attention to the recreational boxers that now carry many gyms. Naturally, he focuses on his competitors because that's his future. You develop talent. I mean he asked me to come and help with these kids, and I didn't mind. I love Manny. He's part of my past, and he reminds me of Jamie; my friend, the one who died. 

A young man starts coming around, and he joins the gym. He plays in a rock band. I guess he weighs about 140. He's a little taller than me. I think he was 21 with long black hair. I didn't like the hair, but.

His name is Rocky, so he's got a good name there. His dad won a Golden Gloves. I start working with him. He's okay. He has average speed, decent power. Manny is not interested too much, and that should have told me something. I work with him on the focus pads. We spar a little on the floor. We couldn't get the ring. It was too busy. 

I'm telling him you have to run every day. Two miles is enough, could be enough. Twenty minutes. I ran more than that when I was fighting. 

I ended up drifting away from Manny's gym. I'm living in New West and going to Pep's gym. Tony Pep. Pep had a fighter at his gym, Hanna. She fought at 122. Very nice young lady, she is half Filipino and half Jamaican. She trained for over a year, and Pep put her on one of Manny's cards at the training center in North Burnaby there.

When we get there, the auditorium is full of spectators, fighters and fight people. I'm getting reacquainted with people, seeing old faces. I see Rocky, and he is very friendly and relaxed. He got a haircut which I approve. Hanna wins her fight on points, but the crowd was hostile. They resented her cute moves. Hanna looked like an open class fighter in some regards.

Then someone tells me that Rocky is fighting tonight. I was shocked. I couldn't believe it. "He's fighting?!" I go looking for him. I want to talk to him! There is such a thing as being too relaxed. It's his first fucking fight. What the fuck is wrong with him?

I couldn't find him. I went down to the shower room, the locker rooms; I went looking, and the next time I saw him was in the ring, and he was gloved up. The bell rang, his opponent came charging across the ring throwing punches and Rocky had his head up, he was -- it was like he was moving in a dream. He didn't last the round. He got stopped on his feet.

Yeah, well, big deal, right? He didn't get hurt. It was just the amateurs. But why even bother to get in there? Whatever zone an athlete gets into to perform, he wasn't there.
I didn't ask him how he thought he would have to feel living with that kind of humiliation for the rest of his life, but I have been stopped on my feet, and I wish it were something that didn't bother me, but it does and it will, permanently.

I saw Rocky in the West End about seven months after that. I was on my way to my job. I was wearing a security uniform. He was with a girl. And his hair was still short. He was looking good. Good looking young, man. He was a nice kid.

We talked. He seemed unfazed. He told me he was going to fight again. Which, that's good. He needs to redeem himself. Everybody's different. I took my losses hard.


jesse kaellis 3/11/2016 · #8

Thanks for the relevant you people. Very much.

jesse kaellis 3/11/2016 · #7

When you come through the other side of it -- my first fight which I lost by a close split decision -- I felt completely in the moment, fully alive, like you feel when you are five years old. It was beautiful. Thanks, Praveen.

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Praveen Raj Gullepalli 3/11/2016 · #6

#5 That sure was an Epiphany if any, that was not worth missing dear Jesse! ;)

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jesse kaellis 3/11/2016 · #5

There is something about fighting a grown man. Anyway, that's what Jamie told me when I spoke about the fear. And the fear is hard to articulate but every fighter feels it. One time I heard a kid asking Manny Sobral, who had numerous amateur and pro fights, this kid asked, "When does the fear go away?" "It never goes away!" I was startled. I always thought I was a coward for the fear I felt. I didn't realize how normal it was. It would have been easier for my if I had.

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Praveen Raj Gullepalli 3/11/2016 · #4

#3 True. The fights we fight as kids are soon forgotten and forgiven. Man to Man is Ego vs Ego and the repercussions are always at a different level :) Looking forward as always!

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jesse kaellis 3/11/2016 · #3

#2 Thank you, Praveen.It took me time before I could write about Jamie at all. From a story called, "I find myself in the ring." I'll publish that story on here soon. This part, "I've put off writing this story. Now I know why. I'm crying." It was still fresh in 2009. The grief.
It's hard to start late in boxing. I didn't do as well as I would have like. Boxing takes time and I didn't have too much of it. In fact, I've never seen a person start even slightly younger than me but anything much over twenty and have notable success.
Part of it is psychological. When you're a kid you're just fighting other kids. It's a different fear level when it's another man.

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Praveen Raj Gullepalli 3/11/2016 · #2

That is a short punchy tale of a fight that I had a ringside view of (well, almost), dear Jesse! A fight that goes on in the mind far beyond the ring. Rocky is a good loser I think ;)! Needless to say, you carry your scars well. But I'd surmise, more as a witness than as a victim, for you have distanced yourself enough from them to be able to analyse and write about them. And how can we forget Jamie? Jamie & Me...that sounds like a good book tribute to me. I'd buy that in a jiffy!

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jesse kaellis 3/11/2016 · #1

Thank you, Maria. Thank you, Tracy.