Friday, April 11, 2008

The Metallic Taste

I felt rusty moving around the ring. I hadn't box sparred in a week. Two months ago I was getting my face mashed at least three times a week.

"Beat the shit out of them," Mike, my ever supportive trainer said to Fabian.

Fabian is a nineteen year old, 160 pound, latino, who had on his own head gear, the "mark" of a real boxer. The head gear was black with a white interior. A black bar came across the middle of his face, making him look like a medieval knight who doesn't give a fuck about his chin. There was no bottom strap to protect his chin. The head gear was designed to protect his nose. Maybe he thinks he can become a nose model later in life I thought while we waited for the bell to ring. He could wear different types and styles of nose rings. Maybe he wants to become a perfume tester, I continued to muse.

"Ding, Ding," said the round timer as it switched from red to green.

We touched gloves, his white laced up 16oz gloves tapping my own red pillows.

We dance around the ring and I start throwing out my jab. About a third of them connect with his skull. My momentary happiness is smashed away with his fists. I cover up and try to throw a left uppercut right up the middle into his unprotected chin. Yesterday I saw Soren Mongkontron, beat the shit out of a canadian's chin with left uppercuts. The impression had created momentum in my body. The uppercut landed, but given my pillows, my lightweight, and my slow motion speed, nothing happened. There was a slight break than Fabian started in with a combination.

"Work the body, work the body," Mike said.

I began to lower my punches. Fabian is taller than me by a couple inches and getting into his body was like dodging bulltets spewed from a gatling gun. It was only when the round was over that I realized that Mike's advice was for Fabian.

The next round Fabian stood out and I got a go at my training partner Tong Syvatong. Tong and I have been training constantly for our upcoming bout. We run together, we knee spar together, we do sit ups together, we complain about our trainer together. When I think of my friends I think about how well I know them yet with Tong despite all the time we spend together I hardly know him at all... well I know his body. I know he has a slow but powerful right hand. I tried to remember all I knew about my friend.

I jabbed the fuck out of his face and felt some satisfaction when I saw his nose start to drip out red fluid. That meant my jabs, my pawings into the air, was landing right where they were supposed to. Tong stopped to fix his leaking faucet and Fabian came back in the ring. Fabian worked my body a bit more, smashing a left hook into my body. I covered up and tried that left uppercut again with no avail. I started to see Fabian getting tired which lit a small fire under my ass. All I gotta do is work harder than him now, I thought. "His technique won't do him much good if he's gassed" said my fists as they aimed first high, then low into his body. We broke momentarily and I saw his left glove slightly speckled with red. He hasn't boxed Tong yet, I thought. Then I recognized the age old metallic taste in the back of my mouth. A bitter iron in the throat is a trademark of every boxer.

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