The weeks and months of hard work paid off and i found myself victorious by knockout in the second round.
logistically, the event was less than sound with wildly off time weigh ins, inadequate warm ups and a distracting ambiance. However the venue was beautiful, the crowd was borderline uncontrollable and the excitement in the atmosphere was palatable.
I came in lighter than I hoped at exactly 175lb, probably due to inappropriate nutrition in the weeks prior and putting my opponent and I at exactly the same weight.
I entered the ring as confidently could be expected with my crutch of a knee and felt great about my chances. And from my observations, Burke had the same mentality.
The initial strategy discussed between Mario and myself was to walk into range immediately, throw two or three wildly aggressive blows (positive outcome not required) to demonstrate power and then step out, control the ring and pick opportunities to get inside and work body. While great in theory, I misstepped in the initial confrontation, ate a few punches and instead of stepping out and trying again I involuntarily elected to stand stationary and see how many bombs I could eat with my face. The first two punches that hit me knocked out both of my contacts so now I was completely blind and swinging aimlessly at colours in front of me.
There was a moment early where I asked myself what I’d gotten into. I hadn’t even considered the possibility of losing and certainly not immediately. So I wisely decided to keep standing there and taking punch after punch directly in the face. Despite this, I’m sure I was the aggressor and controlled the center of the ring. Burke clearly didn’t like fighting close.
We had a brief pause when my chin strap came over my face and as I walked to my corner, it struck me that even though I’d probably been hit about 15 times at this point, none of them had hurt my in any way and I wasn’t even out of breath. Mario, ever the eloquent songbird of a coach, imparted me with this gem of church-worthy wisdom:
“You fuckin’ mook. You donut. Why don’t you stand there and get hit more, you c$^%. Go ahead, you boob. Don’t throw any punches. Just keep getting hit, you fuckin’ idiot. ”
As we got called back in he called that if I didn’t get busy, I’d lose the round, and slapped me in the head.
15 seconds later I got inside, landed three body shots and followed up with a straight right to the jaw that dropped him with what looks like a vicious throat punch.
He made the count but the round was finished. Fortunately I’m sure I hurt his knuckles with my face and hadn’t thrown more than 5 punches so as soon as we entered the second round I dropped him again quickly.After he once again made the count it took about 10 more seconds to drop him with a flurry and, the best part, watched him do the jiggly-leg-stand-up-fall-down; my to date life time highlight. The ref, judge and coach called the fight. He was done.
Mario and Counterpunch Promotions put on a terrific event and his training was incredible. I can’t thank my support crew enough. The boys from Sault Ste Marie, the McMaster crew, everyone at TD Waterhouse(London, Hamilton, Toronto, St Catharines), my trainers from No Excuse Fitness and their guests and my fantastic family for making the trip down.