Sweat drops splatter like ****** flies and a heavy bag sways before my eyes, and I’m alive. Inside the boxing gym, grit motivates me. It tantalizes me. It helps me see, life. Now I’m remembering a scene, a warm glow across a snowy wasteland. Miles away from status, palm trees, and celebrity parties; the lifestyle wasn’t for me. In Los Angeles dawn comes early. Harshness bounces off windowsills, luxury fades, gold-colored walls are hollow, and, in the end, we’re all eating off plastic plates. I am hungry for something else, substance.
I’m now near that snowy mountainside in Idaho, a wasteland, fields. Living in a place stripped of pretense. It's where I grow and come into my own. I find it in boxing too. Aren't we all alone?
I recall feeling alive in other places: Crenshaw’s flea markets in Los Angeles and Oak Cliff, Dallas. Less quiet, but when you walk out of the mist, adrift, listen to the beat, two thumbs tap on a hard surface, streets talk, winds whimper, a chaotic jungle of concrete, my mind in ecstasy. I am in constant search of risk though it’s slippery. Like a lion hunting antelope, I’m hunting steak. Risk. Grit. Fate. In life, and in boxing, there is much at stake.
Isn’t risk a game or an escape?
Boredom will **** a soul, so will fear, if you let it. I’ve seen the best, I won’t mention the rest. I’ve also been stuck in mud, buried like the rest in my disillusioned bulletproof vest. Boxing has rescued me, resurrected me. For all I see is realness, and you're alone. A jab, blood, spit, fluorescent lights flicker, airless, stale sweat, heat – all against a backdrop of a clock beating hard against a soft chest. It tests one’s inner strength. The ring is my haven, but I am no injured raven. I’m best in a cavernous place, a countryside, sprawling fields, a stark, crisp white napkin touches me. There’s luxury but I'm bare-faced, hitting the gas, running on empty. With every mistake I get back in the ring.
In the ring I can look in a man's eyes and see his soul. I know whether he's flourished alone by the spark in his eyes. And I'm silently putting on wraps, bearing the weight of a punch. I stumble back. Then I rise.