I will never forget the time I began and ended my boxing career. Who knows what kind of boxer I would have become if I had stuck with the popular sport. I always loved sports growing up, and I was never one to back down when it came to trying something new. Sometimes I wonder if my older brothers introduced me to sports for their amusement or if they really wanted me to succeed at them. You see I am the youngest of 5 children with 3 older brothers, the oldest, Mark is 9 years older then me, Jared 7 years older, and Nathan 4.5 years older. Me being the youngest brother always wanted to tag along with them, naturally. So when a new Boxing League was announced, you can say I was intrigued, or more like coaxed into joining it. So are you ready to hear about and witness one of the greatest boxing matches in history? Let’s begin.
The year was 1988. And oh what a year it was for boxing. My hero Mike Tyson had come into his own. In January of that year he defeated Larry Holmes with a fourth-round knockout to retain his heavyweight championship. In March of that year Tyson goes to Japan where he defeats Tony Tubbs by TKO, again retaining his undisputed Heavyweight title. Then in June, Mike Tyson knocks out Michael Spinks in the first round, in Las Vegas.
It was also the year I beat Mike Tyson…Yes I beat Mike Tyson at his own game. One of the greatest sports game ever, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. You could say I was primed for a boxing career. I was in great shape for a 10 year old, and had a full head of hair, something I am envy of. I could be like Mike. Both Mikes. Michael Jordan had one of his best years ever, averaging 35 points a game. But this is not about basketball. This is about boxing!
My older brothers Mark and Nathan decided to create a new boxing league, called NBF (Neighborhood Boxing Federation). Has a good sound to it right? Their goal was to train the neighborhood kids, and youngest brother, in the ways of boxing, not that they knew much about it. They tested out a few sparring matches here and there, to great success. So they would continue. I was 10 years old. I remember fondly…well kind of fondly, going with my friends and my brother Nathan, to his friend Shane’s house to practice. They taught us about hooks, uppercuts, jabs, body blows, pretty much the moves they had seen in boxing matches, and of course Punch-Out. There was a group of kids in my neighborhood that were friends, but the kind of friends that rubbed you the wrong way, and we tended to gang up on them. Hey, not proud if it, but I can’t change the past. So I was being prepped to fight Sean one of those friends. Sean was slightly shorter, but weighed much more then me. He had a temper too; oh did he have a temper.
Finally the practicing was over, if I remember right, it was like on a Saturday for like an hour. That was our practice/training. Hey it’s enough. The day of the match finally came. I had butterflies in my stomach as me and Sean, Sam and Binky, were weighed in. Sam was my friend and Binky was Sean’s friend. I weighed in at a whopping 69lbs! I had my trusty black shoes I was wearing for good luck…Yes I wanted to be like Mike…both Mikes. Sean weighed in at 80lbs. This was a huge difference; 11 pounds may not sound like much, but oh was it.
The four of us along with other friends and my brothers and Shane, walked out to the backyard. It was set up like a boxing ring, with garden hose used as the ropes. Nice touch bros. Then we were given mouth guards. Do we need mouth guards? Yes you are kids after all. We used orange slices as mouth guards. Again…nice touch bros, the boxing gloves were adult/teenager size, so they were almost the size of my head. Where were my mom and dad during all of this you may be wondering? Hey it was the 80s, things like this happened, and no one cared. They were out and my 19 year old brother Mark was in charge.
Mark then introduces all to the NBF. First match, Sam vs. Binky. Sam although skinny as heck, had long arms, and was fierce. He came out with a flurry of blows. Binky being shorter with not much of arm length rarely lands a blow. I remember Sam saying the words, “Learn how to fight, Binky.” Woah Sam, wow, you little trash talker. That was the first round, the second round, pretty much the same, Sam landing many blows, Binky dazed and confused, until finally he is not even trying to block, just standing there as Sam lands hit after hit. Mark finally calls the bout. Sam wins. This whole time my butterflies are raging.
I kneeled down, check my shoelaces, I can be like Mike, gotta make Mike proud…both Mikes. I grab the orange peel, plop it in my mouth, oh nice and sweet, nice. Then sit down on the green stool in my corner. My coach was my brother Nate, who is also the cameraman. Sean’s coach was Nate’s friend Shane. Funny thing is, Nate and Shane didn’t spend any time trying to train or practice with Sean beforehand. Mark announces the second match. Okay here we go! Rather then write about what happened, we documented the bout, one for the ages. Sit back relax and enjoy the match. It will be the best 4 and a half minutes of your life…lol probably not, but maybe you will laugh a little. My brother Nate, the one that is filming is hilarious with his commentary. He really gets into it.
There you go my friends. My brother probably should have put a new tape in and made sure the battery was charged…details. So halfway through the 3 round, the tape ran out. Who won? Well this is what happened, after the match, my brothers and Shane went into the family room and watched the match. Me, Sean, and the other kids were in the Garage, waiting to find out who one. It was a close match. In the end I was awarded the win by decision. I was happy. Sean was not, he cried, and ran home. Sorry about that. I feel bad, if you watch the video it seems like everyone wanted me to win, and even Sean’s “coach” didn’t have his back. It’s okay it didn’t ruin our friendship, we are still friends today.
I did decide though that I would retire that day from boxing. 1 – 0. The undefeated Champ of the NBF. Wait shouldn’t you have boxed Sam next? No that would have been silly, plus he would have destroyed me…
I hope you enjoyed this blast from the past,
Your Scorum Friend,
Matt aka @bayareasportsfan