This montage is from the Laila Ali vs. Christi Martin fight. You read that right: Ali has a daughter, in case you haven't heard. She towered over Christi. And knocked her out. Did that keep her from getting back in the ring? No way.
With a career spanning from 1989 to 2011, her last recorded fight was in 2011. It stopped in the 6th round because she broke her hand. Read: Tough Cookie.
The reason I bring her up: yesterday was the Coal Miner's Race in Louisville. Around and around we went on a 2 mile circuit. Blows were traded - attacks and counters. Keeping your head in the game and your wits about you is crucial to succeeding. In a small field of 15, there's no room to hide. You have to work. You are also going round and round with more than one opponent. You must calculate the risk of break combinations that go up the road. You must calculate your tank and its reserves, monitoring it's levels and knowing how many matches you have. Thankfully, you aren't getting punched in the head. Instead your legs are taking the blows.
Final lap - judge decision time. No TKO's today - the field is compact and together. Jockey for position, sitting fourth/fifth wheel before the final bend. It's show time. Time to demonstrate your tactics, your sprint, your power. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. Yesterday it worked. Another win. Another set of goosebumps so big and then a wave of nausea - making me feel so alive. So thankful for the opportunity to compete. So grateful my sport no longer involves broken noses, black eyes and constant concussions.
I may have stopped boxing a decade ago, but the competitor never faltered. I love this shit.