Kelly's World: Emulating Nick Blackwell
This week, I draw my inspiration from a British chap, one who has become more famous because he nearly died.
Boxer Nick Blackwell, 25, the former British middleweight champion, retired from the sport after he awoke from a seven-day induced coma. Blackwell took a beating in his failed title defence against Chris Eubank Jr, who, like his dad, seems like one helluva fighter. By the way, Eubank Sr has a Jamaican connection (mek sense, we love fight). Anyway, Blackwell collapsed after the fight, and it was found he was bleeding in his skull (ouch!). But he's awake, and at least, for now, might actually lead a normal life. Years from now, who knows.
The troubling thing is, even though Blackwell nearly heard the figurative final bell, nobody is blaming the referee for not stopping the fight sooner (he finally did in the 10th round). The only reason the official did stop the fight was because Blackwell's eye was too swollen. In fairness, he could only see out of one eye. But he kept fighting. And according to most people who watched the fight, they agree that he didn't seem like he was in any serious trouble.
And therein is my point to all this. We all take punches in life, and human nature is to fight back (especially when we feel there is something worthwhile to fight for). But sometimes we get punch-drunk - which, to my understanding of the term, is we just keep absorbing shots, trying to fight our way out of the figurative and literal corner. The problem is, sometimes we don't realise, or want to realise, that we're taking too much punishment. But no self-respecting boxer is going to look at his corner and say, "I'm done." No 'real' boxer is going to admit he or she is in too much pain, or can't see from one eye. Heck, I'll just use the other one. It might win you a few fights, but at what cost?
Who decides when it's time to give up the fight? You? Your corner? The referee? A combination of all three? I don't know. All our fights are different. Our opponents may be similar, but our techniques, tenacity and temperament are all unique. I'm no neurologist, but Blackwell - I am going to assume - must have known he was hurt. But he kept taking shots. So after all that sparring, roadwork, skipping and endurance building, Blackwell's going to have to find something else to do with his life. But hey, at least he was a champion.
Unlike him, we can't or shouldn't retire from life (or can we?). But like a punch-drunk fighter, I don't think I know when to quit. So I'm prepared to go out like boxers such as Benjamin Flores, Daniel Aguillon and Benny 'Kid' Paret, who almost literally left it all in the ring, knocked unconscious and never recovered. But they never quit. No towels will be thrown in from this corner. Cue my ring entrance music.
• Spar with me at firstname.lastname@example.org