Yesterday evening was an historic evening in my locality and in my country. The most famed trainer and promoter in Ireland retired, both from boxing and from his day job. It was well publicised by the media and people made a great deal of fuss over this occassion.
I woke yesterday morning with the knowledge that this man had a great effect on my life. I knew how to box before I met him, but he taught me something different. He taught me how to fight.He deicated Sixty years of his life to boxing and in his last five years he made me feel like I was the special one he'd waited for his entire life. He referred to me as "the prodigy." He got me good fights, even better spars and made a number of connections that will pay divideneds in the years to come. So yesterday I wanted to pay tribute to him.
I finished work and walked towards his small shop where I knew he would be. I was delighted to see a national television camera waiting outside. He arrived momnets later leading an entourage of old men. These were all as I knew, retired fighters. I smiled and crossed the road. He was mobbed by peole and he reached over a mans head to shake my hand. "A great grip" he remarked. I chuckled and winked. "I told you I'd get you that Irish Title this year." "You did" he remarked "now bring back another one next year." A little taken aback I waited for him to speak to me agin, but he busied himself with the other people around the shop. I waited on until he walked toward the door again. "We'll talk to you again he said" and closed the door in my face.
He was presented as a man who was all about boxing on the news, who took care of his fighters and cared. I realise that I'd only spent Five of his Sixty years training under him, but when other guys left for other gyms I remained and always credited him for my victories. When I think about it, I was the one that allowed his repuatation to remain unscathed, because I fought for him really. My parents were very disconcerted at the recpception I received, but I claimed he had been busy and unable to talk to me at the time. The truth is he blew off a fighter who had been loyal to him for the past Five turbulent years, stayed until he was applauded for partaking in the preparation for my Championship fight and then closed the door on my face.