It's an incredible feeling to win. It's exhilirating to dominate your opponent in a fight. It makes you feel unstoppable and superhuman. I've had fights like that. I've knocked out opponents quickly. I've been on highlight reels. It's incredible...
But, those aren't the fights that I love most. They're not the fights that make me better. They're not the experiences I hold dearest. It's the tough fights, the bangers, the close ones, the drawn out wars that I've been in that make me the fighter I am today. It's these that have been the brick and mortar of my character. It's these tests that have shown me what I'm capable of.
This last Saturday, April 11th, I took part in one of these special fights. It was a 5 round battle that was decided by 1 point. I had the pleasure of fighting Eddie Martinez, of Sitan Gym Connecticut for the prestigious WBC National Welterweight Championship Title.
I was victorious by all three judges scorecards. That made me feel amazing, and the green and gold belt strapped around my waist after my hand was raised was the biggest ribbon that's been bestowed on me to date. That, however, was only the icing of the cake.
In truth, the thing I gained was earned by both Eddie and myself over every hard fought second of that fifteen minutes. It was the amazing opportunity we were given to push ourselves to our limits by another of our level being placed in front of us and competing for the same thing.
I'm very thankful to have spent 3 hard fights in the ring with Eddie. 45 hard fought minutes that forced us to dig deep and be our best. He has won fights. I've won fights. Some easy, some hard.
He and I are both better fighters after having fought on Saturday.
I respect Eddie very much as a fighter. He deserved that fight as much as I did, and I'm so glad that we both got to shine for that time. True, I left with the belt that night, but the real trophy was taken home by both of us.
We both wanted to 'win' and we both did. As a competitor, I know the pain and heartbreak of seeing another man's hand being raised. But in time, I hope Eddie looks back at last weekend and feels as proud of himself as I am of him.
As a fighter, I cannot do what I love to do alone. For pushing me to be my best and forcing me to find my own strength, I can never thank Eddie enough. Much love to Eddie and those who felt any disappointment in watching my hand being raised on Saturday.
Be proud of Eddie for the amazing fight we had, and happy for him that he got to be the best version of himself for 15 minutes, a man born to shine inside those ropes.