Saturday, August 4, 2007

And so it begins...

Tuesday, July 17
"You're the only guy in Indianapolis who could sell more tickets than Chris Lytle," Keith Palmer said. Our laughter echoed in the warehouse space Lytle and associates are using to prepare for his August 11 fight at Conseco Fieldhouse. The space, dubbed Throwbacks Boxing and MMA Gym, is little more than a cinderblock cube filled with wrestling mats, punching bags and a boxing ring tucked in a far corner. I was there to shoot a web video with Lytle to run with a story I wrote about mixed martial arts.
"When are you going to fight?," Palmer said, pushing the issue. I met Palmer several years ago through amateur boxing. The one-time pro pug started as a trainer and ended up managing fighters and promoting mixed martial arts shows. Lytle, a veteran of more than 60 fights in the US, UK, and Japan, including more than a dozen for the Pancrase and Ultimate Fighting Championship organizations, is Palmer's biggest client.
He knows I've got a passbook from USA Boxing, that I've stepped into the ring at Golden Gloves, that I have been a martial arts enthusiast for years and that I have developed a rabid appetite for MMA. And he wants me to fight on one of his cards.
My brain was an octagonal cage for the rest of the day, thoughts crashing from wall to wall like heavyweight prizefighters. I am an avid critic of fighters and the fight game. I talk trash about technique, but could I really do any better when the shit hits the fan? I go 5'10", 250 - superheavyweight with a welterweight's reach. Can I get in real fight shape as I approach 30? Am I capable of committing to a real fight camp? Am I brave enough, crazy enough, stupid enough, insecure enough to step into a cage and trade leather with someone?
I called the fight promoter tonight and asked him if he was serious. He was. Oh, man.

2 comments:

Penny said...

Remember, Tom Laughlin didn't make the billy jack movies until he was in his thirties, it took them 12 years to raise the money. you are still a youngster relatively speaking, and sounds like you have the determination to give it your best shot, don't think about 'failure', what the hell does that mean anyhow?
i have been considering getting back into karate, and i am 39 and know i can still kick some serious ass.

Neal Taflinger said...

You're serious about Billy Jack, aren't you!