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The Dark Destroyer vs The Crippled Crackpot
Crackpot Mailbox: JohnPaul Barber and James Discuss Comebacks
Postmortem Hate Training
JohnPaul Barber
Fri, Sep 13, 8:53 PM (2 days ago)
Hey James,
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your Postmortem Hate Training Logs and I’m glad to see you’re serious about getting back in shape. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence you’re doing this at the same time Nigel Benn announces he’s coming out of retirement from boxing at the age of 55.
If he can do it, you can do it, James. Just ramp up that Hate Training and you’ll be ready to get back in the ring in no time. I won’t be satisfied til I see an advertisement during TVLand commercial breaks for “The Dark Destroyer vs The Crippled Crackpot” Live on PPV for $4.99!
-John Paul Barber
I am flattered that I would even be considered for the sacrificial victim in this event!
Maybe we could do it as a benefit for South Africa: If I win, Nigel adopts a Boer child. If he wins, I instruct Nigerian laborers in advanced machete combat from the comfort of my Stephan Hawkins AI wheel chair...
Okay, about my once-upon-a-time boxing ability:
Reds Foley had been a pro and knew I didn't have the goods and just used me for punching bag for his fighter with potential, who I had never hit in months of sparring, although my retarded ass could hit the bag a lot harder than him.
We were then taken by my sparring partner's father, Reds and Mister Joe, his assistant, to fight some other guys at the Charlaroi, PA gym. This was the gym where Michael Moorer would be trained by his grandfather. We get there and these three old Italian guys smoking cigars are standing their with this 170-pound Bantu warrior who looks like he's carved out of iron. Joey was his height, but maybe 154. I was 4 inches shorter at 143.
There was not a guy for both of us, just this guy.
Joey's dad, standing behind his son, grabbed him by the shoulders and drew him back protectively and declared, "No."
This was my chance to shine! So I stepped forward and said, "I'll fight 'em," and the Bantu warrior looked down at me in astonishment and every old man in the gym shook their heads "no," not wanting to be a party to murder it seemed. Red's rolled his eyes in disgust at me—he didn't even like me, with good reason, for I boxed in order to be able to fight outside the ring—his sacred place. I stood there like an idiot looking around for some note of approval, which did come, from the 170-pounder and the 154-pounder for whom I served as a moving punching bag.
Not having the sense to realize I had been judged lacking for the sport, I stood their confused at an idiot 13-years of age. Mister Joe, took pity on me and stepped up and put his hands on my shoulders like Joey's Dad had with him, whispering in my ear, "His too big, Son."
Then I protested out loud, "But I'll be able to catch 'im. He won't be able to get away."
Mister Joe patted me with one hand on my shoulder as he turned me away from the rival boxer and said, kind of nicely, "He won't try to get away."
That's when I realized that not a man running the sport in my tiny corner of it had the least shred of confidence in my ability.
So, Joey and I were put into the ring and Mister Joe said that this would be a fight, not just sparring. Knowing what I know now as a coach, this was probably only a fight in my mind, and was just a sparring demonstration for Joey, with Mister Joe shaping a real ring experience for me between the two of us. As those three Italian old men and the others stood buy, Reds cornered Joey and Mister Joe cornered me and, somewhere in the third round I finally—after eating jabs like a fool for two-point-something rounds—hit him in the spleen with a right shovel hook and he buckled. Not knowing what to do, I began swinging at him and he restored his composure and jabbed the shit out of me. After the fight he said, "God, you hit hard."
Reds was further disgusted at me for trying bang up his fighter and I decided I was going to train myself to fight wrestlers, football players, karate guys, and I did. When I went to the YMCA, I went to the weight room while Red's was up in the furnace room doing the boxing, and I'd only go up and hit the bag when he wasn't there.
I would fight 7 bare-knuckle brawls against wresters, football players and farm boys.
In later years I would spar and train with good amateur and professional boxers and kick-boxers and generally get hurt.
In the spirit of experimentation, my training partners and I fought small glove bouts with foam karate hands, kempo gloves and MMA gloves. These guys were amateur and recreational boxers, karate men, wrestlers and assorted ball players, none pro-quality athletes, except for my brother who KO'd me once with a right to the floating rib and then once out-punched me about 400 to 10 over three rounds, resulting in him being unable to continue due to having taken up smoking and coughing up brown goo on my shoes and having sprained both of his wrists beating on me. I should note that most of these ended in draws, with me being injured. The final bout I did, with kenpo gloves against TaeKwonDo purple belt and stick-fighter Chuck Goetz, resulted in me being stopped with a punch to my chest which locked up my intercostals. The month before I had my nose broken at the Loch Raven Gym by a teenage light heavyweight, Bernard, an average amateur about Nigel Benn's size.
When training with the Loch Raven Boxing Team, even though my form and footwork was as good as the pros, my power was gone from shoulder injuries, I could not take body shots, and Mister Frank told me to put away dreams of boxing at 40 years of age, that I was better suited for coaching. So he trained my to coach instead of fight. I should also say that Johnny Coiley also advised me not to fight competitively in my late 20s. My hands were just too slow.
This brings me back to my long-standing desire to have a pro fight, even though I never thought I'd win. I was not quick enough to do any good in amateur boxing, but could take a lot of punishment and could hit hard up until I tore my scalpula away from my left shoulder at age 27—actually, a heavyweight I fought with foam hands did it for me. In my late 20s, my wife and I were watching some televised fights while I was serious about going to Loch Raven and talking Frank into getting me in the ring. My favorite fighter was Doug Duitt, who was not particularly talented but was supper tough and had a style similar to mine, although he was a good deal bigger. We watched him fight Nigel Benn and my wife was crying her eyes out, imagining this happening to me.
The guy in the highlight real that has a similar style to mine is Yeo, only Yeo would beat me to a pulp inside of a round. In fact, if I get in shape, I'll probably be built like Yeo. Watch what Ben did with him at about 2:15.
Next fight after that is Chantler, a guy I wish I could fight like, who I never would have laid a glove on.
So, here are odds for different fights I could conceivably have with Nigel:
100-1: LaFond eats the canvas within 10 seconds
Boxing versus Stick
10-1: LaFond Kayoed in first round
Stick-Fight [Nigel's first my 670something]
Ben 3 to 1
Boxing versus Knife
Even fight
A Knife Fight
Ben the 5-1 favorite
Boxing versus Bat
2-1 Ben
Boxing versus Machete
10-1 LaFond takes off an arm, though Ben might still knock his ass out before he bleeds out...
As aspiring combatants, we want to be realistic about measuring ourselves against prize-fighting greats, who occupy the top 1% of the top 1% of close combatants in terms of Darwinian ability.
Thanks for the vote of Confidence JohnPaul Barber.
Letters from Planet Meathead: A Fighter’s View of Postmodern Physical Culture
Winter of a Fighting Life: A Kinetic Memoir
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Add Comment
GooseSeptember 16, 2019 11:35 AM UTC

Benn has an interesting style to my unseasoned eye: drops well-timed, well-placed bombs without much of an attempt at blocking in between (or at least holding his hands up high). Seems like constant smart moving is his preferred defensive tactic.