Dressed in all white is my first opponent, the formidable John Douglas. I have my chin down, elbows in and gloves pinned to my cheeks so I don’t have to worry about Douglas’ attacks from the sides. I’m determined to be the aggressor and take the fight to him. I keep my feet moving and shuffling, circling, crouching-down and forward, jabbing, and bobbing, moving inside, knocking heads. The kicks increase. Kicks collide with other kicks. The pace quickens. Then, at one point, Douglas suddenly moves to the left and dips to the floor. His leg swings around like a car door slamming. Swish! His leg hits me, causing our legs to get tangled, and I fall on top of him. The referees immediately separate us, and I instantly bounce back, I charge toward something white, thinking its Douglas but, in reality it is the TV lights. Bam! I run right into the lights and they start to fall over on the people standing around. Someone catches the pole and straightens them back up on their tripod, while Napoleon turns me around and shoves me back toward Douglas. Then, wham! John reverse punches me in the head. My hands drop. Big mistake. At that split-second when my abs relaxed, Douglas reflexively lunges in with a step-across sidekick that snaps against my relaxed solar plexus. I jerk back. My heart feels like it is stunned. I can’t breathe. I have been slammed with a potentially test-ending kick. Not wanting to go down with cameras rolling and reporters writing, I stand fast, sucking in as much air as possible as I tell myself, “Screw the pain! Pain is merely something that hurts!”
I crouch and move in. A flurry of punches follow until I hear, “Break,” and the first round is over.