GO THE UNDERDOG
Apologies right from the start, but this article has absolutely nothing to do with anything marine! Departing from Broome on the first weekend of the school holidays was interesting for a few reasons. We planned to leave before the expected influx of visitors, but our daughter organised a visit that had her flying out on the Sunday afternoon. With the Cable Beach Caravan Park completely booked out, we were unable to book another day, so pulled out early in the morning. The other pressing issue for me was the Jeff Horn vs Manny Pacquiao world title fight, which was due to commence at approximately 1130am, televised live at the local tavern.
There will be some wondering how a boxing match could possibly be that important and others who dislike the ‘sport’ immensely, but each to their own and hey, you don’t hear me complaining about people watching darts, lawn bowls or synchronized swimming. I have been following Jeff Horn for some time for a few reasons that you may relate to. He is an ex phys ed teacher, quietly spoken, was bullied as a kid and lacks the more aggressive and loud mouthed antics of some higher profile sportspeople. And he was a massive underdog.
My interest in boxing first developed as a 15 yr old in the western suburbs of Sydney, after the local hoodlum, Frank, bashed me senseless all the way up the road from the local high school, without me even raising a hand in anger. You see at the time, my mum had told me never to fight back, so that’s exactly what I did. At the start of the fracas, Frank was cheered on by a baying mob, but when I posed no resistance, he became frustrated, angry and before long the mob were screaming for him to leave me alone. When I came home covered in blood, my dad was incensed, keen to know the culprit, but I would not reveal his name. Instead, I booked myself into the local Police Boys Club for boxing lessons. My first visit was unfortunate, as I was put in the ring with a seasoned boxer, who proceeded to do what Frank had done. Perhaps this was a test back in those days, so when I fronted up again the trainer took more time with me and after nine months I had what I wanted and left. Whilst I never had dreams of a world title, I did make sure that Frank was paid back in kind, but that started a difficult period for me as I soon learnt there was always someone else looking to goad you into fighting. In later years I became a qualified boxing coach, started boxing and self defense lessons in schools and assisted in setting up the inaugural Margaret River Boxing Club with the late Ted Wright and John McTaggart. One rule in the co-ed school courses was simple. If you got involved in a fight at school, you were removed from the class and this only happened once to get the message across. Courses were designed to build confidence, teach students how to avoid trouble and use self defense strategies only when absolutely necessary. So you see, when a young, nice, single minded guy like Jeff Horn was given a shot at a world title against an absolute legend like Manny Pacquiao ( ten world titles in eight different divisions ), I just had to watch it. As they say, the rest is history and yes, I yelled long and hard when he got the decision. I only hope he can retain his composure in the new world he has now entered.
To answer last week’s question, the famous WA sailor who was the first to single handedly circumnavigate Antarctica was Jon Sanders. This week’s question is, “What weight division did Jeff Horn fight in?”
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