Last month, publisher Rob Wilkins wrote about the debut, and subsequent retirement, of Mack Truck Menzies -that’s me. At least it was for one exciting evening last November in Toronto.
Based on the feedback and inquiries I’ve received since then, I figured I’d stray from trucking this month to provide my own account of the events. (Hey, it’s the first time I’ve written about a subject not directly related to trucking in this space since my beloved Flames lost the Stanley Cup in 2004).
So how did, as Rob put it, a “mild-mannered journalist” find himself in the boxing ring? Well, I’ve dabbled in the sweet science for a couple of years, primarily for fitness and also because I have a real appreciation for the challenges of the sport and the commitment required by its participants.
I love the fact it’s an individual sport and there are real consequences for making a mistake. It’s not like stick-and-ball sports, where the worst that can happen is a goal against. When your opponent scores against you in boxing, it hurts!
My boxing ambitions were realistic -to get in shape and maybe even
do some full-contact sparring from time to time to sharpen my skills. However, when I found out about a charity boxing event for working professionals (mostly bankers), I was intrigued. So I signed on to fight, and spent eight weeks training under former Canadian champ, Mario Lechowski.
Training for a cause was energizing. It’s easy to get motivated to go out for a run in the rain when you envision yourself laying on the canvas in front of a few hundred spectators, including friends, family and colleagues.
The weeks flew by and I was feeling confident on fight night. Mario had observed my opponent sparring and gave me the following words of advice: “All he has is a big right hand, if you get hit with that, you did something stupid and deserved to get hit.”
My opponent was quite a bit bigger than I was. I wasn’t deterred. As far as I was concerned he’d be a lot slower (he wasn’t) and would tire quicker (he didn’t).
The bell went and the rest was a blur. My nose got introduced to that right hand Mario warned me about early and often. But I hung in there and I think we put on one of the more entertaining bouts of the night.
In the end, I lost a decision, but at least it went the distance.
And now for the requisite trucking tie-in. Hmm…Well, a lot of you are taking your lumps out there right now. Hang in there, and take some comfort in the fact that final bell will eventually sound. And when it does, if you’re still on your feet, you can climb out of the ring with a lot of pride and a little bit stronger.
In Rob’s column, he expressed some relief in the fact “Mack Truck” announced his retirement after the fight. It’s true, he did -from the heavyweight division, at least. But I’m beginning to get the itch for a shot at redemption. A lower weight class and a new ring moniker could be in order.
Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see a return to the ring. How does James “The Frenzy” Menzies, sound? •