So this is my last year as a fighter, definitely, without a doubt, no more comebacks. After this year I am concentrating on my writing. My goal was to have six fights this year and then to call it quits. So far I have had two fights with mixed success. One win. One devastating loss. I am now going to take another fight next month on March 22nd at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Why am I doing it? Because, as I have said, this is the last year my body will allow me to and I don't want to have any regrets when I hang up the gloves forever. I have been haunted by the feel of my shin sinking into an opponent's ribcage for years now and the thought that I might never feel that sensation again. I know that sounds violent, unfathomable for some. How could I possibly long for such a grotesque feeling? But for me that feeling of my shin cutting deep into a ribcage and shattering bone is no different then the feel of a baseball bat connecting perfectly with a ball. That feeling that you know you have just hit a homerun. I'm sure every baseball player who retires from the game misses that feeling. It is no different then the feel of a basketball rolling off your fingers at just the perfect angle with just the perfect spin and you know even before it goes swishing through the hoop that you have just hit a three-pointer. I'm sure Larry Bird still misses that sensation. For me it is the same as a quarterback throwing the perfect pass or a golfer landing the perfect putt. It is a moment of perfection. And I will miss it when it is gone.
Since I started training again I have lost 25lbs. I almost feel like a kid again. When I first started training I was walking around at 255 and would balloon up to 260 if I wasn't careful. I weighed in for my last fight at 229. Only 3 pounds off my fighting weight before I retired. In fact, most of my fights back in my twenties took place at about 226. By this next fight I may even weigh that again, though I am trying to pack on some more muscle. I look better. I feel better about myself. At this moment, I am living the way I have always wanted to live.
I am managing myself right now so I don't have anyone making backdoor deals or passing up good fights waiting for the bigger, better, deal. I see a fight I like and I sign the contract. This is how it should have always been.
I will be 38 years old this year. It is definitely time to call it quits. I will have my first mass-market paperback coming out this year. For the first time I will be able to say that I am a published author without putting any qualifiers on it or having to explain what the small press is and how it works and why my books are not available at Borders or Barnes and Nobles. Now my book will be available at Barnes and Nobles. It is all perfect timing.
Next year all of my goals will revolve around writing and perhaps opening my own gym somewhere. I have two unfinished books that I need to finish and two more finished novels that I need to rewrite to make them saleable. That should keep me busy. Hopefully, I'll still find the motivation to workout and won't start letting myself go. I really don't want to fit the stereotype of a writer and look like a sedentary blob. I want my skin to always be at least within half an inch of my skeletal muscular system with very little fat between the two. Some guys can pull that heavy look off. I ain't one of them.
I'm thinking of taking up running marathons and long distance bike racing and then learning to swim so I can one day complete a triathalon. It's now been four years since I ran the San Diego marathon. You know what? I think I'll sign up for the next one today. It's not until June. That gives me 13 weeks to train. I can do it. Whatever gets me away from the computer for a few hours so my muscles don't completely atrophy and I'm sure I'll still get in the ring to spar with my students every now and again once my career is over. At least until I get too old and that becomes too much for me to handle.
At any rate, it will be with no regrets that I will say goodbye to the sport of Muay Thai kickboxing this year. It has been good to me. I hope I will go out victoriously with more wins this year then losses, but either way, come 2009, I'm out.