Tamerlan Tsarnaev Defames the Boxing Community
It's ironic that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a terrorist. It defames boxers. As a group, boxers give and we take. We stand up to the punishment. I've fought with a badly broken nose and wouldn't take one step back. I kept coming forward out of pride -- to prove that I could take it. I cut my opponents lip up before I was rushed to the emergency room. I was proud of my not chickening out.
When I was knocked out by a Mexican in my first pro fight in Denver, a bunch of cowboys asked me, "What did you think you were doing out there?" I laughed. I could take a hit and an insult. I did not shoot them. I did not drop a bomb next to an eight-year-old. I was not a coward. I did not shoot my opponent in the locker room. I did not blow off his legs.
I could see killing a person if he annoyed me enough. I could never see killing an innocent person whom I didn't know. It takes courage to destroy a person in a fair fight. It takes cowardice to kill a person who doesn't even know that you want to kill him and doesn't have any weapons to fight back.
Bravery is taking punishment, not beating up weaklings. So how could Tamerlan, a boxer, be such a bully? He embarrasses my sport.
I used to be a CEO of a large insurance firm and I gravitated to boxing because I didn't like the bullying that went on in business. I didn't like how my peers pulled rank on their employees and abused them. I didn't like when a five-foot-four executive snapped at a six-foot-five clerk to get him his file and some coffee. I wanted to give the clerk a chance. I wanted him to be able to fight back.
And I didn't like the prissy arguing over line calls when I played tournament tennis. It was so much hissy fighting. I didn't want to hit the ball. My tennis coach, an ex-Wimbledon player, told me that I wanted to put the racquets down, climb over the net, and fight my opponent directly. His comment was one of the reasons I started boxing. But I never did anything on the courts. I wasn't rude. I believed in the rules of the game. I respected politeness.
I think Tamerlan had no heart. He would never have gone very far as a boxer. He wasn't even a pro. He was a bully. He beat up the defenseless. He was disgruntled that he couldn't try another shot at the Golden Gloves National Tournament of Championships in 2009 because the rules had changed and only American citizens were allowed to compete. Big deal. If he had any guts, he could have gone pro. I got kicked out of the amateurs for using a phony birth certificate that said I was 34 when I was 44. I was also kicked off a team that was supposed to fight the Norwegian Olympic team. I didn't cry or kill my neighbors.
I started a smoker White Collar League and fought about twenty-five initial fights before the Athletic Commission shut it down and I had to turn pro. If you want to fight, there is a way.
Tamerlan takes away others' legs because he doesn't have a leg to stand on. And his Muslim community, instead of degrading him, is silent. And the silence is death wandering around a graveyard, infiltrating potential new corpses.
It's ironic that Tamerlan became more religious when he quit boxing. Most boxers find religion in boxing. They bob up and down in their corners, praying. They thank the lord for their victories. Maybe Tamerlan really quit because he realized he just wasn't that good. So what? You don't have to blow up a city. Give it a rest, the ghost of Tamerlan.
It seems that Tamerlan was quite the show-off. He'd show up at fights with jazzy clothes, and he once played the piano while waiting to fight. He showed up at the New England Golden Gloves in a white silk scarf and leather pants. He was known to start arguments in the locker room.
I remember the obnoxious big mouths in boxing locker rooms. They were generally afraid and trying to puff their chests out to seem tough. They usually weren't particularly good. They might start well, but they weren't good finishers. When they started losing, they went down. They didn't fight it out to the end. Brazen people don't have staying power. They're all mouth.
Tamerlan is dead. He didn't have to take other people with him. If in his tiny intellect he was unhappy with Americans, he could have just killed himself. He wouldn't have discredited the boxing community, which I feel so much a part of. Let us turn from him. Let us bury the unfortunate myth of his existence in a punching mitt. Let him be blunted into the stupidity of his own thud.