Boxing for the Old AF

I’m not old. I’m just boxing old. There is a difference.

Bernard Hopkins won the WBC title at 46, and still holds two major titles at 50 Photo: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Bernard Hopkins won the WBC title at 46, and still holds two major titles at 50 Photo: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Boxing old is when everybody at your gym is both younger and more experienced than you. By those terms, I’m boxing geriatric. Because everyone, from a handful of the trainers, to the man whose name is on the sign, is younger than me. Often by decades. The only guy at the gym who has walked the earth for longer than me is my trainer, Rob Lee.

I have to work harder. I’m not sure if it’s my weight or my 44 years, but I push myself as hard as I can in order to keep up. Because, ultimately, it is the only edge that I will ever have against the other, younger guys.

Dewey Bozella launched his short professional boxing career at 52, after serving 26 years in Sing Sing. He was, however, a champion boxer in Sing Sing.
Dewey Bozella launched his short professional boxing career at 52, after serving 26 years in Sing Sing. He was, however, a champion boxer in Sing Sing.

Does it make a difference? I am not trying to go pro like Dewey Bozella. At the rate I’m going, I’ll cut some pounds and learn a little bit with my hands, which is okay. But part of the reason I go to the gym is to learn to fight, not just box. And age matters. When you are young, you are as dumb as you will ever be. But you also have the potential to be faster and stronger than you will ever be again. How does an old dude meet that challenge of a younger, faster attacker? He just does his best.

44 year old Shannon "The Cannon" Briggs launched his comeback in 2014,In 2014, winning 6 bouts, 5 by knockout. Briggs now holds the NABA Heavyweight title.
44-year-old Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs launched his comeback in 2014,In 2014, winning 6 bouts, 5 by knockout. Briggs now holds the NABA Heavyweight title. Photo: Boxing.com

It didn’t occur to me that there were people out there who thought that they were too old to go to the gym. I found the video below when I was looking for remedies to the aches and pains that I was receiving in my first couple of days in the gym. (Warm baths and epsom salt, followed by cold showers. You’re welcome.) The guy makes some great points.

Former Light Welterweight Champion, Saoul Mamby, launched an unlikely comeback at 60.
Former Light Welterweight Champion, Saoul Mamby, launched an unlikely comeback at 60.

If you’re boxing old, like me, but you’ve always wanted to box, then get your ass to the gym. After all, old folk are allowed to be eccentric. It’s your right, once you pass 40, to start getting weirder and weirder, culminating in pulling your pants up over your navel and not knowing who anybody is on the radio.

You’re all out of excuses. Lace the fuck up.


Note: Bernard Hopkins, Dewey Bozella, Saoul Mamby and Shannon the Cannon are all perfect examples of what can be accomplished, regardless of your age. They are not, however, examples of what can be accomplished by new, old boxers. Going pro might not be a realistic expectation for the old, new boxer.