Day 310…Shoot in your eyes

The War.

The fighters were called to the ring center to hear referee Richard Steele’s instructions. Hearns stood as still as a tower, his dark eyes locked on Hagler. Hagler continued his rocking, looking up at Hearns. Years later in an HBO program, Steele said, “I could not believe the tension that was in that fight.”

The fighters touched gloves.

Hagler walked away first.

As if trying to establish his turf, Hearns remained mid-ring, glaring at Hagler’s back. Then he returned to his corner.

The two fighters waited for the fight to start, staring at each other across a powder-blue canvas that would soon be spattered with blood.

— Excerpt from Don Stradley’s book, “The War,” about one of the greatest and perhaps the most brutal boxing matches of all-time.

The War.

I grew up in the golden age of professional boxing. The 1970s and 1980s mark an era in boxing that will likely never be matched for the sheer number of great fighters in many different weight classes. Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes, Tyson…Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and many more.

I have long used boxing as a way of framing the world and its struggles.

I am sharing one of the boxing matches that shaped my young mind regarding fighting, meeting challenges, never backing down, and meeting your enemies head-on.

I call it a boxing match. This was no boxing match. It was a fight.

In combat sports, most often the outcome is determined by the gladiator-like existence and training prior to the actual fight. In many cases, the individual who has put in the most focused and determined work over the course of a lifetime – wins. I mean years “on the mat” “in the ring” “on the diamond” “outside the wire.” These years of work build within fighters a reservoir of power that is called upon once the fight begins.

Then comes the point in time that the fight is not in the future. It is now.

In boxing the now begins with the ‘stare down.’

You better have ‘shoot in your eyes’ when you go to war.

Do you have shoot in your eye, leader?

Think on that.




(Thanks, MS aka Jiggles for being my Marvin Hagler and builder. I am deep in the ring with you dear brother Mike. Truly.)

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