MUHAMMAD Ali said, ”Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.” Maybe that’s what excites me about Daniel Geale. In the ring, you see the depth of his desire, the power of his vision. Outside the ring, you see his utter ordinariness.

Boxing is not a fashionable sport but I like it. Or, rather, I like top-class boxing – bouts between fighters of comparable strength and skills. Mismatched boxing is awful and there were a few bouts of that description before Geale fought Felix Sturm in Oberhausen, Germany, last Sunday night.

A succession of brown, muscular Germans pounded pudgy opponents who looked like their previous bouts had been outside pubs in Minsk. But the mood of the telecast livened when Geale and Strum were shown arriving for the fight. The demeanour of competitors before big sporting events can be as intriguing as the events themselves, particularly in what former British heavyweight Frank Bruno called ”the toughest and loneliest sport in the world”.

Geale had the aura of a man whose energy was deeply centred but his manner was casual – he had what former champ Barry Michael calls ”the balance between intensity and calmness”. Geale has only lost one professional bout, to Anthony ”The Man” Mundine. The result remains controversial and Geale could stand as Mundine’s alter ego.

Indeed, if you’re put off boxing by cheap theatrics, then Geale’s your man. His ring name – Daniel ”Real Deal” Geale – may not be great poetry but it does state a verifiable truth. With Geale, nothing is done for show. His confidence pre-fight had been a matter of simple fact, as easy to see as the highway in front of your car.

He’s a family man. On his trunks last Sunday were the prints of three coloured hands of the sort you see in primary school art shows. They represented his three kids. He wears a small Australian flag on the side of his trunks and, beneath that, an Aboriginal flag. He’s a Tasmanian of indigenous heritage who operates out of New South Wales.

Because a number of the fighters on the undercard were of dubious quality I was yet again questioning my regard for boxing as a sport when Geale and Sturm entered the ring. Sturm was taller, narrower in his top half with strong muscular arms. In his rooms before the fight, the German, dominant in the division for six years, gave a display of his punching power, smacking into his trainer’s gloves. The blows looked like they’d knock in a door.

From the start, both men were sharp. Big blows were swung with looping power. Watching the skill required to evade such punches was thrilling in itself. Geale is quick, clever and extraordinarily brave – constantly poised between attack and defence, he advanced. Sturm had the better jab. Geale risked catching it but kept coming, often snapping a big overhand right to finish his exchanges.

Sugar Ray Leonard said rhythm is everything in boxing. The sport demands extremes of skill, speed and courage all brought together into one and the boxer doesn’t have to be male. One of the sights of the London Olympics was Katie Taylor, the attractive young Irishwoman who has been described as the most technically proficient attacking boxer in the world. She dances on her toes as lightly as an Irish dancer, leaping forward to throw her right, which comes with the force of her whole body behind it.

Geale had the better of the early rounds. In the third and again in the seventh, Sturm looked to have no answer to Geale’s momentum. Both times, being a champion, Sturm found a way back. Geale’s moment of truth came in the 10th when, briefly, it seemed he had nothing left. Technically, it was a great fight and, yes, there were some big punches that reminded you this was a fight for a world title – or, rather, because of boxing’s crazy system of government, two world titles. And the winner was Daniel Geale.

Boxing has lost followers in recent years to cage fighting but a man trapped on the ground being smashed in the face is not sport to me. It is the narrow confines the rules of boxing impose on the fighters that makes boxing, at its best, so artful and highly skilled.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲学校.

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