The Final Round
April 27, 2014
I’m sick of being poor and living in a slum. I’m tired of being hungry. I want a nice house and car and good clothes and someday I want a family. I’m not going to get those things through school in Indonesia. There are too many students and I don’t like school much, anyway, and am going to do what I want. I’m going to be a professional fighter right now, at age fifteen. I’ve been fighting for years in the streets and gyms and am confident some day people are going to say Tubagus Sakti is a great champion.
I’m ready for the journey and not worried I lose my first fight by decision. I think it’s a bad one and prove it my next fight by outpointing the same guy, Louis Lomeli, and I stop the one after that in the second round. So what it’s the guy’s first fight? I’m on my way and beat Lomeli again and next have a twelve round draw I think I win. Now I’m fighting Lomeli for the fourth time in six pro fights but he wins a unanimous decision.
Some people say, Tubagus, that guy’s record is only four and six. Boxers who’re going to be champions don’t lose to guys like him.
Look, I’m only sixteen, I say. I’m going to get a lot stronger and better. But I worry they’re right. I try to find a good job. What can an uneducated guy my age do in Indonesia or anywhere else? I keep going to the gym. For nine months I improve my skills all the time, and in January 2013 I say, damn right, I’m seventeen and ready to fight Ichal Tobida. He began as a pro in 2005, when I was nine-years old, and stopped his first two opponents and five of the initial ten, but he lost four of those fights, and starting in 2010 dropped six of seven, three by technical knockout. I know I can take him. He’s twenty-eight and getting old for a light flyweight.
I’m very aggressive, and so’s he. We beat hell out of each other. And in the eighth round I’m still attacking and sometimes backing him up with power punches and sense my status rising, if I can take him out. He’s tough, though. I think he may be a little stronger than I am. Really, I know he is. He’s loading up on everything now. Hard right crosses and wide left hooks force me back across the ring and into the corner where he nails me some more and I don’t know if it’s a reflex or common sense but I shoot both my arms straight up in surrender, and he hits me with a jab and powerful right cross, forcing my arms down before I again raise them straight up and get hit with another jab and grazed by a straight right. Finally, the referee stops it. The idiot should’ve stepped in first time my hands went up: don’t shoot.
Tobida tries to hit me again but can’t get past the referee. I sort of look okay. I’m standing. I’m walking away to my right but not feeling well. Really, I’m not feeling anything. I’m convulsing on the floor and my eyes are eerie and gone and soon I’m in the hospital, dead from a brain hemorrhage.
I don’t follow boxing much anymore but can tell you a really tough guy with a sixty and three record stops Ichal Tobida his next fight. And in his most recent fight, guess who he beats: Leo Lomeli, the guy I fought four times. Leo’s record is now four and ten and he isn’t going to make a living in the ring, and neither is Tobida, but that’s all right. Guys like us entertain the fans, and that’s what counts.