When do you do it?
This is such a difficult matter to judge. Watching the Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury fight brings that question into focus. Spoiler alert, a towel was thrown by Wilder’s corner at the 7th round after he was pushed into a corner and shelling up from a Tyson barrage.
I didn’t watch the fight live, rather I saw a highlight clip. My first thought was why did they stop it? I had to watch a second time to see the towel being thrown in. I still wondered why though, as Wilder still seemed to be in the fight, and with his tremendous power he can finish a fighter at any moment.
As a true warrior himself, he echoed that sentiment, saying he was ready to go out on his shield and wished he was given the opportunity.
That isn’t a knock on his corner. It’s hard as a spectator to truly understand what was going on. Perhaps Wilder was behaving oddly in the corner, and the cornermen felt he was off. I know there was concern about him bleeding through his ear, which oddly enough turned out just to be a cut inside the ear and not a ruptured ear drum.
They also could have known he would go out on his shield, and while that is what you want a fighter to do in his heart, as a coach you don’t want to ever see that. Nor should you. I forget which fighter was saying this, but he made the remark that every fight takes something from you. In a bruising battle, your health can definitely be one of those things, and if a cornerman feels it is inevitable, he is in his right to throw the towel.
I believe a great fighter should not have any quit in them. It doesn’t matter who badly the odds are, he or she will see a way of winning and do everything in their power to execute. This is the type of spirit you never want to temper with caution and safety.
Fighting is not safe – it is the exact opposite. It is bold, reckless, and dangerous. Your best way through such a danger is having an unbreakable spirit that is forged in training and tested in battle. This is why the cornerman is so important – they are the only one with restraint. They can throw the towel to save the fighter without them losing their resolve.
I have been both a fighter and a coach, and I can honestly tell you it’s harder being a coach. You have such a big responsibility, and very little control over the contest. When everything is going well, it’s thrilling, but when things go poorly, it’s heart breaking. When you have a fighter in a war, you are idly standing by hoping your guidance and support will be what wins the battle.
But if that moment comes where you have to save them from themselves, making that call is not easy either. Because no coach wants to give up on their fighter either. So I respect it, because I can appreciate how difficult that will be to do.
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