Tag Archives: Training

My Noxor-Androx experiment

I’ve lost a lot of weight since I started boxing back around April of this year.  Back then I weighed around 84 to 86 kg (around 185 lbs) and now, depending on how dehydrated my body is, I weigh 71 to 74 kg (around 156 lbs).

Nothing much in my wardrobe fits me right now including my winter jackets which is a problem because I’m pretty lazy when it comes to clothes shopping and it’s getting cold in Scotland. Working offshore doesn’t help either as the standard issue Brit offshore worker lives in a t-shirt and cargo shorts!

So right now my body looks like this:

I’m not quite in the Gerard Butler “300” or the Brad Pitt “Fight Club” range.

Now I’ve never really used supplements before and the key word being supplements not steroids! However an ESPN article I came across, caught my eye.  The article was on two supplements used together (a process called stacking) in order to promote lean muscle mass.  They are Noxor and Androx.  Pretty ridiculous names I know.  They sound like a Las Vegas male stripper act.

Androx comes in a little tube of 60 pills and Noxor comes as 90 pills.

Androx is a testosterone booster with the instructions to take 1-2 capsules a day with your meal.

Noxor contains various things that make you want to re-take high school Chemistry with the recommended use of taking 2-3 capsules 30-60 minutes before workout.

My intention was to trial these on my last offshore trip but they sadly arrived the day after I left for my work in Malaysia.  When I work offshore, I train everyday free from any kind of distraction whereas at home (which is where I am as I write this) I basically cut down to:

  1.  Monday: An hour long game of 5-aside football (soccer).
  2. Tuesday and Thursday: Boxing training sessions lasting 90 minutes.
  3. Two randomly chosen days where I do a 3km run with 25 minutes of shadowboxing afterwards.

The stuff at home and the offshore training since April has got me where I am right now in physical terms and I’m okay with that.  However there’s a part of me that’s interested if these supplements can make any difference.  They’re not exactly cheap either.  Noxor and Androx are sold together for 88 GBP which is 110 USD.  It’s not exactly Weight-Watchers or the Cambridge Diet but I guess it’s not too far from that principal!

I’m going to basically trial these two supplements to see if they actually do anything to my physique.  I’ll start taking them while I’m at home but only before I do any kind of training.

  • I’m not going to change my eating patterns or the types of food I eat.
  • I’m not going to do any additional fasting.

That’s important.  I’m just an ordinary guy training and eating with this one additional change to my routines.

My next offshore trip starts on the 14th December so there’s some crossover.  I’ll find out if this is 88 GBP worth of placebo or if there’s actually some benefit to this.

Training in the Malaysian heat

I can see why some people prefer to do their training (and their living) somewhere warm!  You’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve been physically inactive for the last four weeks but I’ve been training everyday in the Malaysian heat.   Before I left home, I downloaded a whole bunch of YouTube clips of Vasyl Lomachenko practicing his shadowboxing and some of his movements on the heavy bag so I’ve spent the last four weeks putting my study into practice.  I’ve really enjoyed it and there isn’t a day where I’m thankful that I’ve found something I really enjoy that takes my mind and my body away from here.

I’ve lost some more weight but it’s not hard when you’re training in this kind of 26 to 30 degree Celcius heat (79 – 86F).  I’ll have to weigh myself when the boat is moored alongside later this week but the last time I checked I was hovering around 71 kg with my body dehydrated.  I had a moment where I was thinking where all this training is going…  Maybe there shouldn’t be a point.   Maybe I should just enjoy it for however long my body can keep up.   I’m moving a lot better though and I’ve put a lot of time into the training since April.  That’s what life offshore is like.  You can set yourself up so you don’t do anything except work and train everyday and I have.

I managed to get hold of the Pacquiao – Vargas fight.  It was great to see a 37-year old Pacquiao out-score and out-box a man ten years his junior and win back his title.  I’m not saying I’m anything like Pacquiao but if you look after yourself and train hard, you can still accomplish things.

Mind you, I think a younger Pacquiao wouldn’t have let the fight go to twelve rounds but he looked happy in that ring.  He’s always got a smile on his face when he walks on and why wouldn’t he?  Pacquiao was homeless on the streets of Manilla and eventually got paid handsomely doing something he clearly loves and does so well.

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This is one of places I train on this boat.  It’s outdoors but I’m thankful there’s shelter from the sun.  It can get really warm!  I normally shadowbox on the helideck in the sun for 25 minutes before I spend another half an hour on this heavy bag.  There’s not enough space to move 360-degrees around but I can still pivot 180 degrees  in the way I’ve seen Lomachenko practice that move so many times.  One day I might even be able to execute that against someone rather than practice it on the bag.  I’ll do other things additionally like do interval training and run on the treadmill a few times a week so my body’s still getting a good balance.

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This is my cabin.  Small!  I’ve actually made it pretty cosy.  That’s a rug I bought when I was in Indonesia a couple of years ago and I just keep it on the boat.  I think I’ll bring a poster, or two, back with me since I’ll be working over Christmas this year.  It’d be good to have something nice on those bare walls.  I like how my cabin’s become a sanctuary for me.  I can just close that door and I feel relaxed.  I think it’s the rug that ties the room together!  You can see my yellow boxing shoes on that transport box next to an older Mark I PS3.  What have I been playing on that?  Fight Night 4 of course! lol.  I am going to buy Fight Night Champion when I go home.  Give me something to do when I come back for Christmas (Besides more training!).  Right now I’m just looking forward to going home.

 

10 rounds and some fear factor

I’d already had an hour’s session in the morning when Jim poked his head into the instrument room in the afternoon and asked if I fancied doing some sparring.  That morning consisted of a 4km run and around half an hour of drills on the heavy and double end bag.  I was going to do another session in the evening but I didn’t expect to take my body into battle in the evening.

I had a little more trepidation this time.  Maybe because I knew my body had only just recovered from the 12 rounds on Sunday but I wanted to warm up this time.  Jim has his own 12oz gloves and I tried dropping a hint to him as he was wrapping up his hands mentioning there were some unworn 16oz gloves in the gym but he didn’t bite.  I have my pair of 16oz gloves which I always use but I also have a pair of 12oz I took with me, this time.  I haven’t used those yet, this trip.  Jim has only 12oz and it’s a slight advantage.  I didn’t do too badly last 12 rounds so I didn’t mind doing the same again.

One punch of his came and somehow slipped through a gap in my head guard and partially onto my right eye.  It rocked me back and I had to stop momentarily and shake that off.  I wondered if I was going to have a black eye but I had to put that to the back of my mind.  That was only Round 2.

I’ve been boxing for just shy of 6 months now and to be honest, the time and practice that I’ve put in equates more than what an average person would do.  But if you talk ring-craft, I only hold around 24 rounds of experience.  It shows.  I still have tendencies to turn away, my feet are not always balanced, I’m leaning forward or back a little too much.  There are a few hooks that come my way that I don’t even see coming and although a head guard can block off some peripheral vision, that’s lazy eyes on my part.  It tells me I’m not reading body language or aware enough yet.

Jim had gone for a run right before the sparring as well and I know he felt tired too.  It was near Round 7 we decided just to take it to 10 rounds only (and not 12) but even then I was flagging a little.  The first 12 rounds I practiced in that first week, my footwork was way better – I circled around much more and I was much more active.  This session, by the time I reached the 8th, all I wanted to do was Philly-shell up and keep Jim at bay but you can’t do that.  Even though you’re too tired to throw, you have to look like you want to throw otherwise you’re only inviting the other guy onto you.

I managed to survive the 10 rounds but I have a raft of questions that were in my head, that are still in my head today.  They’re all about how I can improve my balance so I am always in a position to throw punches.  Like someone commented… Boxing is about balance.  Keeping yours and taking it away from the other guy.

The two blows to my right pectoral that stopped me dead in my tracks during the sparring made it painful for me to sit up in my bed last night and this morning but it’s minimal stuff.  I’m going to give myself a week from Sunday before the next sparring.  I’m also going to put on my 12 oz gloves next time if Jim continues to wear his.  That will make it even.  My hand speed will be faster.  Faster to come back and protect my head, faster to jab out and ward him off.

Last night was good but I felt trepidation and I didn’t have that the first session.  Maybe because I knew this time I wasn’t 100% and maybe I knew Jim was faster than me which got into my head a little bit.  The bag work, the running, the jumping rope, the drills… that’s where you go to get the techniques.  Sparring?  That’s where you go to learn to fight.  You come to understand what works in the ring for you and what doesn’t work, what you’re doing good and what you’ve got to improve on.  It can’t be about you and someone else inflicting pain on each other – that’s pointless.  If I match up in glove weight with my opponent that will help me answer some more questions, I’m certain of that.  I won’t make that mistake again next session.  I’m getting hit more than Jim, that’s what I feel at least.  That’s not just down to the weight difference in gloves, of course not.  They call boxing The Sweet Science and in science experiments you need certain variables to remain constant in order to solve the other unknowns.

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Sparring, speed-dating style

It wasn’t the 2 hour open session slot that got me in the end.  That was actually pretty civilized.  I had a shower afterwards and made myself a cup of tea and sat in the lounge while I waited for the kids class to finish.  It was the sparring.  Those old hurts got to me in the end.  Someone cuffed me on my bad elbow and I could feel that nerve crippling numbness shooting straight up my arm.  Anyway, I just shelled up and moved around for the rest of the round waiting for my elbow to stop throbbing.

It was a touch too busy.  You’ve got like sixteen or more people waiting to spar and the whole thing is like masochistic speed date where you find a partner, spar 3-minutes and then a minute’s rest and then find another partner.  The other problem is that if you’re not in a ring you’re just fighting to find some open floor space.  I can count a handful of occasions where I must have bumped into a hanging bag or some other guy.  I watched as one guy moved backwards, tripped over something and flew backwards straight onto his back, onto the mat.

I was so conscious of where I was in relation to everything else I didn’t feel like I could move feely enough at times.  It’s not like a ring where you know its set dimensions.

It does seem like a weird speed date because there’s such a mix of people of different abilities.  One kid had the strangest movement you’ve ever seen.  It was wild.  It was like watching Ben Stiller when he’s dancing in that movie Along Came Polly and he’s jigging side to side.  If I wasn’t concentrating so much I may have actually smiled.  I can’t see me going to something like this again any time soon.

I preferred the open training because it’s still only 4pm – people are at work, there’s only a handful of people – maybe five or so.  You can just walk up to someone and ask them if they fancy a spar. I don’t know how to describe that – it just feels like a more natural, organic experience.

I did actually approach someone with his trainer at the open training but he apologized and explained he’d just had laser eye surgery so he was strictly only doing pad work for a while.  That was a good conversation actually!

The speed dating-style sparring…  I got through seven rounds with different people. I missed having the guidance of one-to-one with someone watching over me pointing out stuff.  If you’re up against someone better they’ll give you some advice and there was a couple of people who spoke to me afterwards and I appreciated that.

… people learning to box are some of the friendliest people you’ll come across.  Everyone’s helpful.  Maybe it’s because it’s a hard sport to learn or that it can take so much out of you.  It’s like a strange family you don’t know but you share something underneath.

I was driving home and I was trying to think about what I had learned from that session.  Well, I tried using a Philly Shell defence and I actually really liked it so I think I’ll persevere with that kind of a style.  I managed to roll off a few blows to my head that glanced harmlessly off my shoulder.  There’s a whole lot of stuff to learn though.  Like when someone jabs I need to practice jabbing back over the top of it or hooking with my lead right and not just ducking.  General ring craft stuff.  There’s nothing like being humbled by other boxer to make you concentrate on how hard you have to work in future.

I’m looking forward to next time I’m home and Gary’s back from his holiday and I can hopefully show him some more stuff in the ring and he can give me some constructive feedback to work on.  Like I say, that’s what I missed most of all.  I don’t think I did too badly for a someone who’s just been boxing for a little under half a year but there’s a lot of learning ahead.

My elbow’s still sore this morning.  I had to brush my teeth with my other hand!  I need to rest.

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Studying boxing – trying to probe and defend

I was still thinking about my sparring experience from last week and how I reacted against Umar who had a slight size advantage and more experience.  I wasn’t throwing nearly as many punches against Umar because I was a lot more wary of him so I figure I need to learn and practice techniques for probing someone’s defence without getting whacked in the chin.

So what I enjoyed doing for some of yesterday was trawling YouTube for videos of pros and amateurs boxing.  I found a highlight reel someone made of Lomachenko’s, a gifted Ukranian southpaw boxer.  It was really interesting from a boxing perspective.  He’ll do things like “paw” away at your guard with light taps and then suddenly he’ll change the tempo and ferocity of his punch.  Another thing is he’ll feint a lot and watch your reaction and then he’ll employ the same feint again shortly after.  But because he knows how you’re going to react to it, Lomachenko will punch through whatever gap is created.  That all sounds like simple stuff but to have the intelligence and speed of thought to employ it while you’re in a fight is really impressive.  Plus his movement is really good.  In and out, side to side.  I really enjoyed watching him box on those videos.

I also caught some highlight reels of Floyd Mayweather Junior.  I never really watched any of his fights.  All I heard was that he “runs” and doesn’t want to box but when I watched the videos of him, I didn’t see a man running from anything.  His defence is absolutely amazing.  The way he tucks himself into that shell and just dips and rolls away from someone trying to hit him.  Most of the time his opponents are punching thin air.

I went on Expertboxing and used Pinterest to save little guides of the tricks Mayweather will try.  One thing he does is he’ll just sort of lunge in with a jab and he’ll just duck and roll away immediately after.  He’s just probing someone’s defence – something I need to learn to do.

I went on a run this morning to warm up and used my double end bag in my garage to practice the things I need for when I spar against someone.  So I tried probing jabs where I just come in and quickly duck out of the way of the bag.  Quick in; quick out.  I’d practice a quick two or three punch combination and get my body into a shell like I see Mayweather doing.  (I’m trying to create some muscle memory so that my reactions become more like an instinct)  I want my hands to automatically be in a certain position when I’m trying to pull away from someone.

I really enjoyed that session.  I’ll let you know if it helped when I try and put some of this stuff into practice next week but I’m a great believer in practice makes permanent.

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Those videos I studied below and the links so you can have a look if you’re interested!


I’ve moved to a self-hosted site

As of yesterday, I’ve moved from WordPress.com to a self-hosted site.  That basically means that if you’re following my blog, unless you’re following via email, you won’t be notified whenever I publicize a new post.  It won’t appear in the Reader anymore.

If you want to continue being updated you can just go to my website and “follow by email” which is available on the sidebar.

I really enjoy interacting with my readers and try to comment where I can – it always gives me a lot of encouragement to see people replying to stuff so I think it’s really important.  I’ve also struck up some good friendships in the blogosphere and I’d love to carry on doing that as well.  I’ll be sure to log into WordPress regularly and check my reader.  I’ve already started to visit followers sites so I can follow them via email.

Thanks everyone!

 

Heavy bag drills on a hot day

23.1°C was the max temperature recorded by the Met today in Glasgow.  That’s 73.6°F.  Pretty warm for Scotland!  It was hard going in the gym today.  The heat that seemed to hang in the air… my arms weren’t tired from punching but my chest felt really heavy like I was fighting for more oxygen.

My trainer played a dirty trick on me today too.

Gary: Pick a number from one to nine.

Me: Errr, okay… seven.

Gary: Okay that’s seven of the heavy bags.  So you’re going to do a two minutes on each bag followed by 30 seconds of fast punching and then I’ll give you an exercise of ten reps, (push-ups, jumping squats or crunches) and then onto the next bag.

Me: Shit.

I was wasted just after three of those bags.  Imagine how I felt when I looked at the other side of the room at the other four bags waiting for me.  I had very-little to nothing-left when I reached the last bag.

I enjoyed some of the pad work too.  There’s something really satisfying about popping some light shots off a pad that someone’s holding.  I got some slip training in as well – rolling my shoulders so that blows glance off me.  I’d love to do more of that so I can become quicker at it and become one of those really annoying slick fighters with good head movement.  Hard to hit, technically good so I could box my way out of trouble rather than be a brawler.  That was my dream but I don’t think you can pick the type of boxer you become anymore than you can pick whether you’re a man or a woman.  You are what you are and eventually your true nature reveals itself.

I had this moment near the end where I looked at Gary and said… “I’ll do whatever you want  me to.  I’m yours for this hour.  Just call it chief and I’ll do my best.”

Maybe it sounds hokey but I like moments like that.  That’s a warrior’s promise.  Yes I’m paying for Gary’s time but if you give me your time, I’ll forsake whatever physical disadvantages I have and be the best boxer I can be.  A person’s body, your physical beauty  – whether you believe that’s God-given or an act of nature – it has a finite shelf life and because of that, your journey and the destination, you have to think about it a little.  What do I want from this?  – That kind of thing.

I have to admit though… I miss the adrenaline rush and the buzz of being inside the ring.  It’s weird.  Nothing seems to compare to it.  I have practiced Kendo which is a Japanese form of fencing but nothing compares to that feeling I had being inside a ring.  You feel so alive, so wired up.

I miss it and I feel a bit like a junkie wondering when my next fix is going to be.  Gary’s taking some vacation time next week.  He’s back to Australia for two weeks so I’m fitting two one-to-one sessions this week before he goes so I don’t lose training time with him.

I think what I may do while he is away is drive down to SK Boxing Gym down in Govan – they have a couple of nights where they have an hour’s session dedicated to sparring…

… I’m hoping I can find a dance partner.

One thing though… I’m a student of Lusby’s Boxing Gym, Gary’s my trainer and although we’re not a large gym I’m very proud of those roots.  Whatever gym I choose to practice at – whoever I’m sparring against, I never forget that.

Gary on the right, me on the left at Lusby’s Boxing Gym.

Making shapes with shadow boxing

 

I spend a lot of time searching YouTube for pro boxers and their shadow boxing routines.  Something to do with my trainer always telling me to keep loose and keep flowing so I’m always looking for examples.

I started learning to shadow box by reading a guide by Johnny N then watching YouTube videos of Paul Williams, Manny Pacquiao, then Amir Khan, even an Instagram clip of Ivan Delgado.  Yesterday I came across Chris Eubank Junior’s 10-minute warm up.

His warm up was really impressive.  He’s stretching all his limbs and in between he’s shadowboxing – really small arm and shoulder movements at times but what I found impressive was watching him practice shifting his body weight:  A small step back, a little shuffle right, a subtle tilt of his body left.  Really deliberate.  It was like watching a sleek panther limbering up and moving.  Just watching him made me want to  start throwing and that was around midnight.

Like watching performance art.


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You’re always lucky if you find something that makes you feel free.  Exercise can be a horrible thing (I personally hate interval training!) but I don’t think of boxing as exercise (or football/soccer) – more about expression.  Hope everyone reading this has an activity that makes them feel the same.  It’s good to unburden the soul.

Back at home

Hmm what can I write about?  You ever get that?

Well I’ve been training away and that’s a normal part of my life now so nothing really new there.  Went to Lusby’s during the open mat slot around 16:00 and I was pretty much on my own but that was fine. I lent my iPod to one of the Filipinos, Sherwin, back on the boat.   Sherwin’s iPod broke down and he’s away at sea for three months at a time and I felt bad for him so that was my good deed but I could have done with having my iPod with me, today.

I always get a touch nervous going to my own gym.  Maybe because my trainer is in there and I don’t want to look like a moron.  I needn’t have worried on this occasion.  I was pretty much alone but I managed to get a decent workout and I needed to get a feel for the place again before I come in again this Thursday.  Different gyms have different atmospheres and vibes.  I need to acclimatize a little.

I’ve done a lot of bag work while I was offshore.  To be honest, this time round I’m hoping to learn more ring craft stuff but I’ll speak to Gary and ultimately he’ll determine when I’m ready to learn more. But like the guy said in the movie Creed…

– Kid’s hungry, you gotta feed him sometimes.

I’m enjoying my writing too, just now.  I sent a manuscript for a short story to a couple of publications for some feedback so I’m waiting on that.  Could be a couple of months though. I find it’s quite an anti-social thing being a writer.  I zone out because I’m concentrating a lot on what I’m writing but that’s not good for Emma because it’s bad enough my work takes me away for half the year.  It’s like the boxing though – I just don’t want to waste any more time because suddenly I’m aware that I’m not getting any younger.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all that old either but I don’t have so much time I can casually piss away.  Procrastination is a terrible thing.

Certain topics are easier to write than others.  The boxing stories like The Journeyman I wrote just seem to flow – it’s easier than writing something like a Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings style fantasy.  You don’t have to imagine whole worlds and  create stuff in your head from scratch.  I was thinking of maybe writing a larger fictional story.  Boxing themed again.  Something cathartic, on the theme of redemption – the stuff I wanted the movie Southpaw to be but (for me) didn’t quite manage.

We’ll see. I’m starting to build up a list of writing projects.  Some of them are more ambitious than others.  I’m not such a prolific writer that I can just crap out works of fiction.  My friend Vicki (a writer) was right… It’s important to finish something.  So many ideas never see the light of day – or the light at the end of the tunnel.  I needed to write some shorter stories so that I could know what finishing a story felt like.

The boxing training’s important to me, too.  I can’t always explain it so gracefully but I want to be good in a ring. I don’t want to go in there and look like I’ve just been taken out of a pub brawl.  It’d be nice to look back on all of this some day and say: Yeah, I could box a little bit.

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Weight obsession and 10,000 hours to become great?

I swear I’ve never been so obsessed with my own weight since I started to box.  If I go offshore I’ll probably weigh myself before the trip and then after the trip.  And then when I go home, I’ll probably never even look at the scales but now, I’m weighing myself every day or every other day.  I mean, I don’t even box competitively so there’s absolutely no reason why I need to stay within a certain weight bracket just yet.

…And yet… here I am weighing myself every other day, after I go to the toilet (maybe too much information there!)… it’s ridiculous.  Maybe because I’ve got it into my head that I don’t want to be above middleweight.  I mean can you blame me though?  Some of those guys above that weight are big.  You’re also talking about men that don’t have much body fat either.  It’s almost all muscle.

I’m reading this interesting book just now: Journeymen – The other side of the boxing business.  It’s about the less glamorous side of the UK boxing scene. It’s quite an eye opener.  These journeymen are like the poker grinders of the boxing world.  They fight a few times a month and are often pitted against younger, popular fighters that can sell tickets at venues.  Some of their records are terrible but it’s a mistake to think they can’t box.  They know a lot of tricks and their defence is good. It has to be.  If a journeyman boxer is cut then the officials will forbid that guy from fighting X number of days and therefore, no income to feed your family.  Journeymen boxers can get called up last minute to fill in a spot and they often fight in more than one weight bracket in order to pick up more work.  A guy can fight at one weight, one week and then a few days later he’ll bulk up to make the weight for another fight and then come back down weight again for the next.  It takes a lot of discipline to do that.  It’s a really good book.  I’m about halfway through it.

Talking about weight and eating, I’m trying to use up everything inside my freezer so yesterday was a food scrounge.  Managed to make a vegetarian curry out of the pepper, cauliflower and potato and I also made this lemon loaf cake with some lemons I found because… well… a house is always happier when there’s some kind of cake to eat.  It’s good for the soul.

Went for a run to clear my head.  Poppy’s mending but she can’t walk long distance yet.  I do miss those walks so I ran the route instead.  Nothing crazy.  I don’t time myself – it’s about 5 – 6 songs.  Maybe that’s around 20 minutes – probably equates to around 4 km.

That 10,000 hours thing…

I plan on doing some training later today.  I had some self doubting and self loathing yesterday when I suddenly thought what if I’m no good, what if I’m just looking stupid?  Have you ever seen that statistic that says it takes something like 10,000 hours to become good at something?

I tried to work it out:

If I go offshore, I spend 2.5 hrs a day training for 35 days = 87.5 hrs

I spend half a year offshore so that’s 6 (trips) x 87.5 = 525 hrs

When I’m at home I’ll train maybe a quarter of that 525 / 4 = 131 hrs

So at that rate of training… 10000 / (525+131) = 15 years

15 years to become good.  (Someone should check my math)

I’ve well and truly lost that window.  Ideally I’d want to start at 11 years old and hit my peak at 26 years of age.  That’s if you believe that 10,000-hour statistic.

I can’t just give up though.  I’m not going to be chump change for anyone.  I have to be able to hold my own in a ring.  Maybe that’s all this is. Some kind of pride thing.  I’m not sure anymore.

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