My world is swirling. Darkness blankets everything. There is a dull roar in my ears. How did I get here? Where am I? Why does everything hurt so much? It feels like the ground is shaking. How easy it would be to just slip into that darkness. To let it take over and cover me. To slip into its blissful embrace. An end to the pain. An end to the dull roar.
Slowly consciousness returns to me. I realise that I am flat on my back, spots dancing in front of my eyes. The roar I hear is the roar of a massive crowd. There is someone standing over me, counting. Then I see my opponent. A massive brute of a man. He is already prancing around, arms raised in victory. The past comes rushing back to me.
I’ve been training for this boxing match for months. It was a chance for me to showcase my talents, my tenacity and my fortitude. I was doing absolutely everything I could to prepare myself for the big day. I’ve sparred with countless opponents, my trainer always in my corner, shouting advice and instruction. I excelled at boxing. People started taking notice of me. I heard rumours and whispers that I was bound for great things. Then the moment came. Finally, I was going into my first real fight. My opponent was selected; Victor Roshenkow.
Victor Roshenkow was another up and comer. Unbeaten, quick on his feet, brutal in the ring. He was trained in the Soviet Union, under some of the fiercest trainers that they had. His style of boxing was to wear you out while being seemingly unphased by any punches he received. He could take a brutal beating and still stay standing and then suddenly, out of nowhere, he would throw a single deadly punch. And that would be it. Game over! No opponent was ever prepared for that massive blow. And none ever stayed standing after it.
As the countdown continues it dawns on me that I had just received that deadly blow. I try to move but my body disobeys me. I feel like I’m going to remain there forever. Flat on my back, unable to move. My head is still swimming, my jaw still throbbing from the massive fist that had slammed into it so unexpectedly. I glance at Victor, already so certain of his victory, dancing around the ring with his arms raised high. Anger floods my mind. I refuse to just be another notch on his belt! I will not become just another statistic in his career!
My anger burns red hot and I force my body to obey me. I rise up onto one elbow, shaking my head to clear the cobwebs. Then I sit up and Victor notices me. Suddenly he is no longer dancing, but looking at me uncertainly. I push myself to my knees, my anger now an inferno inside of me. I stagger to my feet, resisting my body’s attempts to slump back down to the mat. I’ve been beaten down, but still I rise.
Victor is now staring at me and I can see it in his eyes; fear and doubt. Never before has this happened to him. Never has an opponent risen from his knockout blow. Adrenaline rushes into my system and I raise my fists. Victor is now backing away carefully, trying to plan how he will deal with the situation. My anger blazes brightly and I step forward. I will not be held back, I will not back down. You may knock me down, but I will rise.