Bavarian Hercules Deserved to Win
My Rough N’ Rowdy Experience: Learn from your Mistakes
When the ring girl walked towards us with the decision being announced, there was zero doubt in my mind. I lost the fight.
It wasn’t even that close.
I’m not going to lie, it was the most disappointing feeling that I’ve had since my sophomore year at Fitchburg State University when we lost the Conference Championship game on a walk-off home run against Worcester State after an epic comeback, ending a magical underdog season with my best friends. That was 13 years ago.
Yes. It was even more disappointing than when I got the email from a dude named Semen from WWE who told me, “We appreciate your tremendous effort during June’s tryout camp at WWE Performance Center. You should be proud. We will not be extending you a contract and please eat this bag of 27 ripped off dead dicks.
The Bavarian Hercules deserved to win. Period. He was by far, the better fighter. There are no excuses. There is no finger pointing. I needed to box a lot better. I sucked and I need to learn from it to win my next fight.
There is nothing worse than working hard and accomplishing something that you can be proud of and have people try to mitigate or discredit your success. That is a total non-alpha move. I hated it when people did it to me. I refuse to do that to others.
He was a tough kid, who had a good fight and deserves credit for his performance and sportsmanship (he was a good dude after the fight off-camera). An absolute savage doesn’t feel sorry for himself when he loses. An absolute savage gives credit to the better man, learns from his mistakes and gets better for his next opportunity.
After the fight, my social media was flooded with people who told me that I won the first round and third round and “got robbed.” So, I decided to take a look at the footage and break the fight down. When I reviewed the fight, not only did I realize he was the outright winner, I realized how strong a fighter Hercules was. He performed incredibly for a first-time fighter; an absolute natural.
Like almost every first time fighter, I realized that I made a bunch of mistakes in my first fight. Here they are:
Mistake 1: I allowed Barstool to film my every move to promote the fight, while Korbinian threw two punches in three episodes of 24/7.
Those two punches were in slow motion and looked terrible. We assumed he was a jacked up bodybuilder who couldn’t fight based on his GrindR-esque Instagram and love for gym-selfies. He talked about his size and strength working to his advantage when in boxing it usually works against you. He seemed green. He also looked slow, robotic and stiff. Once the fight started, we realized he wasn't THAT stiff.
We didn’t take him lightly because of his size and stature. My trainers thought it was a red flag that he wasn’t training on tape with a platform like Barstool’s to gain exposure.
We also thought it was a red flag that he was wearing his fighting shoes during his workouts, which I made a joke about during one of my promos for the fight. I never owned a pair of fighting shoes in my life and wouldn't wear them in the weight-room, unless I was a fighter. We thought something might be up. We searched the internet high and low to see if he had prior fighting experience in Germany and found nothing.
Because we had nothing to work with, we figured he would come straight towards me with guns blazing firing haymakers and power punches. He did the opposite and played a patient game with a "swarming" offensive style and smart aggressive defense techniques as he smothered me with his head and shoulder every time I had an opening. He used a stiff arm, grabbed my head, held me and didn't give me the space to throw anything except off balance inside punches. He made me look bad like I never boxed before when in numerous sparring sessions leading up to the fight, I looked fundamentally sound.
It seemed like an odd strategy for a guy with a height and reach advantage. Except, we showed him how bad my inside game was by showing drills we were doing with a large tire to improve it. Overall, we showed way too much and allowed him to show way too little. We thought since he was green and the experience level was even, it wouldn’t make a difference. I was wrong and it was a huge mistake.
For a guy who has never fought before, his punches were very straight, short and quick. He had text-book defense, covering up when appropriate with advanced defense techniques which prevented from getting off my straight left and other power shots. He also did a great job holding and punching. If you have an opportunity to watch the fight, watch him put his head in my chest every time I go for a power punch and then he would come back with the left uppercut and right hook. He must have had an incredible trainer to get him that prepared without any fights under his belt. He had the instincts of a guy fighting for a few years; an absolute natural.
Because the rounds were so short, I didn't notice this pattern of him diving into me with his head until the 3rd round. That's when I landed two uppercuts and a glancing hook that knocked him back. If I had gas in the tank, he would have been knocked out in the 3rd, which was my prediction to friends and family before the fight. But anyone that knows anything about boxing understands that wrestling, holding, smothering and using a swarming offensive style is the quickest way to exhaust an opponent. I gassed out with 20 seconds left in the 3rd. It was a great strategy. It was almost like he had been fighting for years.
Mistake 2: I took the fight on such short notice.
Per my last podcast, I originally asked to fight in June. On December 31st, I was 220 lbs and filled with booze and bad carbs. I haven’t regularly wrestled since June of 2015. Also, that stuff is a fake fight, not a real one. Although I was lifting weights regularly, I wasn’t even in close to Pro Wrestling shape, let alone legitimate fighting shape when I accepted the fight on 5 1/2 weeks notice.
I was so out-of-shape that it took me 4 weeks just to get my body and cardio to the point where I could train as hard as I needed to for boxing. The day of the fight, I was 193.2 lbs and not as bodybuilder-esque as usual. I changed the way I trained and came a long way. But, I was still way too bulky from years of training like a bodybuilder. At my height, I should be boxing at 178 at the absolute heaviest. I figured if I fought a guy with minimal boxing training/experience and he’s my size, my inexperience and conditioning would be good enough to kick some ass for 3 1-minute rounds. Unfortunately, the Bavarian Hercules is a natural, not a tomato can and I boxed like dog shit. That's on me.
Yes. I did cardio and boxing workouts every day leading up to the fight for 5 weeks. The Monday prior to the fight, I had my hardest sparring session leading up to the fight with 10 legit 1-Minute Rounds. My cardio was good for the first 4 rounds and I was able to get through 10 with the final round being my best of the session. My cardio was fine for 3 1-minute rounds. It was his style and wrestling that wore me out, not a lack of conditioning effort.
People have no idea the type of conditioning it takes to be a good boxer. My body couldn’t handle heavy sprinting without extreme soreness that would lead to a muscle pull that would have put me on the shelf. That’s not an excuse. It’s a huge lesson to be learned. If you’re an athlete, you’re one phone call away from a good payday. I will never let myself go again. I busted my ass for 5 weeks to get in shape. It wasn’t good enough. That’s my fault. My trainers felt I was turning the corner in the final week and would have smashed him if I had another month.
This doesn’t address the fact that I have never boxed before. The average boxer trains for 6 months before taking his first fight. I could have been stubborn. But, I thought if I’d be fighting a guy with no experience like me, I would be able to handle myself very well.
The Bavarian Hercules should seriously consider taking up MMA and becoming a fighter because he is the German Natural. His quick punches and defense made it seem like he was doing Muay Thai like Jean Claude Van Dam in an underground fight club outside of Munich near Landstuhl Army base. It's INSANE! The guy just has legitimate natural talent. He deserves credit.
Mistake 3: Commuting to Cambridge.
I trained at the best fight gym in New England, Redline Fight Sports, by a great trainer James Lena and cornered by a Golden Glove boxer, Heather Thomas. The training was second to none. Drills, sparring, conditioning, we worked hard every day. I was getting fight tips from Sean Gannon, the only dude to pound Kimbo Slice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhNJ2qAQf1c. He was a good dude.
They taught me a lot and definitely helped me improve a ton leading up to the fight. However, the commute from Attleboro, MA to Cambridge, MA cost me three hours of training time per day. Had I trained more often locally, I could have focused more on conditioning and actually did more volume of boxing work. If I could do it again, I would have paid them to travel my way to train in a gym near me.
Mistake 4: The strategic mistake of allowing the fight to turn into a brawl.
“He gassed out in the 1st round.” That wasn’t true, I was tired late in Round 2 and the very end of Round 3. But, that had less to do with “punching myself out” and more to do with dealing with his smothering, pushing, putting his head into my body, grabbing my head while punching, stiff-arming, etc. His short, straight punches and square stance were more like a Muay Thai or MMA guy than a boxer. I wasn’t prepared for that.
If I had stayed with the jab, stuck and moved, the whole fight would have gone like the first 35 seconds and I would have won on points. I also would have shown people that I knew what I was doing. Once he took me off my game, I stopped boxing, stopped keeping my hands up and played into his gameplan. I boxed like dogshit. That’s on me.
Mistake 5: Complaining to the referee.
This probably cost me the fight. This was my biggest mistake. At the last minute, the North Carolina boxing commission made me put on the standard headgear rather than my personal Ringside headgear which fit perfectly. We were told we would have permission to use my own headgear. That didn’t happen. I was forced to change minutes before my entrance. After the 2nd or 3rd time he grabbed my head, my headgear came over my face and I couldn’t see. That’s when I complained to the referee. He saw an opening and hit me with his first hard shot of the fight and took control of the 1st round. That was 100% my fault and cost me the fight. Through 4 years of college baseball, I never talked to an umpire. The first time I did it in boxing it cost me. Never again.
The headgear was a problem the entire fight because he kept grabbing my head when punching. I’m not complaining, I’m stating. Go back and watch it. I’m pretty sure it’s not illegal anyway. It’s just something I wasn’t ready for. I needed to box. I let him turn it into a brawl. I needed to get my pro wrestling entrance in without headgear to entertain the fans, which was a mistake. That’s on me.
I plan on learning from my mistakes and getting better than ever. After the fight, I said that this is not my last fight. That is true. I will fight again. I’ll know within a couple of weeks whether I’m ready now, or if I’ll push it off into August. No matter what, I’ll be in the best shape of my life and learn from my mistakes and be able to pound beginners like the Bavarian Hercules LIKE AN ABSOLUTE SAVAGE!