I announced my retirement today as a professional boxer. I won fifty fights and lost only four, and my manager patted me on the back, and said, “You should be proud of yourself, son. You owned this sport,” but I cried in the shower. I sobbed aloud and screamed, “What a tragedy! What a fucking waste!”

Now, I never knocked anybody out, or hell even knocked them down. I have puny wrists for a heavyweight and punch like a toy soldier. I barely bruised my opponents. I just threw a few punches and prayed that they would help me gain a split-decision victory. I feared counter punches and hooks. I had a glass jaw. The four people who beat me made me question the meaning of existence while I saw stars before terrifying darkness settled in. It was scary as fuck.

While the other heavyweights have eight-packs; I have a huge belly. I’d cry all the time when I was alone and help myself to pork chops and mashed potatoes. I also have skinny legs, and my back hurts all the time because of the stomach fat I carry. Fuck, I hate myself. My opponents would often stare me down with cocky grins or aggressive gnarls, and I’d shiver with sweat pooling on my forehead. Some would insult me, and I’d feel like running away from the stare down. Their breath, the crowd, and the weight of my belt made the atmosphere oppressive.

I was never a good trash talker. My opponents would say things like: “On July 4th, I’m gonna knock your fat ass out.” And I’d say something stupid like: “I’d love to knock you out too!” The press would laugh. I didn’t bother reading the newspapers because they would only make me eat more. One opponent, in particular, was very intimidating. He knocked me out once and wouldn’t stop bragging about it. I was frightened of him. I spent nights dreading the fight and watching porn. He showed up where I trained, and I quickly ran to the bathroom and hid in one of the stalls. It was high school all over again!

I could barely lift, and I begged my trainers to go easy on me. I hated training sessions that lasted more than ten minutes. A lot of my fights didn’t happen when they were supposed to because of training injuries. And as much as I love procrastinating, I hated the hospital. The food there is terrible, and it only heightened my anxiety as the recovery date approached. The only thing good about the time spent there was reading the comic books they have. They have quite a collection!

I wasn’t popular with the women either. I thought a celebrity could get any woman he wanted, but I had no such luck. I spent years looking for the one, and would often hire escorts, and date Golddiggers because I was frustrated. I’ve bought them cars, jewels, and fashionable robes. In return, they shared my bed. But I hardly ever got a full erection. I tried drinking and snorting cocaine, but I’d only puke all over the bed. And so, in the end, I just gave up.

I return home today as a three-time world champion. What a fucking tragedy! What a fucking waste of time!

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

2 Replies to “The pugilist”

  1. “I’d love to knock you out too!” This was extremely funny – and you’ve got a deviant sense of humour when you can get people to laugh in the midst of so much grit!

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