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Farewell Michael Woods (Not Like That!)



Farewell Michael Woods (Not Like That!)

I don’t like to think of it as fitting that the end of my series of essays focused on a history of boxing in Sacramento, California, coincides with the end of Michael Woods’ relationship with NYFights, the boxing website he began in 2015, because I don’t like to see Michael’s world upended.

I have nothing but gratitude for how he has helped me, and become my friend.

When the book I wrote describing my experiences in boxing was published a few years ago, Michael was the first in the media world to express an interest in what I had written.

I sent him a copy, asking that he mention the book on his website if he thought it a worthwhile read for his followers. He did better than that, and booked me as a guest on his podcast.

Available at discerning booksellers

Not long after, he offered me my first paying gig as a writer. Not quitting your day job-level wages of course, but after receiving enough rejections over the years to fill a mail truck, it was wonderful to be appreciated. To be asked to write rather than begging people to read what I had written.

Other publications and sites have been kind to me as well – Ringside Seat, The Fight City, The Comeback – but NYFights has posted the vast majority of boxing-related material I have written.

Michael gave me pretty much carte blanche to write about whatever held my interest, which is a very nice level of freedom to have. Beside boxing, I wrote about Covid, my mother’s death, and recent health issues. It was very comforting to know that as soon as I finished a piece I could put it in the mail, so to speak, and it would then be, with minor editing, sent out into the world.

It was almost like I was a columnist, the job I first coveted as I began thinking of writing as a possible line of work. Inspired by the Sacramento Bee’s Pete Dexter, I dreamed of having a job like his and writing human interest profiles. I was reminded of my motivation each day as I rode the light rail past the Bee’s office at 21st and Q on my way to English and writing classes at Sac State.

That dream never panned out, as the newspaper business was an early victim of the same forces that have now taken a toll on Michael’s website. The internet world, which for years has feasted on the journalistic profession, is now eating itself. Even if I wasn’t out of boxing material, I would be out of an outlet.

Michael has spoken a bit recently of difficulties in the internet-oriented journalism business, writing about how the majority of the viewing public – meaning people much younger than myself – are not much interested in the print journalism, but would rather gain information through watching videos. That is not my game. The written word, presented well, is an art form, and I worry about a society that cannot appreciate this form of art.

I wish Michael the very best, both personally and professionally. I imagine we will continue as friends, but with less regular contact as our working lives intersect less often. The same for a couple of my longest-term social media friends – Colin Morrison and Abe Gonzalez, NYFights correspondents who were among the first to accept me into the small boxing world on Twitter. I will miss them, as well.

Almost as much as I will miss Michael pronouncing my name as “Glen Shahp,” replacing the “r” in my last name with an “h,” his Boston roots still strong.

EDITOR NOTE: Thanks Glen.

I do not do this for money. Good thing, because were that the case there'd be zero doubt that all in all, I have not been a success.

I don't take that 100% personally, as I've been telling anyone that would (pretend?) to listen that journalism is near dead. Every year, more dead-er.

But… The people who do it, many of us, are not dead. The appetite to fund this enterprise did indeed go pulse-less awhile back, but I don't take that fully personally either.

It's the way of the world, the “business” world.

Yeah but, what we've done a little bit here, snuck it in, is more about art, and heart, than business.

Glen's pieces never broke the internet. They don't “get the numbers” that the clickbait culture seeks. But they were the best, most real things you read on any day they dropped. And, my friends, that is meaningful. More than money?

Yeah, but that's not what our culture is at all about.

Guess what? It's not nearly all doom and gloom!

Lemme testify…. We have covered boxing, aka the fight game at this site.

I will continue to do that, exactly where I'm not sure. But I will do so older, with much scar tissue to contend with than we started. Bloodied, bowed, even. But totally still in the fight. Not leaving the arena.

And sorry Glen, I tweaked your suggested headline, I try not to do that, because it's your art, from your heart. But I didn't want people to think I was dead, I'm still trying to find work!

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.