The ride on the way up the rollercoaster, the butterflies of anticipation are not unpleasant, they aren’t ricocheting around the gut malevolently. Unbeaten, it’s a great feeling, and combined with youthfulness, and the attendant feeling of relative immortality, it’s easy to be upbeat.
But tasting that L, and then working to bounce back, expecting a return to form…and then eating another L…
The feeling in the gut goes to sour and stays.
You aren’t what you thought you were. The pathway, it has been blocked…and do I have the skills and the grit to get over the hurdle. Or was I fooling myself on the come up…am I maybe not actually suited for the fighting life like I thought I was? Shit…it ACTUALLY IS a rollercoaster, isn't it?
Frank Galarza crossed paths with Jarrett Hurd, now IBF 154 champion, and was stopped when they met in November 2015, in what was seen in some circles as a coin flip fight, or maybe just “next” on the resume for “the Brooklyn Rocky” who’d become a local hero in NYC fight circles, for his fighting spirit and admirable resilience. Round six, TKO; and he examined the hows and whys. Changes would have to be made, and he made them. But not enough to get back onto a winning track. Vet Ishe Smith scored a MD over Galarza, now 32, in September 2016.
Now what? He thought he had a line on changes that needed to be made. But he couldn’t get past the past his prime Smith, who, by the way, showed he still has plenty in the tank in a loss to Julian “J Roc” Williams two weeks ago.
Is it time to throw in that towel, Galarza asked himself, shift the gears, get a straight job?
“It crossed my mind,” said Galarza, set to fight tonight (Saturday, Nov. 25) at the MSG Theater underneath Kovalev-Shabranskyy on a Main Events card. “But I felt like it wasn’t over for me, it didn’t feel right. People forget I don’t have experience in boxing, I had 11 amateur fights. I learned a lot from my two losses, something that I needed. Some feel like my career was rushed, I was on a streak but I’m a fighter, that’s what I’ve always been so for me to quit wouldn’t be the right ending for my story!”
Junior middleweight Galarza, now 17-2-2, will meet 15-4-1 Jaime Herrera, of Illinois. He comes in off a loss to 15-0 Taras Shelestyuk, winner of three in a row before that. He drew with then 12-0 Steven Butler in 2015, right after being stopped out (round two) by Egidijus Kavaliaskas. That loss came after he upset 26-1 Mike Jones. Short story: He’s no ant-hill for Galarza to skip over.
“I feel good, it feels good to be fighting at home, Madison Square Garden, and I’m excited for the future. I still got a lot of fight in me and I’ve adjusted my team and more focused than ever. A whole new Frank. I’m working with trainer Aureliano Sosa, and Leonard Wilson as my coaches now and my management Adrian Clark and AJ Galante, also. New promoter Main Events. Everything has been revamped and it’s going to be fun!”
He’s saying he’s back and better than before. How much better?
“I guess you guys would have to be the judge but for me my boxing has gotten better, I’m sharper and cleaner, you guys will see!”
Thanksgiving came and went and the Brooklyn-bred Galarza wasn’t in stuffing his face and watching football mode.
“I was thinking about the fight honestly,” he told me. “I’m happy I’m back in the ring, I’m happy it’s in New York. And I can’t wait to perform… I’m where I belong!”