I don't think he's the guy to actually come up with it, but Malcom Gladwell, author of "Outliers," is probably the guy who popularized the concept of 10,000 hours being required to become an expert at any one thing. Simply put, to become an expert at a skill, you must put in your dues...dues that cash in at right around 10,000 hours of dedicated, informed and focused training. Ever since the book came out, I've seen the concept mentioned, discussed and repeated all over the place.
Most recently, I found it in Sam Sheridan's new book, "The Mind of a Fighter." It's a pretty kickass book that attempts to answer the questions about the mental game involved in combat sports. One of the men interviewed for the book was legendary fighter and trainer, Pat Miletich. Miletich's contribution to the overall puzzle is that gaining some degree of competency in the sport was simple..."You had to take plenty of ass-whuppin's."
That's a pretty common expression that you hear. You got to pay your dues. You have to be humbled, beaten, broken-down and taught by people with more experience than yourself. So with that in mind, I pay homage to the 5 worst ass-whupping's I have received in my boxing career, listed in no particular order. To those responsible, thanks...I think.
1. Johnny Black - Was being trained down in Costa Mesa by Jesse Reid at the time. Despite fighting at lightweight (135 lbs), he gave me such a bad beating to the body one sparring session that I was pissing blood for the next two days.
2. Arturo Quinterto - Another lightweight fighter, Arturo was the first guy to ever hit me hard enough for me to need to call for a breather. In the 2nd of the 3 rounds we sparred, he landed a perfectly timed and perfectly executed shot to the liver that felt like he had used a baseball bat. I was lucky that it came near the end of the round and that it was just a sparring session. He was a complete gentleman about it, and actually thanked ME for the work.
3. Henry Molloy - Won the 152 pound Golden Gloves in 2007. My sparring sessions with Henry all came after he had retired from competition and was only training for fun and to stay in shape. Even still, he is probably one of the top 2 or 3 hardest punchers I have ever worked with. He doesn't have great speed but his punches just land like wreaking balls. He is a guy that will keep coming forward no matter how many hard shots you land on him. It's discouraging and a little scary to land your best shots, just to have the guy keep walking forward through them all.
4. Unknown - I can't recall the guy's name, but he was an open class fighter down in Orange County before I had had my first amateur fight. By far the most dominated that I have ever been in a sparring session. I don't think I landed a single significant punch, but I was on the receiving end from bell to bell.
5. Mike Fernandez - Mike's only 19, but he is leagues better than me. He started competing back when he was 7 or 8, and we will probably see him on TV one of these days when he turns pro. I shouldn't say that it's an ass-whuppin', because he is one of those guys who knows how to work with people that are less experienced or less talented than him. That being said, it is always obvious that he can take it a step higher than however hard I want to take the sparring session. That kind of control is pretty impressive in a young guy. He has a very good and fast straight right hand, and can double up on the left hook to the body and head like a 10 year pro. Works good, ripping uppercuts on the inside.