Mercedes Carter prepares for the Golden Gloves

November 2018. The final training session before Mercedes Carter and her coach Carl Williams leave for the USA Golden Gloves is about to begin.

Mercedes shouts: “Yo pops! Get outta there. We gots some trainin’ to do!”

From his office, Carl shouts: “Kid! Didn’t hear ya comin’ in! I’m comin’ in a minute!”

He wraps up a call in a hurry and takes to the stairs to meet his fighter.

Mercedes: “There ya are. Took ya long enough.”

Mercedes prepares Golden Gloves 1

Carl: “C’mon. Took only a minute. Yer so damn impatient when ya want to. Oh, and ya look really relaxed today.”

Mercedes: “Slept 10 hours. Muhaha.”

Carl: “Dat’s awesome. Not that we’re doin’ anything extremely intensive today, but a good dose of energy ain’t gunna hurt for our muscle memory drills. Yer gunna be super sharp.”

Mercedes: “So… handpads?”

Carl: ‘Ya got dat right, kid. Stickin’ and movin’ for a while. Break a good sweat and then we can pack up for Denver.”

Mercedes: “Already? Most peeps get to da Golden Gloves only a couple of days ahead!”

Carl: “I get ya, kid, but ya gotta remember da altitude over there. At a mile above sea level, yer body’s gots ta get used to havin’ a little less oxygen ta work with!”

Mercedes: “Ahhhhh.”

Carl: “Dats right. Gotta preserve that endurance. Not every fighter in da Golden Gloves can afford to fly there like us and stay ahead of time. Competitive advantage, kid!”

Mercedes: “Yer smart for an old privileged white man!”

The trainer has a chuckle.

Carl: “C’mon, kid. Let’s get to work.”

Training is very straightforward. What these two are working on is responsiveness. Mercedes has to figure out what her coach is doing, just like she would do so against opponents. They won’t talk or announce their moves, so Carl doesn’t do it either.

First, some classic punching on the pads. Then, slipping incoming shots and moving around. Then, slipping and countering. Later on, combinations. Near the end: everything at the same time at full speed.

Mercedes prespares Golden Gloves 2

In the final few minutes of the training session, Carl makes Mercedes work on slipping shots once again. This time, he’s not throwing with the technique of a coach with pads, but just like an opponent would do it in the ring. At full speed.

That part of the training session is the most difficult one, but Mercedes enjoys herself. She grins as she avoids some of the quickest punches thrown at her.

The session concludes at the sound of the ring timer.

Carl: “Good job, kid. Yer in top shape. Ready to kick ass in Denver, All we gunna do ahead of the fights will be light work to keep ya sharp and make ya recuperate from trainin’ camp.”

Mercedes prespares Golden Gloves 3