One Fighter Hangs On, When One Fighter Needs a Knockout
Standing on ceremony
The 8th round. The final two minutes of the fight. Sonia Fox needs a knockout, while Tanille Taylor just wants this fight to end as quickly as possible.
Before the bell, referee Kendra Vickers wants the two fighters to touch gloves before getting action underway as an act of sportsmanship. Sonia offers a glove, and Tanille… well…
Kendra: “Touch gloves!”
Tanille thinks: Guess I have to…
Tanille offers a glove quickly and touches the red gloves of Sonia, before quickly retreating. Space and time are important for her, but that open mouth and tired look in her eyes give Sonia all the motivation that she needs. As if she needed any more.
Pouring it on
Sonia comes out all guns blazing, looking for that one punch that will win her the fight. But even a tired Tanille doesn’t just capitulate to the tenacity of the American champion. She keeps a high guard and continues to parry punches as she had throughout the fight. Notably though, there’s no return fire from the white-gloved fighter. Her offence appears to be pretty much spent.
Sonia thinks: She’s tired, but she’s not going to just let me punch her lights out. I have to be a bit more clever than this.
Laila: “Strong defence to start the 8th round from Tanille Taylor. The Prodigy looks like she has established her intent to just ride out her huge lead to a decision.”
Exhorted by her coach, Sonia goes back to what worked for her so well in the last round, getting in close with Tanille and letting her hands go to the body. The lady in black uses her aggression to force Tanille into the ropes, and as soon as she does get ‘The Prodigy’ where she wants, she makes sure Tanille can’t escape.
As Tanille tries to hold on to force a break, Sonia frees herself and drives a tight, short right hand into Tanille midsection, a punch that audibly provokes a whine of pain from the redhead.
Sonia thinks: I wish I could have done this the whole fight, but I wouldn’t have been able to early in the fight, she wouldn’t have let me get close. Right now though, She doesn’t have an answer for me. But I can’t knock her out like this, I don’t think. She’s tougher than she looks.
Laila: “Bullying tactics from the desperate champion, who may not have the title on the line, but has the pride to try to produce something to show why she has the belt in the first place.”
Going for broke
With Tanille taking place so much punishment to the body, her gloves naturally drop to protect her from taking further pain.
Sonia thinks: Now it’s time to go to the head.
Sonia runs into trouble the first few times she to land upstairs. It takes a little more setup to actually land the type of punch that ‘The Extguisher’ wants. A couple of good feints to the body get the gloves of Tanille going low, before Sonia shifts her weight to throw a mean right hook over the top that lands flush on Tanille.
Tanille takes the punch, but her legs show the first sign of unsteadiness, whether that is from the punch or her fatigue.
Laila thinks: How do I make it seem like Tanille is not just struggling to survive here?
Laila: “A barnstorming shot from Sonia Fox who is showing late life in this fight. Can she make the breakthrough or can Tanille Taylor answer back – we’ve never seen her on the other end like this!”
With Tanille more or less staggering around the ring, Sonia has a hard time corralling her to stay still to land the punches she needs to end the fight. That leads back to a familiar strategy, the smaller, more powerful Sonia pursuing and outright pushing Tanille into the ropes. Once she gets her there, Sonia unleashes everything she has, not allowing Tanille to hold or obstruct her.
An opening arrives for a sharp, quick uppercut, and Sonia doesn’t miss it. It connects right under Tanille’s chin, jerking it skyward as she tries to absorb the red leather. Now Sonia does seem like Tyson.
The crowd oohs, and gets loud, sensing that we might be on the verge of seeing a dramatic comeback, and the downfall of a prospect.
Laila: “Taylor is hurt! She may have been playing possum, but if she was, she was almost made into roadkill by Sonia Fox after she landed a cruel uppercut to the chin. Tanille looks like she might go down!”
Going for the kill
Sonia’s enemy is time, and Tanille’s surprising strength of character to stay on her feet, despite the onslaught. The prospect might not have shown much, but she shows here that she can take a punch.
Seconds slip away, Tanille slips and slides along the ropes, grabbing almost getting tied up as she tries to stay upright. A veteran fighter would take a knee, laugh about it, and get up to beat the count and win the fight. Tanille’s never been in a spot like this before. She’s hurt, she’s reeling, and Sonia knows that victory might be near.
Tanille tries to turn to avoid a left hook, but Sonia’s punch rings true, drilling the prospect back into the ropes as sweat flies off her head. The crowd rises. It knows time is running short.
Laila: “Tanille Taylor is staggering around the ring like a drunken aunt after one too many chardonnays! Sonia lands another good punch! Does she have time to finish off Taylor! Will the referee intervene to save The Prodigy!”
Kendra thinks: If the roles were reversed and Sonia was on the other hand of this beating, I’d stop the fight. But the I know who the promoter wants to win, and unless it gets obvious that I need to stop it, I’m letting this one go.
Referee aside, the crowd senses blood. It wants the knockout. Sonia wants to deliver it. She has Tanille in the corner, where there is no escape. Tanille’s hands are low, she can barely defend herself. Sonia fires a wicked right cross that almost knocks Tanille’s head into the third row..
But Tanille survives.
The next sound is the sound of the bell.
The fight is over. Tanille Taylor is more or less out on her feet, but she’s made it to the final bell.
Kendra thinks: This Tanille chick took a hell of a beating. I’m surprised she’s still standing.
Kendra: “You okay?
Sonia walks away from the corner, to an outpouring of cheers from the fans, but she can only look back and think – if only I had a few more seconds.