After months of grueling training with strict discipline, I was more than prepared to take on the best. It felt like it. Mentality also played a crucial role in winning all the matches, leading me to the final where I would be facing Masked. He was more masculine than me, bigger size than me, eventually writing on his forehead that he was somehow or rather better than me.

The crowd was thundering with cheers for the Masked as it clearly showed in the annals that he had won more titles than me, more experienced than me, more. Nonetheless, I did not get the jitters nor the freights of facing the creme of the crop. The normal anxiety was good but this was different, the atmosphere had a stark variation from the previous matches that I had. I might be the underdog, but the overwhelming feeling was waning me away.

Words and thoughts was messing with me, I stopped, kept a clear mind, marched into the ring with the grit to pull this off. The Masked was an enigma in the world of boxing, he never had a definite style of boxing ever since he started his career, thus it was proven futile using prolific stratagems to counter him. Although I looked through most of his matches, I could deduce that he was erratic, astute and brutal, giving the enemies the impression that he was the predator and they were the prey.

The Masked was in front of me, he stood still, tilted his head slightly to the side, analysing me right through his sinister mask- crooked, dashed with highlighters. My mentality instantly reverted into a prey, I had fallen into his trap.

Ting! Ting! Ting! he swerved to the right, gave a jab into the left side of my face, leaving me no space to react, at all. I managed to block it with pure instinct and some luck. As I was recovering, he was already into his next move which sent me flying into the railings of the ring.

Masked approached me as if the judge was not there, but was stopped by the judge eventually. “no way…” I heaved under my breath, the gap is just too big… The world was swirling in my vision, I caught hold of myself, spat some blood unto the ground that was getting in my way, pulled myself up, nodded for the match to re-start.

The reaction time of the Masked was stunning, but I turned into offensive mode. I threw a jab into his mask but he intercepted it with an elbow, knocking my arm senseless. He lowered his body to reach my stomach, released a barrage of fierce punches. I retreated, sustaining myself from falling.

He did not stop just yet, brushing pass the judge, I held my ground, concentrating all the effort that I had left to break down his attacks and his intentions. The crowd was cheering relentlessly for the Masked which was a noise factor for me. I was determined to win this match.

In the viewing of his matches, he did not actually lose any match in his career, he lost when he was told to or when he did not want to win the match. That was a weird pattern that I observed. And in his winning matches, he knocked out his opponents in less than 5 rounds, the most was a draw in which he took three deep bows after those particular matches, perhaps as a gesture of salute to his opponents.

My mind was running amok with the possibilities of his fighting pattern whilst coping with the pain that was inflicted by his sharp punches. I could not let my mind overrun me with negative thoughts, it would be loss for me. He is also human, he will eventually… Before finishing my thoughts, a right hook connected with me, I entered into a blocking stance, enduring the blows without losing consciousness.

I created distance between us, he was closing in without failure. It was a tango where I was on the receiving end of all the pain. My mind was racing with thoughts to defeat him, I am not a person who gives in until I solve the problem at hand.

He kept on at the offensive side, for four straight rounds now, he did not stop nor falter in his swiftness in dealing his punches. I countered some as I detected a vague pattern in his punches- sporadic.

During the seventh round, he still did not break a sweat and my body was at the brink of breaking apart. The Masked approached me with an intent to end this match, it struck me as those videos of his last rounds portrayed, I mustered everything that I had in me, making sure that I could at least counter him.

His right jab was aimed straight into my face, I defended it; resumed with a left hook, blocked; I responded with a sweep from my right leg, he did not see that coming, or perhaps he did, he purposely fell to the ground, bringing me along with him. The Masked was on top of me, I struggled to push his punches away but to no avail, I had to endure his packs of punches. The lights were shining brighter as ever.

No… I can’t lose now. Not here. And definitely not in his hands!

I pried my eyes open, pushed away both his arms, slammed my head against his mask, breaking it into pieces. The judge pulled us apart, discontinued the match momentarily, I was in a blur of whatever that happened after that.

The crowd was buzzing like madmen. I saw the judge approached me in an odd fashion, declaring my victory as I just came to my senses that my headbutt knocked him out.

Enigmatic.

Craving for more? Down below:
Nanning, Guangxi, China (Day 2)
Stop. Lying. (September Goals)
Sayangi Malaysiaku (Malaysia’s 61st Independence Day Celebration)
Sayangi Malaysiaku
Underground by Haruki Murakami (Book Review)
My Darkest Self.
Future Crimes by Marc Goodman (Book Review)

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