by Sarah Jane Anaya
(For Part 1 of This Series, Click HERE)
It is Father’s day, a quiet Sunday morning two days before we depart for Paris. Most families are waking up with special father’s day breakfasts and special plans, but we have a fight scheduled and it’s close . This is not the first holiday we have set aside due to a approaching bout. Carlos is watching his weight carefully. Only 10 pounds away from his fighting weight which is great, but this close to the fight he needs to keep his weight loss on track and not gain a single ounce . I do not buy a cake to share with the family and I do not prepare a special dinner. It will be oatmeal and chicken breast, veggies water and green tea. He will need to run today and I will need to clean and get ready to leave the country on Tuesday. Shopping, packing, getting our son set up and making sure our pets are covered for a week away. Normal mom stuff.
The butterflies are in my stomach now and my brain is on a running loop going through the checklist. First and most important is that I have everything that he will need to fight . A license from the boxing commission we picked up in Morelia, Mexico yesterday. It is required to be issued no more than 7 days before the fight. The blood tests are done and the results are sent, but I always bring a copy of all the medicals for “just in case”. The fight uniform, trunks, shoes, cup, mouth piece are the first things I pack.
It has taken me years and 39 fights to reach the level of calmness days before he fights. This time is a little different. Carlos has asked me to officially work the corner as his 3rd, a task I have never been invited to take on. I’m nervous. It sounds simple enough, but the job takes nerves of steel and I have witnessed grown men blackout while in the corner, paralyzed by fear, blinded by the bright lights. Can I do this?
From the start of Carlos’ career I felt the pressure to be sexy and stunning on the arm of the champ . I felt the expectation for me was to be on Instagram with my boobs out looking hot and to keep my boxing opinions to myself . So I worked quietly behind the scenes never asking for, nor taking credit for my role beyond the “beautiful wife”. There is a stigma in boxing about a fighters wife being involved in the fighter’s career . At first I thought it was sexism, a macho man attitude that women don’t belong at the negotiating table. When I found myself sitting across the table from Don King at his Miami mansion I realized this was on my shoulders and I began to speak. I told him what we wanted and what it was going to take to get us to sign. My hands were shaking under the table as I spoke and I struggled to keep the lump out of my throat. We walked out with no deal, a little disappointed, but I was not going to budge. Then we received the call later that night with news Don would meet our demands and we had a deal. I also overheard Mr. King tell his associate he didn’t want to work with a fighter who had a wife like that. Lesson number one, Mr. King– don’t talk business on speaker!
I thought about the comment many times and wondered if it was just me, or was it all wives who had the courage to be a leader among the men? I like to think the reason was he recognized the incredible power that exists in love. No one will ever fight for Carlos as hard as I would, no one would be as incorruptible as me , no one believed in him as much as I do, and I was the one he could trust. And that is a powerful team.
(Come Back for Part 3 this Friday)