Knights and ladies, Throughout the course of my errantness I can count on the fingers of both hands the amount of times i have been punched in the face or ribs, hard, and while it may have made me a better "man" , i'd probably have paid several hundred bucks each time for it not to happen.
People who do hard contact sports, week in week out, do have big big hearts when it comes to pain, so consider then the news that 39-year-old British welterweight Peter Buckley has had a quite unbelievable 299 pro outings and this coming Friday night the man with just 31 wins, 12 draws,and 256 losses, will have his 300th and very last fight..
Can you name another active boxer who has had anywhere close to 300 pro bouts? Thought not. Think about it, not only a mean average of 15 pro bouts a year for 19 years ( one every 3 weeks ), but a daily grind of gym , fitness regimes, spartan diets, and hours of face numbing sparring.
Turning pro way back in October of 1989, and down at 128-pounds, Birmingham's Buckley drew in his debut, then lost a decision, and then had a winning streak of six fights. This proved to be the longest victorious spell of his astonishing nineteen year career. Rarely stopped (just 10 of his 256! losses coming inside the distance) that final figure doesn't look too bad once Buckley's opponents have been factored in.
Dozens of unbeaten prospects litter his record, and in all, he's fought 42 future British, Commonwealth, European or World champions, including the likes of Duke McKenzie, Scott Harrison, Naseem Hamed, Michael Brodie, Gavin Rees and Colin McMillian.
Things will be a little easier on Friday when "The Professor" tackles Matin Mohammed - a man he drew with in Nottingham earlier this month - and becomes one of just a handful of fighters who have racked up 300 fights.
Most of Peter's fights took place in the U.K. but on occasion he did travel abroad for a bout. Speaking with The Sporting Life just a few days ahead of what he says will be his final fight, Buckley recalled his long career.
"Win lose or draw, this is definitely my last fight," Buckley said of his upcoming fight with Mohammed. "I've had my eye on the 300-mark for a while, and it's a little milestone I want to achieve, but I don't want to fight on. People keep saying to me that I'll get a call offering me a fight in a few weeks time and I'll say yes, but I mean it when I say this is it.
"Boxing has been good to me over the years. When I was a youngster I was in trouble with the police, a really wild kid. But the sport has given me a focus in life and kept me on the straight and narrow. I don't know what I'll do when it's all over on Friday, but I'd love to stay in boxing in one capacity or another."
Though he lost far more fights than he won, Buckley did have some high points in his long career. What was his proudest moment?
"I've had a few high points in the sport," Buckley said proudly. "But my proudest was when I went to Austria and took on Harald Geler for an intercontinental WBA title. He'd been knocking a few people over but he was nothing special and I had him over in the 9th, but I ended up losing on points over 12. There's been some lows as well and I definitely won't miss being punched in the face for a living!"
Peter was known for taking any fight, even with just a few hours notice. He claims he is nothing special for having done this, however.
"I'm always in the gym, so if I get a call a couple of hours before a fight, I usually say yes," Buckley said. "If you phone up a bricklayer and ask him to build you a wall he doesn't ask for three weeks to prepare. He comes round straight away. Why should a boxer be any different?"
Well i can find no other fitting way to end this humble nod to someone who has taken what on the surface is rank stupidity, and somehow created a dignified virtue, by reprinting, for you, Rudyard Kiplings fine poem " If"
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
The 31-256-12 Peter Buckley; they just don't make 'em like him anymore!
Here's wishing him number 32.
Sir Dayvd (sitting in his nice cosy studio, designing, with a cup of java and a balm cake ) of Oxfordshire