Unlike in any other sport, a boxer often needs to treat his exit as something of a detoxification process. Boxing is something that must be expelled from the system, oftentimes violently. The urge to compete in the squared circle, sadly, often must be beaten out of a man. Fighters are some of the most stubborn athletes alive, and that trait is typically a net positive ... until the body starts to slip. Then, the drive to compete at the highest level, the willpower that forces a pugilist to drive himself when mere mortals would have whimpered 'no mas,' can become a self-destructive feature.
On Friday night in Albany, boxing was removed from David Telesco. The 44-year-old Port Chester, N.Y. light heavyweight believed in his heart, mind and gut that he had one more run in him. Even though he was whacked by a 2,000-pound metal bar off a garbage truck on the sanitation route he works in Port Chester a few years ago, and a neurologist told him a weaker man would have died from the impact, he thought his maturity, his wisdom, and his drive would make up for any minute slippage of his physical skills. He was going to have around three fights, sharpen himself up, and challenge Chad Dawson, the WBC light heavyweight champion who downed Bernard Hopkins three weeks ago.
The first of the three fights, though, didn't end well. Vincent Miranda, a 14-1 Puerto Rican, knocked out Telesco (30-8-1), who once challenged Roy Jones for his 175-pound crown back in 2000, in the fifth round at the Times Union Center.
Telesco told me that he has read the writing on the wall, and the bruises on his face. He has reached the end of the line, after 21 years as a pro, and 39 fights. He needed to be convinced -- the facts needed to be established in violent fashion that it is time for younger men to grab for the gold.
"The fight didn't go as planned," Telesco told me on Saturday. "I guess the injuries on the job kept me from performing the way I wanted to. I couldn't let my hands go when needed. As of now I will announce my retirement. I thank the boxing industry and reporters over the years that covered me and most of all, my fans!"