Light after dark

Light after dark

I called Steven Butler to prepare this column. It was half past nine. Butler looked busy. He’s fine and polite, but I was disturbing him: “I’m making lunch for the two children. I’m a busy daddy, ”he told me, preparing a bowl of cereal for the little ones.

It was not a big deal. It was Thursday and I had plenty of time. Around noon, he would be busy with lunch. It was at 1 hour that he would go to the gym for his training. He is very involved with children since his young wife Seyla is studying at university to become a social worker. They are both beautiful.

Steven Butler is also a busy dad with a big fight in Mexico next Friday. Against Jose de Jesus Macias. A tough Mexican, like there are many, who came to Montreal to beat Francis Lafrenière and lose against Mikaël Zewski.

I’m always happy to chat with Butler. He’s smart and sane. He learned the hard way, always ready to raise his fists ever since he showed up at Georges Cherry’s Champion gym when he was ten.

THE GOOD AND THE LEAST GOOD OF COVID

The pandemic has a broad back. We see it every day. But deaths and bankruptcies are real. For the boxers, it was very difficult to live with. The fights were extremely rare and the purses very flat: “But at least, I was able to spend a year near the children. I wouldn’t have been able to watch them grow up so happily if I had led a normal life. And then, the pandemic helped me to take care of myself and to solve the health problems that were harming me, ”he explained to me when I called him back between the children’s breakfast and lunch.

“The health problem” is a nerve stuck in the left eye against Ukrainian Vitaly Kopylenko in Las Vegas almost two years ago. A right on the eye during the first round. The nerve was weakened and became lazy. So much so that Butler might have started squinting if he hadn’t been operated on to repair the nerve. Against Ryota Murata, in the world championship, the heavy and devastating rights of the champion that Butler did not see leaving did the damage: “But this is not an excuse. Murata had too many weapons in his arsenal. At this level, the champions are complete, ”reveals Butler.

DO NOT HURT YOUR MENTOR

And then, the hard truth is, things didn’t go well in the Butler camp in Japan. So much so that on their return, both the boxer and his promoter decided to make profound changes. Reynald Boisvert, who was almost Butler’s second father, agreed to step aside in favor of Mike Moffa. He is a hot and very dynamic coach. After his recovery, Butler threw himself headlong into training. He had to relearn another boxing more focused on defense. Lose reflexes in order to acquire new ones, think differently in a fight, learn to measure your efforts in the ring. Hours and hours of “sparring”, hard work.

And in addition, Butler wanted at all costs to avoid injuring Boisvert, the man who accompanied him throughout his climb to Tokyo in the world championship: “I spoke to Reynald. He continues to be my mentor. He’s part of my team. When I go outside to fight big, he’s going to come with us. I’m at peace with myself, ”Butler says.

RUNNING WITH A MASK …

Tuesday, Butler will fly to Mexico. Four days later, he will step into a ring to deliver ten rounds of boxing. At very high altitude. Those who have been to Mexico City know this. It is very trying to make a physical effort when you are not used to this rarefied air. Imagine ten rounds of boxing …

” I’m ready. My physical trainer makes me run with a mask that simulates the lack of oxygen at altitude. It’s hard, but I’m a professional, I have to put in the effort to be ready. The stakes are too high, ”he said.

I called back for some details. I was treated to the most beautiful conclusion one can dream of for this kind of text.

“Yes, there is the pandemic. But I have beautiful children and a beautiful family. I am now in good health and I will practice my boxing profession to feed my family … I am pampered, I am privileged ”.

The voice was crisp. Sincere. A handsome guy …

Finally, a good club!

The Canadiens fans have been wonderfully loyal, loyal and patient. They forgave everything to an organization that did not deserve their devotion.

But this season, fans and fans alike are receiving their love in return. They are entitled to spectacular games and a profusion of goals. Even the editors of sports news are disturbed. Slipping seven goals and recovering in a one-minute topo becomes a challenge. Strongly the defeats of 4 to 1 …

You have to keep both feet on solid ground. In a normal season, we would just complete the exhibition schedule. But it is also true for the teams that the CH has planted for two weeks. With a schedule of 56 games, these wins are even more important.

We’ll drink to that …

In the notebook

Pat Laprade, who gave us some great books on Mad Dog Vachon and professional wrestling, tackles a big subject. The life of Émile Butch Bouchard, the former nationalist captain of the Canadiens. He began to conduct his interviews …

He will introduce a great man. An oak. I will come back to it.

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