“As the old cliche says, thousands upon thousands of punches can make a career. One can end it.”
There’s no sport quite as cutthroat as boxing with the life of a pugilist more often than not being one of struggle and strife.
It takes years of blood, sweat and tears to reach the top but only one defeat to plummet back down to the bottom.
Get in, get paid, get out!
That was the sentiment shared by Michael Carruth earlier this week when discussing the trials and tribulations of life inside the ring.
Carruth became the first Irish boxer to win Olympic gold back in 1992. The Dubliner remained our only gold medalist for 20 years until Katie Taylor’s heroics at London 2012 propelled her into superstardom.
Seven years on, the Bray pugilist is widely regarded as our country’s greatest ever boxer. Our only ever undisputed World champion. Our nation’s sweetheart. A true icon of Ireland.
Taylor returns to the ring next week when she moves up a weight class to face Christina Linardatou for WBO super-lightweight belt.
However, her gold medal compatriot is hoping that Taylor walks away from the sport after next week’s bout in Manchester.
“I didn’t think she’d fight at 64kg because I think she’s a natural 60kg,” said Carruth at the launch of Circle K’s “Here for Ireland” initiative
“She’s boxed all her career at 60kg. I don’t think it’s a huge weight difference, I’d be a bit concerned if she moved up to 69kg or 71kg because you’re going to be carrying weight.
“Going up one weight division is ok, going up two is a different ball game. It depends on her opponent as well. Is she coming down from 71 to make 64 or is she coming down from 65? But she’s unified champion of the world. She’s the greatest professional boxer Ireland’s ever had – male or female.
“I would love her to get out because I know her so well and I think when you’re undisputed you’re undisputed. There’s nothing bigger or better.
“I would want her out of the game. You can fight one fight too many. This is just a personal thing with me and Katie. She’s at the absolute top, where can you go from there? You can’t go anywhere, only down.
“I’m hoping that doesn’t happen to her and I’m hoping this is her last fight. Then again, she loves what she does and she’s impeccable in her approach to it. No stone is left unturned.
“She’ll be sparring guys heavier than her to get used to the weight difference. She’ll be sparring guys lighter than her to get speed. She’ll have all her homework done on her opponent, she’ll have her nutrition right and her head right. She’ll be right for the fight.”
Taylor isn’t the only Irish pugilist that Carruth is hoping will walk away. He also believes the time is now for double Olympic medalist Paddy Barnes to retire from boxing.
Life in the pros got off to a promising start for Barnes but the Belfast boxer has suffered three defeats in his last four fights. Carruth believes it is time for the Olympian to walk away but believes he still has a role to play in developing the sport.
“Get out of the game,” asserted Carruth when questioned on Barnes’ next move.
“Paddy is a long time in boxing and you can only go so far as you get older. Your reactions aren’t as good, everything’s not as good. I believe there’s a job for Paddy in a development role in Belfast.
“That’s what I think he should do, get out of the pro game. He’s given enough to boxing. He’s a three-time Olympian, he’s our only two-time medalist. He’s been a great ambassador for our country. He’s had an up and down pro career.
“Get out of it now and go and enjoy life.”