he sweat dripped on the boxing gym’s tattered canvas. Blood stains around the corners—a reminder of some hotly contested sparring sessions that happened in the past.
On the center of the ring, a 38 year old man with a receding hairline shadow-boxed. His eyes were fierce and focused. His body was still ripped as he masterfully memorized all the techniques he had learned throughout the years. “One-two, one-two” then quickly moved to another direction repeatedly chanting that mantra.
It has been 15 years since Rustico Torrecampo, fought against a lanky flyweight named Manny Pacquiao. However, it ended with a reversal of fortune. Rustico retired after seven fights at still 24 years old and Manny became what he is now—the world’s pound per pound king and the only eight-division world champion in boxing. Rustico vividly remembered how his timed left hit Manny straight in the jaw. It was in the third round, and Rustico was so sure Manny would never get up, even if the referee counts from one up to a hundred. It was one punch… one immortal punch that he will forever remember.
For years Rustico thought of what could have been if he continued fighting. He might have won a national championship and maybe world titles before enjoying a good retirement. Instead he ended up working for six days a week in a Metal factory and with a small business—selling noodles on the street.
Rustico injured his left wrist a month after his win with Pacquiao. He never went to a doctor and suffered 4 losses on six fights. And in 2007 he killed a garbage truck driver for bumping against his sidecar basically spilling his noodles. At 38 years old Rustico has never been this sure in getting back to boxing. His wrist has now fully healed, and his power is still there. He had a forgettable record, and no one really remembered how he looks. For some he was just the boxer who gave Manny his first taste of defeat.
As Rustico Torrecampo mimicked how he knocked out Pacquiao a group of trainers and boxers questioned him… Why are you getting back in boxing?
Rustico quickly replied “I just have to get what Manny left for me”…
His first comeback fight ended in a knockout against a debuting fighter. Rustico only needs that one opportunity, one championship chance… For him nothing is really impossible even with a forgettable record… even for a 38 year old with a receding hairline that still dreams of a championship whose one significant win has already been part of history.
“One-two, one-two” as Rustico repeatedly chanted.