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The Hand That Rocks the Cradle:
How Kolle’s photo gives credence to what some Minnesota boxers are really about

BY RAY KILGORE
4-13-12

 

Several days ago I got a photo on my cell phone, showing a very gory hand—if that’s what you want to call it: a human body. Nevertheless, before I knew it, I had started a chain of events by sending it to person A, who sent it to person B, who sent it to person C, and so forth, all of whom went to the site and looked at the clear picture for themselves. In sum, Kolle was somewhat indecently exposed without trying to generate news.

So, instead of beating down his door for a post-fight interview, I thought I’d write a letter or memo, whichever you prefer to call it--a correspondence, if you will, mainly addressed to the non-boxing fan (who, trust me, takes a peek at this site) or some who just don’t ascribe to the theory that Midwest fighters are good in general.

Last Saturday, I drove to Wisconsin to cover the RJ. Laase promoted boxing card (who I hope to interview for a full feature story in the days to follow) card.

Anyhow, Andy Kolle was the main event, and that was my second time seeing him in action; the first was in 2010, when he crushed Daryl Salmon inside of two rounds.

When Walker and Kolle made their ring walks, two things stuck out to me: first, when Walker disrobed, his physique reminded me of a young bald-headed Marvin Halger—muscles on top of muscles. As for Kolle’s, I wondered if the guy had any body fat. But I noticed that his legs were thin—I bring this up because I thought about how the weight would impact Kolle over the long haul in this fight, since Kolle had agreed to fight Walker at 160 pounds, although his preferred weight was 154 pounds. It was rumored that he dropped weight after the Truax fight because 160 was too much. I hope that Kolle agreeing to fight at this weight marked good news--for me, that is--because I selfishly want to see Truax-Kolle or Kolle-Truax 2. And this time, I am guessing Truax wouldn’t have an issue, as long as the conditions are right; it’s only fair that Truax give him a rematch on his turf, since Kolle gave him the first fight in his own backyard. At the start of round one, Kolle came out aggressive. It was clear that he was faster than Walker and that Walker was a slow starter.

But round by round, Kolle continued to stand in there and force Walker to fight. He seemed unaffected by the fact that Walker was accustomed to fighting at a higher weight. My original notes said, ‘K standing in fighting on the inside with bigger guy????’

By round five, I was surprised, and I do mean surprised, that Kolle went chest to chest with Walker and actually roughed him up on the inside. My notes said, ‘amazing dude-K staying on inside getting better of two.’ By the time the fight ended, Kolle had shown some stuff, and so, too, did Walker—who had all but told me that Kolle could not punch. But in all fairness, Team Kolle could have said that based on all the missiles he landed to Walker’s bald head; he could have numbed it up so that Walker couldn’t feel anything.

All jokes aside, Kolle-Walker was a darn entertaining fight. It is beyond me why the Commission didn’t approve Walker for Truax or Fort, yet they approved (no fought of Fort who did his job) Cheyenne Ziegler, who all but quit against Fort.

Regardless, when I saw Kolle’s hand on my cell phone and on Minnesotaboxing.com, it quickly reminded me that some Minnesota boxers have long been given a bad rap, image-wise, for not having hurt or talent, yet Kolle could have easily bailed out, and the same could be said for Walker.

He wasn’t making millions of dollars for this fight, and he works a full-time job with no certainties that his boss would grant him days off for non-work-related injuries. The fight wasn’t on TV. where he might have had more to gain by gutting it out with a seriously damaged hand. Out of personal pride, something that many of boxers learn to get past quickly, this man fought. And not that I needed to be reminded, but as a co-worker who saw the photo said, “This dude could have been killed fighting with just one hand. What’s wrong with him?”

No, a fairer question might be: what’s right with him? I am not saying that Kolle deserves a badge of honor for risking his health, but what I am saying is that he clearly deserves credit here.

This isn’t a Kolle cheerleading piece. In fact, I had never met the guy nor talked with him in the four years of writing for this site. And I feel confident saying that he could not pick me out of a lineup if he tried his best. Is it fair to use Kolle’s injury as the guinea pig to prove my point? Not sure. But is it fair not to use his image as a symbolic gesture to make my point about some Minnesota fighters in general? (Remember, this article is mainly for those that I hear on a daily basis who say MN boxers are X, Y, and Z).

I had no clue that Kolle’s photo existed, and the only reason I thought about writing this short piece is to prove that our guys will man or woman up and get “dirty,” if you will.

For the average person, it’s difficult to understand how a guy would be willing to put so much into something with no guarantees.

And I am confident in saying that very few non-fighters would have risked their well-being for something that they truly believed in, no matter what they might say.

Now, there are many fighters who might read this and say, “So what? He hurt his hand badly; it has happened to me many times.” Fair enough, but how can I say this politely? I never had a photo to share of their badly bruised hand to make my point.

The fact is, I’ve seen many fighters on the national level whose eyes and other body parts were distorted. But somehow, there’s this belief that these guys are expected to withstand that because of the decent money, TV exposure and big-time promoters backing them. Little local guys? Well lets just say… Or no, let's just move on.. “

Oh,” “Ew,” was all I heard from people who saw the photo. But nearly all of them wanted to know how it happened, and when they did learn of it, they expressed opinions like, “He stood for something; he fought for what he believed in,” “He stood his ground,” or,

“What a warrior’s heart.”

The last person to see the photo was a 70-year-old African-American man who wanted to ask one question of me: “Did dat boy [Kolle] kill somebody?” He went on. “Where I grew up [in the South], when your hands look like tha’, it means you dun kill somebody.” Well, Charlie, thankfully Kolle didn’t kill Walker, but he sure gave a Killer performance. And for once (even if it doesn’t stick for long), I finally got to show—with tangible evidence--that some Minnesota boxers have pride and are willing to stand up, fight on, and push forward even if their hands are nearly killing them.

 

 


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