Boxer with Prosthetic Face Remains Undefeated
[size=12pt]Boxer with Prosthetic Face Remains Undefeated[/size]
While the decision by an international sports arbitration panel to allow disabled athletes to compete against Ã¢â‚¬Å“able-bodiedÃ¢â‚¬Â athletes was seen as only affecting double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius, the ruling has already made an impact far beyond track and field.
Most notably, in the boxing ring, where prosthetic-faced heavyweight Mike Tate moved his record to 22-0 with a sixth round TKO victory on Saturday night. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Tate now faces no legal barriers between himself and a shot at the heavyweight crown.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think I can be the new face of boxing,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Tate. Ã¢â‚¬Å“With my iron chin, and I mean that literally, I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be defeated.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tate was a middling amateur boxer until he received a bad sunburn four years ago.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My boxing career was all but over,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the sunburn. I just wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t any good at boxing. But I had just read an article about a guy named Oscar Pistorius and his super prosthetic legs. So I played a hunch that disabled athletes would one day be accepted, turned my doctor down on his offer of complimentary aloe for my burn, and opted for an elective, prosthetic face implant.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tate hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t lost a fight since getting the skin and bone on his face replaced by a space age lead, steel and titanium alloy.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel a thing. DoesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter how hard you punch me,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hit me with a metal bat if you want. Nothing. I am unbeatable.Ã¢â‚¬Â
While some competitors feel Tate has an unfair advantage, few will say so on the record.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Look, I feel bad for the guy. He has a handicap. I hear he got a pretty painful sunburn on his forehead,Ã¢â‚¬Â said one boxer who lost to Tate last year. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem fair. You simply canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hurt him. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not good at boxing. You just canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hurt him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tate admits his boxing skills have not improved.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I do sit-ups to strengthen my core so body shots donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hurt me,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“but beyond that I do pretty much nothing. I just let them wear themselves down wailing away at my prosthetic face. And, then, when they are completely exhausted, I throw a few weak punches until they fall down.Ã¢â‚¬Â
But Tate says he does expect his punch to get stronger as he nears his first heavyweight title fight.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My right shoulder has been feeling a little tight lately. I think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sleeping on it weird,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“So IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m thinking of getting it cut off and replaced with a prosthetic arm. A steel one. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s spring-loaded. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be punching dudesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ heads right off. And itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all thanks to Oscar Pistorius.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain