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Rich Patriaco

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Gone But Still Remembered
by Rich Patriaco   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, March 12, 2011
Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2011

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My oldest and closests friend we had a 28 year friendship.


This is dedicated to someone who was very close too me who died 9 years ago.His name was Haywood Thompson an ex-fighter who turned trainer between his amateur and pro fights,he had 150 fights and over 100 knockouts to his credit.I first met Haywood in 1974 when he the boxing coach at The Central Ward Boy's Club in Newark NJ. He asked me why I wanted to learn how to box? I told I was getting bullied alot and I didn't know how to defend myself and he agreed to teach me as long as I did what he said.He made two things very clear the first was to fight in boxing only and the second was only to defend myself when all else failed.Haywood told me by the time he was through with me my left jab would be like a piston rod at the time I was a welterweight 145 lbs.he would often lecture me and it was for my own good.There was a fighter who kept taunting me and one night Haywood stepped into and put gloves on both of us.We sparred 3 rounds and by the 3rd round I had him and I wouldn't stop hitting him.That particular night in the 3rd round I saw in him all the bully's who taunted me and Haywood pulled me off and sat me down and had a long talk with me and told me never throw any punches in anger and he was right.But my real education came in 1985 when we were reunited at a pro gym in Newark's south ward alot of those guy's were ex-convicts and street fighters.I sparred 3 times with a heavyweight named Keith he was the best fighter in the gym and he also served as a sparring partner for Trever Berbick who later lost his championship to Mike Tyson.The first time we went 5 rounds and he broke my nose and decked me 4 times,in the 5th round Haywood saw me on the canvas and came up to me and asked me if I wanted to quit? I told him no and I got up and went straight at Keith and threw several punches and finally a solid left hook on his jaw.One of his contact lenses popped out and then I saw an opening at his solar plexus but I didn't follow through.He asked me to stop we had a rule down there never take advantage of another fighter if he cannot defend himself.Afterwards Keith and I shook hands and Haywood told me to hit the shower,I have alot of memories down there but they shut down in 1986 and I went back into weightlifting and if I needed advice Haywood was always there for me so in a sense he was still my trainer,I could have gone to boxing gyms in my area but I didn't want anyone else to train me but him.Tragedy struck in 2002 when I found out he had bone cancer,I went to visit him and when I saw him in the hospital bed I broke down and he held me and told me to be strong.There's an old saying: The eye's are the window to the soul and the way he looked at me got too me.We would talk about the old days and he always introduced me as his adopted son there was no color barrier between us we both remembered our heritages.His wife called me at home and said too me if I wanted to say goodbye do it soon.Haywood wanted to die at home there was a nurse there and a hospital bed.I held his hand and told him I loved him the next day I got the call Haywood passed away I was num inside but very happy God answered my prayer and let me say goodbye too him.His wake was down Newark and after I left I drove past The Central Ward Boy's Club playing a song by George Harrison: All those years ago.The day of his funeral the church gave a very nice service and the pastor let me speak in front of everyone.From my boxing trainer to my adopted father to an angel on my shoulder Haywood will always be here in spirit.I wanted to dedicate something too him and his family most especially his wife Jean and her daughter Tanja who I still think as my adopted mother and sister. taken  I will never have another friend like Haywood.


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Reviewed by Sebastian Miller (Reader) 4/14/2011
DUDE YOU ARE A FREAK! Your writing is atrocious! Please for the love of God take some writing classes in the English language and grammar and then come back and write. It's so difficult to read your blogs when you write the way you do. Please do us all a favor and at least edit your writings and use commas and periods instead of run-on sentences. Please use spell and grammar check on your computer! I'm sorry about your friend dying and all, but I actually have a little bit of a headache after reading that. I find it very hard to believe that you are going to publish a book. I hope you have money to pay for a good editor because you are going to need it!

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