|Nigel Benn and me in the ring at the 5th Street Gym, Miami Beach.|
Mayweather vs Pacquiao? Nope. It's Nigel Benn vs me, a long time ago!
This was actually why/how I moved to America from Britain. After my book The War Zone was published, GQ ran a profile on me and said I could write anything I wanted, so I chose to profile Nigel Benn, whom I knew was training in Miami, because I was writing a novel about violence and tenderness. GQ sent me there for a month and threw in a trip to Havana for me to write about that, too.
I loved South Beach so much, I rented an Art Deco apartment (for $500 a month!) the second week I was there. I was ready to change my life - I had just lost my first son to cancer - and Miami Beach in the 1990s was like a dream! I never looked back. So huge thanks to Nigel Benn, whom I liked a lot.
For our fun training bout in the ring, he threw one punch at my forehead and had such control that it literally just grazed me. I was out of the ring in a shot!
This was all at the wonderfully steamy and seedy, historic 5th Street Gym, where Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson had trained. Sadly, it is long gone. Much of the Art Deco Miami Beach I loved is now towering, multi-million-dollar designer condos.
You can read more of my adventures in Miami in my book, Life On Mars. A Kindle edition is coming eventually!
|My pal Nigel Benn!|