Even in defeat, one can still emerge victorious. This is the case with "Children's Champ" Rob Garris who, at 47 years of age, made his pro debut on Saturday night at the Resorts World Casino after a 27- year hiatus from boxing – an unprecedented feat. His historic ring return did not end the way he had envisioned, suffering a devastating one punch knockout in the second round by light heavyweight Abdellah Smith. Yet, he is still considered a big winner to those in the foster care system for whom he fights.
Garris was unable to move and jab the way he had planned, fighting from the ropes where he could not get off his punches. The 38-year old Smith (2-4, 2 KO's) was tiring by the end of the first round but maintained the pressure in the second stanza, keeping Garris on the defensive. With his back up against the turnbuckle, Garris was caught with a vicious right hand that dropped him to the canvas and the fight was called to a halt.
The classy Garris came out to individually thank all of his supporters after the fight, expressing his gratitude to be able to make a difference for others despite the outcome of his long awaited first pro bout.
"I have no regrets. I did it for my cause and I'm good with it. I lived my dream and had an opportunity to do something that no one has ever done coming back to the ring at my age after 27 years, " Garris said.
While his fight in the ring may have been brief, it will continue to wage on in the form of his work with The Throwaway Kids Foundation, speaking engagements and production of a documentary that will chronicle his training and historic pro debut.
"I'm through with the boxing part of it. It will take me too long to recover," admitted Garris who injured his right shoulder in the first round of the bout and faced difficulty in obtaining approval to fight from the commission and several promoters. "I'll keep doing what I'm doing [to support foster children] but will just have to go a different route to bring more light to my cause."
Upon reflection of his knockout loss that was eerily similar to that suffered by pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez hours later in Las Vegas on Saturday night, Garris delivers the ultimate message to those he continues to represent.
"Regardless of my loss, never give up. If I can, you can."
In a statement following Marquez's shocking knockout victory, Pacquiao said that boxing fans who watched the epic fight were winners too.
This is true of those who have been inspired by Rob Garris, as well.
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