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Lally fights for fourth title with broader focus

Samantha Zuba | Thursday, February 28, 2013

Senior captain Jack Lally will continue his pursuit of a fourth Bengal Bouts title in the finals Friday night. But if you ask him why he has stuck with boxing, success is not one of the reasons he will mention. For Lally, all of the memories count.

“The experience has been great,” Lally said. “I’ve met some of my closest friends through the boxing program. … Just being a part of a team is a cool thing. 

“Having a mission and working for a goal, whether that goal be my own personal fitness, competition in the ring, or raising money for the Holy Cross missions, … [it] has been something that has made my undergraduate experience here very fulfilling.”

Lally’s goals have changed during his years in the boxing program. When he first started out, he said he focused on improving himself individually as a boxer. As he invested himself in Bengal Bouts, he gained a broader perspective. The Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh that the tournament benefits and the team aspect of the program became increasingly important, Lally said.

“It used to be all about the boxing when I was a freshman and sophomore,” he said. “It used to be all about my own personal boxing and fun. The focus was on me and now the focus has changed to the good of the club.”

Since Lally became a captain, he has been able to put those words into action. He has dedicated himself to helping young boxers develop their skills and understand the mission of Bengal Bouts. Ensuring that the charitable legacy of Bengal Bouts endures is important to Lally and his fellow captains, he said.

“As a captain we’ve all been responsible for coordinating workouts and essentially developing novice boxers,” Lally said. “Just getting them familiar with the sport, teaching them ring tactics and strategy and then also with the other side of the program: promoting the fundraising and getting guys excited about that and showing them the work we’re doing in Bangladesh.”

Lally has found considerable success in his four-year boxing career, but fun remains an important part of the package, he said. For Lally, winning his fights does not motivate him as much as the desire to enjoy his last tournament. He said he wants to exhibit the skills he has developed over his career and maintain the high standard for success that he has set. However, Lally said Bengal Bouts also means more than just the judge’s decision at the end of his fight.

“As the years moved on and I’ve developed technically and physically, the pressure is now to maintain that and stay in the position that I’ve put myself,” Lally said. “As far as the whole idea of winning a fourth title, that’s not really what’s driving me right now. I’m trying to enjoy the tournament because it’s the last time I’m going to be in the ring, and it’s really my last time with these guys, so I just want to soak it all up and have a lot of fun.”

Lally certainly has much to be proud of when he looks back on his boxing career. He has won three titles and learned a lot about himself. He credited much of his development to time spent with a mentor.

“The moments that defined me the most as a boxer were weekend morning workouts with Fr. Brian Daley,” Lally said. “He took me under his wing … and he showed me how to get good.

“Boxing is one of the most difficult sports to practice. It’s one of the most physically demanding sports, mentally challenging sports … You can work incredibly hard and still not succeed. That meant a lot to me to work with Father Daley.”

Lally counts himself lucky for being able to participate in Bengal Bouts and learn so much about his character. He said he hopes future boxers will persevere and learn similar lessons.

“If there’s one thing I would want the younger boxers to know, it’s that they’re incredibly lucky to have what they have and that they should make the most of the opportunities they have now because they won’t be around forever,” Lally said.

Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu