Pat Gordon rebounds from loss during first season
Adrianna Fazio | Friday, March 2, 2018
Four years ago, Pat Gordon stepped into the ring and lost in his first Bengal Bouts finals. A dedicated, passionate and strong freshman, Gordon had set a personal goal to win the finals for all four years of his Notre Dame boxing career. His goal, however, was quickly cut short by his first-year loss.
Now a senior and president of the club, the 22-year-old Gordon will step into the ring Friday night for his final match with yet another lofty ambition.
“This year, it was to become the best boxer ever in Bengal Bouts,” he said.
Gordon said his goal coming in his freshman year was to win every year. While that didn’t happen, Gordon said he felt he has improved each year.
“Freshman year finals loss was one of the hardest things I have ever dealt with,” Gordon said. “If you lose in boxing, it’s because you weren’t good enough. One-on-one, my opponent was better than me, and that is a very tough pill to swallow.”
It was a raw loss that he still carries: He speaks about it in the present tense, even though it happened several years ago.
“Using that as motivation to try and fuel my new goals and refocus myself and trying to make myself as best as possible is tough,” Gordon said.
He said he trained hard his freshman year but even harder in his sophomore year. He ultimately came out victorious in the 2016 finals. That win was followed by another victory during his junior year in the 2017 season.
Regardless of his hopes for wins in the ring, Gordon said his primary goal has always been fundraising for the Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh. He said Bengal Bouts has raised over $2 million for the Bangladeshi people since its inception in 1931, and he wants to break this year’s goal of $175,000, though he said the effort “kind of compromised a lot of my training time.”
But, like his freshman year loss, he’s not letting it stop him.
“It’s kind of going out and saying that this is my last fight, my last time fighting in Bengal Bouts, which is bittersweet because it’s a lot of work, but I’m going to be really sad when it’s over,” Gordon said.
Friday’s match will not be Gordon’s final boxing match outside of Bengal Bouts. He said he plans to fight in the Chicago Golden Gloves this March, but he has yet to decide about future boxing possibilities.
“I have some professional [boxing] opportunities, but I will probably turn those down because I’m not sure the head trauma is worth it,” he said. “I mean, I love it too much to give it up completely, but I’ll probably just stick with amateurs.”
He said no matter what happens next for him, he will remember Bengal Bouts as an experience that challenged him.
“A lot of times, we tell our boxers, ‘You know, you go to school here, and you’re constantly chasing something — you’re chasing a career, you’re chasing an A or an A- in a class, you’re chasing a GPA,’” Gordon said. “A lot of times, it’s hard to pause and wonder where is there meaning; and by giving those children in Bangladesh an education, you’ve done something positive with your life, whether you’ve realized it or not.
“I hope the program just continues to be what it is — that people continue to sacrifice their free time … [and] are willing to take a few black eyes and bloody noses to make an impact on somebody else in the world.”