On Saturday night, Pat Barry made his return to kickboxing at Glory 16 against another hard-hitting heavyweight Zack Mwekassa. It was a short brutal fight that ended with a vicious uppercut that laid Barry out. It was not easy for many to watch and it led to many of them calling for him to retire after the fight.
The answer to whether or not he should retire can only come from him and it should not be based on this one fight. It is something that is deeply personal to each fighter.
While it was not fun to see Barry get knocked out in such a fashion it was realistically one of the two most likely finishes for this fight. When two heavyweights get into the Glory ring there is usually a TKO/KO finish.
Coming into the fight Mwekassa had 10 kickboxing wins with 9 of them coming via TKO/KO. Barry brought 16 wins into this fight with 10 of them being TKO/KO’s.When you mix that kind of power with the warrior mentality of these two fighters, it usually leads to one of them getting knocked out.
People were acting like he got KO’d by a guy who was 1-10 with no knockouts. Mwekassa is a very good fighter with a lot of power.
Many of the fans saying he should retire are ignoring the fact that Barry had Mwekassa in trouble when he landed an early head kick. He tried to seize the opportunity and moved in with a flurry of punches, flying knees and kicks. Mwekassa did an excellent job of covering up and protecting himself.
If Barry had landed one of those shots cleanly than people would have been celebrating his win. The very same one’s calling for him to retire.
Later in the round Mwekassa found a couple of openings and he did land them cleanly. In the heavyweight division of Glory it can come down to who gets that one strike off just a beat quicker.
The ones calling for him to step away are also ignoring that it was a competitive fight up to the knockout sequence. Mwekassa was winning the round but Barry was in the fight. He was also having fun throwing flying knees, jumping kicks, head kicks and of course some nasty leg kicks.
It was also a leg kick that started the downfall for Barry.
Barry had landed a couple of his leg kicks and afterwards in a post fight interview on Glory’s site Mwekassa acknowledged their power. He also said that he was prepared for them the first knockdown came off of a Barry leg kick.
Barry threw a low leg kick. As he threw it he also extended his right arm and brought his left one up to his head to block. Mwekassa countered very nicely by first going lefthand to the body that went below the right arm of Barry, then a right hook that snaked around and behind Barry’s left arm and then a quick lefthand uppercut.
The lefthand to the body and the right hook to the head both land while Barry’s right leg is off the ground while throwing his leg kick. The uppercut landed as Barry’s right leg was touching the ground.
Barry was visibly wobbled by the punch and hopped back a couple of steps and took a knee. The fight would have been over for a lot of fighters in that moment. As he knelt in the corner Barry took a couple of deep breaths and then stood back up.
The big difference in the fight was what happened after they hurt the other fighter.
Mwekassa did not swarm Barry but was patient. Barry was still dangerous and he was trying to win the fight throwing some big powerful punches. Those punches missed. Mwekassa then methodically looked for an opening and found one with a clean left uppercut.
It was a brutal violent knockout but not one that should end Barry’s career.
It would be different if the people close to him were calling for him to retire or he himself was talking about retiring. They are not. It is difficult for a fighter to know whether or not it is the right time to retire. Some want to stay in the sport too long and risk long-term injury themselves.
That is when a fighter needs people close to them who are looking out for their interest first to help them walk away at the right time. You hope as a fan that each fighter has people like that in their life. Barry certainly has people close to him who understand the sport and the risks.
For a fighter like Barry who fights with a passion and love it is a part of them. It something that makes them different than the average person. While most fans have a fighter’s interest at heart when they call for their retirement, they do not understand what it is to be that passionate about something the way Pat Barry is about kick boxing. You see it in the way he fights and it is one of the big reasons the fans love him.
Right now is not the time for Barry to retire. Not when he has just made his return to the sport he loves.
image credit – Glory WS