Most people come to the Vineyard to relax. Heavyweight Julian Pollard, a professional boxer, comes here to sweat. Boxing trainer Matt Cancellare of Vineyard Haven makes sure of that. Pollard, 33, is now preparing for his biggest fight yet, a Big Knockout Boxing (BKB) heavyweight championship bout in Las Vegas on June 27: the main event. Cancellare will keep the pressure on and the perspiration flowing.
Cancellare and Pollard met last summer when Pollard and his family were vacationing here. As luck would have it, while he was here, Pollard received the opportunity to fight in a BKB event in Las Vegas. Before deciding to cut his vacation short, Pollard looked for a trainer on-Island. The two men hit it off. Cancellare went to Vegas to work Pollard’s corner for the August 16, 2014, fight against Boban Simic. Pollard won by KO.
Pollard turned to Cancellare again for an April 4 bout against Elijah McCall. A big left sent McCall to the mat in the fourth, and led to a TKO. These two victories set up this month’s main event, a championship fight against Tyrone Spong.
Pollard, 33, is a 2005 graduate of Syracuse University, where he played football for four years. He lives in Brockton with his wife and two children. Moving from a team sport to the very solitary world of boxing takes some adjusting, but it tells you something about the man. Supportive teammates are helpful when training gets tough, but, for the most part, a boxer trains alone — and alone he steps into the ring.
A boxing trainer such as Cancellare works with the athlete on technique. He watches every move, correcting the tiniest mistake that could mean the difference between victory and defeat. The best trainers don’t miss a thing, know when you have more to give, and see the greatness within. Cancellare will be in Pollard’s corner on June 27.
BKB is a new style of boxing, the brainchild of Direct TV. The action takes place in “the pit,” a 17-foot circle with no ropes, giving the boxers half the space of a traditional ring in which to maneuver. A microchip embedded in the boxing gloves gives spectators instant readings: miles per hour and pounds of force per punch. Seven two-minute rounds (five rounds for non-championship bouts) keep the action going.
– By Anna Marie D’Addarie
Anna Marie D’Addarie lives in Oak Bluffs. She is a fitness boxer and longtime boxing fan.