Zack Powell at practise on fight week, 26 Feb 2022. Photo by Andy Cotterill
Zack Powell – Whatever I Do Tonight Is Going To Have Meaning For The Rest Of My Life
By Andy Cotterill
The life of a fighter is never an easy one, uniquely moreso during Covid when there have been months-long periods that gyms were closed for training, and fight cards were not permitted to take place.
So for Zack “Pow Pow” Powell (4-1), this Friday’s fight against Cole Campbell (4-3) at Unified MMA 43 in Enoch, Alberta is just what he’s been eager for.
The 25-year-old Niagara Top Team prospect was just days away from fighting at the inaugural Tarps Off Fight Club in Niagara Falls last December when the Province of Ontario pulled permission for the event to occur.
“It’s very difficult.” Said Powell, when asked how he maintains focus and intensity when the future in the fight game is so uncertain.
But as the saying goes…if being a fighter was easy, everybody would do it.
“The way I see it,” Powell continued, “if I can’t stay zoned-in in those situations, when it’s going hard in the fight I won’t be zoned-in there either. I’ve got to treat every practise like it’s the most important practise of my life regardless of what I’m doing.”
But even though Covid has put an emphasis on that attitude for him, it’s one that he’s had since his first amateur fight a few days after his 18th birthday, and it’s included in his pre-fight ritual.
“I look myself in the mirror during one of the washroom trips I get because I get so many before a fight cause I’m nervous, and I tell myself, This is a night I won’t get back, there’s no do-overs. So whatever I do tonight is going to have meaning for the rest of my life.”
“At that moment I have to stay focused and I have to want it more than anyone else in the world.”
On Friday he’ll get a chance to prove his mettle once again, this time against Campbell, who Powell says is a game opponent.
“He likes to fight. He’s not the most confident striker in the world, and he likes to grapple and he likes to wrestle. He takes a lot of risks…he’ll lose positions to try and go get a sub or go get a finish. He doesn’t fight a smart fight but he’s good at what he does at making a dog fight.”
Powell isn’t overly concerned.
“I just think that I’m a better grappler, better wrestler, better striker. If it’s a dog fight or a technical fight it’s going to be my fight regardless.”
Even though Powell is confident going into this fight, he knows that it’s a great opportunity to work on strategy.
“I usually go out and start fast and eventually I’m very tired in round 3, but that’s not because I’m not in shape, It’s only because I put that pace on so early that I think it’s normal that I get tired.”
While this strategy may work well against the type of opponent once might face at the start of a career, as a fighter enters the phase of their career when their opponents are just as committed and just as fit, it’s crucial that they have the ability to go hard late into the fight.
“I think if I go out there and I take my time more and try to start winning the rounds later, like 3, 4, 5 minutes or at the end of the rAound, it’s probably a better idea. I usually try to win off the bat and start fading by the end of the round, and I feel that the judges remember more the end of the round than the beginning.”
“Hopefully I go out there and take my time and not be in a rush.”
On Friday night, we’ll see who wants it more.