As Dec. 14, 2012, approached, Danny O’Connor of Framingham realized that he wouldn’t be ready to fight Derek Silveira of Salem in their scheduled light welterweight bout at TD Garden because of an injury.
But his dream wasn’t squelched, as officials at the Garden worked with O’Connor and his team to reschedule the 10-round fight for Saturday night’s main event.
A day before stepping into the ring, O’Connor (19-1) was brimming with enthusiasm about the opportunity.
“I’m feeling great, I’m fighting at the Boston Garden,” he said. “It doesn’t get better than that.’’
O’Connor felt fortunate that the injury — the nature of which he was playing close to the vest — didn’t require him to miss workouts, though he did have to alter them.
“Luckily it was nothing that really affected anything,’’ he said. “I was still in the gym. I had to cut back sparring a little bit. Other than that, it wasn’t a big deal.
“The biggest thing I had to understand was that injuries happen in this line of work, especially in boxing, and I couldn’t dwell on the fact that it was out of my control. I had to understand Dec. 14 wasn’t going to happen and look forward to Jan. 26. I just continued to train like normal.’’
He also had to regroup mentally.
“You have to refocus because you were focused on one date,’’ said O’Connor, who turns 28 in March. “But in my mind, life just works how it’s supposed to work. I let life come to me.’’
That doesn’t mean there aren’t sacrifices. O’Connor’s trainer, Ronnie Shields, is based in Houston, which meant O’Connor had to be away from home for long stretches.
“To take me out of this city, to makeme leave my security, my friends, and be away from home, it takes a very special person, and that is coach Ronnie Shields,” he said. “He really is the top of the top for where I want to go in boxing.’’
Although a training camp averages six weeks, O’Connor stayed in Houston during the postponement.
“This training camp, I was there for 4½ months because when I had the injury, I had to stay because it wasn’t the type of injury that took me out of the gym,’’ he said. “I had to stay.
“I was away from my wife, and my son is 2. I am thousands of miles away in Houston, which is nothing like home. But I do it and my wife supports it and it’s a sacrifice I have to make.
“It makes me cherish the time I get to see my wife and my family when I’mhome that much more, because when I’m away, I miss them so much.’’
O’Connor feels fortunate to represent Boston in his boxing career.
“It’s one of the biggest honors I carry, representing Boston and this city,’’ he said. “I am just grateful to have such a great support system. They deserve all the credit more than I do.
“Sometimes I kind of steal the limelight because I’m the one who does the interviews or is on TV, but there are so many special people working with me and for me. None of this would’ve happened without them, and that includes the staff at the Boston Garden.”
O’Connor’s last fight was at Gillette Stadium, the first ever boxing match there, and he prevailed over Eddie Soto.
“It was unbelievable,’’ O’Connor said. “It’s still kind of surreal that [it has been] the only boxing match and I was the headliner.
“The New England Revolution, I’m really close with them. I’m a season ticket-holder. It was right after one of their games and all the players came and supported me. Boston is like a brotherhood. All the sports teams support each other, and they support me, too.’’
That extends to the Bruins, as well. Bruins forward Shawn Thornton worked O’Connor’s corner Saturday night, with renowned South Boston boxing coach PeterWelch. Thornton went home sick Friday night after the Bruins’ victory over the NewYork Islanders but was feeling better.
“Usually, Ken Casey [leader of the Dropkick Murphys] is the man on the bucket,’’ said O’Connor. “He works the spit bucket, he’s done it for all my fights. But he’s on tour right now and he’s in Munich, and Shawn Thornton was willing to work the bucket.’’
Thornton walked O’Connor out in previous fights at the House of Blues and Gillette Stadium.
“This is my third fight,” said Thornton. “I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to do it with the [NHL] schedule but it worked out that we had a day off.
“[With Casey on tour], Danny texted me and asked if I could do it and I said I’d love to. If the opportunity arises, why wouldn’t you? It’s a cool life experience, something else that I get to do that I never thought I’d be able to do 15 or 20 years ago.’’
It was Thornton’s first time on the spit bucket. When O’Connor was asked if Thornton knewwhat he was doing, the fighter laughed and said, “He will by fight time.’’
Thornton was amused.
“If Ken Casey can do it,’’ he said, “anyone can do it.’’
O’Connor said Welch has been a big help to his career, as well.
“Whenever I’m home, I’m training at Peter’s gym,’’ said O’Connor. “Peter is a very special person. He’s a close friend of mine.’’
The wait was longer than he wanted, but the time to fight at the Garden had come, and O’Connor said he was ready.
“To be able to do what I love in front of my city and my fans, I don’t want to fight anywhere except for Boston because this is my city and my home,’’ he said.
Ryan Kielczewski, who entered his eight-round lightweight bout undefeated, made short work of Washington Hago, earning a technical knockout at the 48-second mark of the second round. After the first, Kielczewski knocked down Hago twice and that was enough as he improved to 15-0 as a professional.
In the first fight of the main card, Brockton’s Luis Viramontes started well in the four-round middleweight match, but resorted to too much holding on of Russell Lamour of Portland, Maine, and lost in a decision. It was Viramontes’s first pro fight in nearly five years (3-1-1) and just the second overall for Lamour (2-0).
Five USA Boxing amateur fights opened the evening. In the senior division open lightweight (132 pounds), Elijah Peioxto of Providence beat Tim Ramos of Framingham in a three-round decision. In the senior division open light welterweight (141), Brandon Berry of West Forks, Maine, won a three-round decision over Julio Perez of Hudson. In the junior division open lightweight (132), Marc Anthony Muniz of Dorchester topped Winchester’s Luca Lo Conte Botis, who brought a passionate fan base, in a three-round decision. In the senior division open welterweight (152), Joe Meuse of Millis overcame Ryan White of Norwood in a three-round decision. In the final preliminary bout, Gerald Schifone of Brockton beat Khiry-Gray Pitts of Worcester in a three-round decision in the senior division open middleweight (165).
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.