By Peter Lim: Omar Henry, 12-0-1 (9 KOs) was unanimously described by all the friends and gym-mates I spoke to as a fun guy to be around. It dawned on me that two of the leads I had the most fun writing for The Houston Chronicle were for features about Omar early in his career. I had pushed the creative envelope within the usually straight-laced, bulletin-board boundaries of newspaper-style journalism and had gotten away with it.
In March of 2009, when Omar was 3-0 (3 KOs), I wrote a piece that began:
Intoxicated by power, political strongmen have been known to conquer and rule with an iron fist. While Omar Henry is no fascist dictator, he has prevailed in battle with the kind of crushing brutality that would make Saddam Hussein envious. His newfound power has given him a euphoric high that no drink or drug could induce.
I ran into Omar a few days after the article was published and we had a good laugh about the lead. But Omar was a tad peeved. It wasn’t so much that he minded being compared to a dictator; it was that out of all the dictators that ever reigned terror on humanity, Saddam Hussein happened to be his least favorite. Genghis Khan or Attila the Hun, he said, would have been a better choice.
Early in 2010, I wrote another article about Omar when he was 7-0 (6 KOs) that lead with:
Ramming vicious punches to one another’s face might seem a peculiar way for friends and siblings to bond, but that’s exactly what four undefeated prizefighters do on a weekly basis at the Savannah Boxing Club. Identical twins Jermell and Jermall Charlo, Lanard Lane and Omar Henry don’t just train and spar together, they also maintain a tight-knit comradeship outside the gym.
Omar can best be described as an educated brawler. A little on the short side for a light middleweight at 5-foot-9, he made up for what he lacked in height and reach by swarming his opponents with frenetic yet calculated seek-and-destroy pressure. Multidimensional in his mode of combat, the straight right was typically his fight-ending punch.
Unlike most knockout artists though, Omar almost never over-committed to his blows and was adept at punching in fluid combinations. Fundamentally sound, he always maintained solid balance and deployed just enough pivot with each punch to set up another one, rarely having to reset.
Undefeated in arguably the toughest sport out there, Omar was as strong and fit externally as a human being could possibly be as recently as three months before his demise. Tragically, his fearsome physical prowess proved no match against the gallbladder cancer that ultimately consumed him from inside.
February 4, 2013