Yes, really. A 61-year-old former boxer punched a 300-pound black bear in the face and lived to tell the tale.
Rick Nelson, a Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, native, told CBC News that he was walking his dog on Sunday, July 3, when he came across the bear’s cub.
“I sat down on a log and the bear cub poked its head out of the shrub nearby,” he recounted to the Canadian news outlet. “It was so close I could touch it. It let out a yelp, because I scared the heck out of it. I knew right away I was in trouble. It’s calling for mommy.”
Within seconds, the mother bear was charging “full speed” toward Nelson, who, luckily, is a former bear hunter. He explained to CBC News that he tried swinging a clenched fist at the animal but missed, hitting it in its teeth.
The bear scratched Nelson across his face and chest before the former boxer put his dukes up again. “I knew it would swing first with its left [paw] but it would really come with its right, because most bears are right-handed,” he said. “ I had the perfect shot to take. I did an underhand and hit it right in the snout.” The bear squealed and started to move away.
“Now it was the moment of truth. What’s the bear going to do?” Nelson recalled wondering. “It is going to follow its cub or is it going to come after me? [The mother bear] turned around and it was snorting blood. It looked at me, and I thought, ‘Oh no. Here it comes.’ But it just turned back around and walked away like nothing ever happened and followed the cub. So I really lucked out there.”
Despite the terrifying incident, the Canuck explained that people shouldn’t be afraid of the wild animal because they “really aren’t dangerous unless you have a cub involved.” (See: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.)
“Sometimes black bears get a really bad rep,” he explained. “Probably they’re more afraid of you and [me] than we are of them. I’m really glad that the bear walked away. And I’m really glad I did too.”
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