Took place at Fisher. Concrete ground. Sparring gear was rather uneven. 4 oz. gloves on both of us, but he got the shinguards and mouthpiece.
Injured back (reason for the hiatus) was feeling better by approximately 95%, more or less. Just some small discomfort during warm~up stretches.
Contemplated on an orthodox stance, but ultimately went with comfort and fought south~paw. First round went great, technique~wise. Agreed to go at 50%. I intended to start off more aggressive rather than waiting to counter, but he telegraphed his first kick so early that I took that instead. Grabbed it and got him in right in the chin. Kept him at bay with muay thai front kicks. I was excellent in utilizing these. The bagwork has payed off.
Second round was hard~contact. I gained the upper~hand on pure power alone. The exception were the front~kicks again. These were being pulled off nearly as proficiently as my jab. He anticipated my boxing and kept his hands glued high, which left numerous opportunities for body kicks. Also made use of knees. These worked well in both getting his hands to drop and in blocking, although the advantage I'd normally have in my knee hitting his shin was moot with his shinguards. Still proved effective because he'd be trying to gauge his distance with a kick, and I'd negate whatever he was doing by charging in with a knee. If he pulled one off I'd usually manage to grab it and nail him in the head. I don't know why I stopped making a conscious effort to do this the last few years, but it works. This eventually backfired because I got in the habit of dropping my hands to grab him when he kicked, and if I missed I'd be rendered completely open, which he was more than happy to capitalize on. Got me in the eye this way, which I shook off but felt foolish for falling for. What I should have done was knee the low ones instead of reaching out. Guard must never drop like that.
Killed myself in the third~round. At this point we seemed to unconsciously shy back to what we knew best: he kicked, and I boxed. I was at a severe reach advantage here; I spent most of the time chasing after him (at no expense to his integrity; it worked on his part). I'd rush forward, see him back off, stop myself, and wait for him to return. Again, this was to my disadvantage because of the reach (if this was a ring, I'd have cornered him, but this was open ground). In one kick, I made a grab for it and then stopped myself at the last moment to keep my guard up and knee. This essentially left my open hands a free target for him to hit in my moment of relapse, and my fingers took the full punishment. Didn't even feel it during the round so I continued with no second thought. I did realize how predictable I was getting, however, so instead of stopping in exasperation and waiting for him, I ran forward and caught him with a straight in the jaw. Didn't follow up with anything, though. This holds true in general. I have a bad habit of letting the other guy fall back and gather himself before moving in, in some unfortunate form of chivalry (and despite all of my work in coherent combinations).
In overview, I'm my own worst adversary. My sloppy technique seems to get more and more glaringly apparent the stronger I get. Didn't get hit by any big shots, but I've got more than one sore appendage at the expense of poor form (i.e., accidentally blocking with my fingers, stubbing my toe). I can safely come to this conclusion in seeing him with a bloody mouth (with a mouthguard), but my fingers and toes gnarled like an old man's. My method has a lot of catching up to do with my power.
Also note: eat earlier before a spar. Was struggling not to puke by the end.