Boxers MUST Believe They’re The Best

05/07/2023 - No comments

Show me a fighter who doesn’t think he is the best and I will show you a fighter who’s either been beaten mentally before, is being beaten mentally right now, or is primed to be beaten mentally in the very near future. If you hadn’t heard it before boxing is 90% mental 10% physical.

With boxers “you must be the best” is a common and expected frame of mind. From the first time a boxer enters a local amateur gym he is bombarded with this single principal. To achieve success he is expected to train harder than every other boxer in every other gym on the planet. His mental focus must be as sharp as a sword. His ability to adjust in pressure situations and deal with adversity must be an uncommon but unequalled strength.. His achievement in this science-like sport is purely based on his mastery of the basics and his fluidity of its nuances.

If you will indulge me for a moment, mastering boxing can be likened to playing a trumpet. The trumpet is a highly technical instrument, though it utilizes only 8 note fingerings. In this regard is simplistic. The average person can pick it up and produce sound but only close attention to detail increases proficiency. Musical experts around the globe will tell you that the trumpet is one of the most difficult if not the most difficult instrument to gain any considerable level of mastery over. The attempt at its mastery can be paralleled to boxing. The elements of boxing (footwork, punches, generalship, conditioning and defense) are few and its punch types (jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts) are even fewer. It is in the mastery of the simplistic where boxer’s status differentiate. One fighter become world class while another elevates only to journeyman status. Many others become gym rats while a very rare few elevate to all time great status.

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In this regard is it really shocking to hear fighters proclaim their boxing supremacy? Aren’t they from the very beginning continued to think this way? To believe, I mean really truly whole-heartedly believe that they are the absolute best boxer on the planet. It is an awesome thing for a boxer to stand amidst his crumbling boxing walls and be fully convinced that he is still the best.

Even in the aftermath of a smashing devastating loss a fighter is methodically built up again by his trainer to this belief. Push up by push up. Punch by punch. With every 30 second drill and each rotation of his jump rope he is refashioned into a potential world beater. He is pressed to find the will to keep going even when his body still pains from the previous day’s workout. Phrases such as “tell your body to shut up if its hurting” and “fights are won in the gym not in the ring” and “every act in the gym is meant to make you a better boxer” assuredly replace the average man’s thought process.

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This thought process isn’t instilled mistakenly. It is purposeful, intentional and completely necessary. Boxing is one of those rare things where even on your best day at the office your work requires you to get repeatedly punched while on the road to success. Most people turn and run when hit. Boxers advance towards it. Very, very different from working behind a desk or out in the labor pool.

No disrespect is intended to any other occupation but the mental framework necessary to be a boxer is undeniably different. Quite possibly it’s this very mindset that simultaneously fuels fighters towards greatness and keeps them in the ring well beyond their primes. Nevertheless, the next time we hear a boxer speak of his boxing superiority we should be a little slower to bash him because of it. After all this mental stance is required of him. He can ill-afford to enter the squared circle thinking that he is the second best fighter in the ring. If he enters the ring with that mentality his outcome, which is metaphorically written in stone, will play out into a bashing that will certainly make even the most die hard boxing fans cringe with each blow.

Cut boxers a break, it is a job requirement that they fully believe that they are the best. Fortunately for us many times they are right.