I mention quite often that I am an amateur boxer, though I've yet to have my first fight. I've got great sparring partners and a wonderful coach to make up for my utter lack of talent, and should I stay with him, I believe he can make me into a champion, possibly even good enough to go pro. The money, the fame, it's all in front of me provided I work hard and stay dedicated for long enough.
So why don't I want it?
Let me make one thing clear: I have absolutely no natural talent. You know how in "Unbreakable" there was a wimpy guy to make up for the strong guy? I have that relationship with Roy Jones, Jr. I have the gas tank of a VW Beetle and the fuel efficiency of a Hummer. The ONLY things I have going for me are a half-decent jab and a stupidly huge resistance to blunt force trauma (developed from years of sleeping on the bottom bunk and smacking my head into the top when waking up too quickly). My MMA credentials are even worse; save for enough flexibility to pull a gogoplata, I doubt I could beat anyone with two arms who I outweighed by less than 100 lbs.
What I DO have is world-class support. My coach, for one, could likely turn a grilled cheese sandwich into the WBC Flyweight Champion in two years. He's kind, skilled, and has a sort of quality that makes it feel like you've betrayed him if the fight's over and you can still move your arms.
In addition, I have high-quality sparring partners, including an absolute freak of a man with a 60% knockout rate. As an amateur. Try knocking someone out with about ten pounds of rubber in between your fists and the bits you're trying to tenderize and you'll understand how bizarre this is. He and the others are well-versed in dealing with clueless dipshits, making it possible for me to spar with them without dying a horrible death.
The only issue is what boxing is today.
When I first got into the sport, that's the boxing I envisioned. The best fighting the best, putting everything on the line in wars that shook the arenas they were waged in to the core. Hearns, Duran, Hagler, Leonard, Ali, Frazier...these guys wanted to be the greatest and decided to beat the greatest to assert their dominance. But when I look at today's boxing?
It's a fucking joke. There are so many titles that none of them mean a thing, their holders unwilling to give them authority. David Haye's running scared from the Klitschkos, Floyd Mayweather shits himself whenever someone mentions Pacquiao; and that's not even mentioning the corruption.
In case you don't recognize this fight, it's one of the all-time greats. Mexican slugger Julio Cesar Chavez engaged in an all-out war with Olympic gold medalist Meldrick Taylor for twelve rounds. With less than twenty seconds left in the final round, Chavez (who was losing on the scorecards) landed a huge right cross that dropped Taylor. Taylor managed to get up before the ten count, prompting referee Richard Steele to ask if he was okay. Barely giving him time to answer after asking twice, Steele called the fight, claiming that Taylor was in no condition to continue.
The official fight time was 35:58.
While Taylor ended up urinating blood after the fight, suffering a facial fracture, and later showing signs of extreme brain damage, he deserved to get his win. There was no way Chavez (who had illegally left the neutral corner, by the way) could have hit him again.'
Chavez's promoter? Don King.
If I ever step into the pro ring, I can't be sure that I will win or lose by my own talents. I don't know whose hands are in whose wallets. And I can't stand that.
I don't want dirty wins, hand-picked competitors, or brain damage. I just want to fight.
And there's no better place to do it than in the Octagon.