The Loneliest Sport

The Loneliest Sport
Published: 2021-03-15
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When the bell rings in boxing it become a lonely sport.  In the ring it is up to the boxer alone to make it through the round and survive.  Boxer against boxer, no matter what the coaches can’t punch or take one. 

While getting hurt is not the purposes its possibility looms and the dangers of the sport are well known. As a sport it’s about scoring points though the fans root to be entertained by a knockout. 

Boxers’ training is lonely and often as brutal as the contests themselves.  The physical and mental conditioning demands are unlike other sports. 

Muhammad Ali once stated, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” Training hurts. It is painful and hard. Ali also said, “I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” To last 15 rounds in the ring with the likes of Joe Frazier or George Foreman, he knew what it took.

While fists and arms deliver the blows, boxers punch with their bodies, so power comes from all fully conditioned muscles.  Countless rehearsals, millions of movements tune the boxer to deliver with speed and strength.  Legs dance, reflexes must be quick to make split second decisions to deliver an effective punch. 

Boxing fascinates because in the flash of a moment the momentum of the match may switch when the techniques, courage, stamina of boxers are put on enthusiastic display.

Best boxers learn how to face fear and use it to their advantage. They learn how to control their emotions inside and outside of the ring. Anger or fear can paralyze a fighter.

There are boxers who excel in the gym. Their technique is perfect and they are well conditioned. However, when they step into that ring, they freeze. Some boxers are excellent in sparring and appear to have what it takes. Yet, when the bell rings, they cannot fight. Fear takes over and the pressure of performing in the front of a live audience overwhelms them.

Boxing is very psychological. If a fighter thinks that he or she can lose, a loss is almost inevitable. Champions must think like champions. To be the greatest one has to believe it. As Ali said, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”

As a contest, boxing does not require expensive equipment or fancy places.  It’s open to all who dare to box, not as play but as competition as primal gladiators.  Those who support boxing call it interesting, beautiful and civilized pointing out that boxing was once called “the gentlemen’s sport.