Or better yet, why would you want to come in to one in the first place? I’m not talking about the ones with pink gloves and loud speakers. I’m talking about the ones with loud mouths and broken speakers. 

The first time I walked into a boxing gym I was 20 years old and a junior in college. I was going to law school after graduation. That changed the minute I put on a pair of boxing gloves. I stood in front of a mirror, picked up my hands and saw my future. Its name was boxing.

Having a career in boxing was the furthest thing on my mind. Not one kid I grew up with had dreams of becoming a professional fighter. Boxing was supposed to be a ticket out of the ghetto. We lived in Marine Park.

I thought I chose boxing to build confidence. I didn’t. I thought what kept me from doing it sooner was an aversion to getting hit in the head. It wasn’t.

Most people think confidence is the gold standard of self worth. Unfortunately, no one is ever going to pay you based on how you feel about yourself. The only thing that matters is how they feel about you. Confidence is a feeling. Competence is a fact. Anybody can hit a heavybag. Try throwing punches while they’re coming at you. 

The other revelation I’ve had is that while most people do have trepidation about getting hit in the face, their biggest fear is hitting someone else. If you hit me, I’ll live with it. If I hit you, now I have to live with myself. Everybody knows what they can’t do. It’s what they can do that terrifies them. 

Fighters have two personas they take everywhere  – there’s the fighter and there’s the person. Ever wonder why fighters have ring names? It’s because the person in the ring is not the same as the person outside the ring. If they were they’d be in prison. Jack Dempsey was the Manassa Mauler. Joe Louis was the Brown Bomber. Outside the ring they were the nicest guys in the world. Inside the ring, not so much. 

Everybody has two identities – the one you’re given and the one you create. We are in the business of creating alter egos. In order to create one you have to kill the other. For that to happen you have to enter the ring.

Dreams live when the ego dies. Ego is identity. It’s the one you’re born with – race, gender; and the ones you’re fitted with – nation, religion.  The Ring gives you an alter ego. When you step into the ring, Nature and Nurture retreat to neutral corners. You become someone else when you kill your ego and every time you do, someone better rises from the grave.