The Mental Aspect of Boxing
People say “I don’t know how you win”. They say this because I don’t have knockout power and I posses very little fundamentals. How do I win? Well, pretty easily.
My buddy Ed Latimore asked me what my mental approach was for boxing. I told him that I want to take a boxer’s soul and every ounce of his hope. Most boxers depend on physical strength. I don’t value physical strength as much as I value mental strength. Mental strength can easily win a fight. I start the mental games from the morning of the fight.
*This happens more on the national scene. International boxers are too experienced to pull this off on.
Boxing is 90% mental. If all boxing coaches understand that, they should be working on mental strength and less on physical strength. Mike Tyson knocked most his opponents out before they even make it to the arena. The mental part of boxing is the most powerful part but hardest to control.
When I first started boxing I entered the ring knowing I trained hard and I was going to win the fight. I knew that I was so talented that I would be wasting my time to mention that I was the best. I knew that I was so talented that I would be wasting my time thinking about the possibility of losing.
A boxer would see my confidence but humble swagger walking to the ring, touching gloves, backing into the corner before the fight would start and would believe that I was supposed to win. This seems odd to someone who has never boxed before but there is so much second guessing yourself in boxing that its completely feasible.
After looking back at my first 20 fights (going 18-2), I realized that I was a terrible boxer! I had bad fundamentals. I had zero power. I landed punches while moving backwards so they were ineffective, but I had great defense. When I would slip a punch, I would gain just a little more confidence. I won all of those fights with confidence, not boxing ability.
I took this way of thinking and ran with it. My goal now was to get into an opponents head before the fight. I’m not scared of any boxer that walks around like a tough guy with an angry face on. I’m more worried about the dude who is smiling. I think that guy isn’t worried about the fight because he knows something that I don’t know.
Coincidentally around this time I became wearing pink to display my support for those battling breast cancer. I could be found taking pictures with fans on my walk to this ring. The whole time seeming completely distracted and caring very little about my opponent. This was done intentionally. I know how to “turn it on” as I step through the ropes.
Another tactic I would use is softening my opponent’s hatred towards me. A boxer will go through his entire day with thoughts of hurting me. After a boxer has his hands wrapped, he is usually in a laser focused trance. His pre planned playlist is in motion and his coach is psyching him up. The amount of mental energy and stress that this takes is immeasurable.
After he is gloves up and walking to the ring, I’ll find the most uncomfortable time to approach him and his coaches and genuinely tell them good luck and hug the boxer. I make sure I do it in front of the crowd so the coach nor the boxer can push me away because no one wants to look like they’re unsportsmanlike. I do this for no other reason than to disrupt my opponents focus.
I enter the ring by doing a summersault over the top rope. This gets the crowd on my side and I have the added benefit of throwing my opponent off.In the ring is where the the part of the mental battle happens. This is where I “take a man’s soul”, (a term taking from the former boxer Jeremiah Graziano). To take a man’s soul is the take away his hope. A man without hope is a man that cannot see the value in having nothing to lose.
When the boxer and I square up when the bell first rings, my primary objective it not to land a punch. That would be too simple. But its to make him think he cannot throw a punch without consequence and to embarrass him as a man.
When ever a boxer slips or touches the canvas in any way, I will deliberately step over him as a display of dominance.
As a southpaw boxer, my right foot is my front foot. When a conventional right handed boxer throws his left jab, I tuck my head to my right while looping my right uppercut under his jab and pivoting out of the way. It is very difficult to land this punch with power and thats alright because landing with power isn’t my intention.
He throws that jab-I slip the jab by leaning to the right while I uppercut and pivot away. He throws that jab once again-I slip the jab by leaning to the right while I uppercut and pivot away. He throws that jab yet another time-I slip the jab by leaning to the right while I uppercut and pivot away.
This is where I begin to take his soul. After he throws the jab, I feint with the uppercut and pivot but I don’t throw the uppercut. Instead, I maintain eye contact letting him know that if he throws that jab again I am more than capable enough to land that uppercut at will.
I begin to fight a one handed fighter because he will quickly become reluctant to throw his left hand. I will spend the remainder of the round attempting to make him belief he shouldn’t throw his other hand either.
This mental game will lead to physical exhaustion quickly. Once I sense that, I pick it up just a little bit to make him aware of his hard breathing. The reason people run with headphones on is because the the very sound of hearing yourself breathe makes you believe you’re even more tired than you are.
Now, on to the emasculation.
At some point of the fight a boxer will throw a wild left hook. I usually pull away from it or duck it. If possible, I will try to counter it ever so lightly to make my punch more of annoyance than a danger. This gets a boxer irritated because the value he has put in knockout power but somehow are losing a battle with a dude that possess pillow-hands.
When a boxer gets more and more frustrated, he begins to swing for the fences. He knows he has nothing to lose. When those hooks get wild I know it’s my time to emasculate him. Instead of blocking one of these wild hook or countering it with a punch, I duck down and use his momentum to swing his body into a 180 degrees.
When he has his back to me I will pull him close to me and ever so subtly hump him from behind. The boxer almost always loses his shit and begins a verbal complaint but he is always interrupted by the ref warning him for having his back to the action.
Right after this exchange happens and he is as irritated as his going to be, I wait for him to throw that jab-I slip the jab by leaning to the right while I uppercut and pivot away. Usually at this point it happens. His soul is gone.
I take a step back and a boxer involuntarily exhales and I can almost see their soul leaving their body. For the remainder of the fight he will go through the motions of punching but will have no hope left. A man without hope is a man that cannot see the value in nothing to lose. Even if he has nothing to lose.
Thanks for reading. Share if you’d like it!
I have included a 30 second YouTube clip to illustrate my acts of frustrations.