YOU often hear people say, ‘He is a terrible fighter’ or ‘He has a glass jaw,’ or ‘I would beat him.’ I think it’s funny when they’ve never fought. Then they say stuff like: ‘I would get in the ring and fight Mike Tyson for $10 million.’ Or ‘What? Conor McGregor is getting $100 million to fight Floyd Mayweather? I would do that!’ Yes, maybe you WOULD do that, but would you fight as a 10-year-old in an old pub in front of 300 people who want you to get beat up? Would you sacrifice your teens while all your friends are going out partying and having the time of their lives, you’re at home hungry and going to bed early because you need to be up to go running before school? Would you do that over and over again constantly for 20 years? Because that’s what boxers do, and 99.9% of boxers don’t get $1 million for a fight.
We call these people “Keyboard Warriors” or “Armchair Warriors”. People who think they are experts simply because they listen to other people regurgitate the information. Now, thanks to social media, everyone is tough as nails behind their phone. They give fighters and just about everyone who is in the public eye a load of grief, but what they don’t realize is, at the end of the day, these people are just ordinary people too.
This was one of the hardest lessons for me as a professional boxer – getting criticism like that. I was never told I would have to deal with that. When you put your heart and soul into your craft and you get 1,000 people telling you you’re shit can ruin some people.
For myself, in one of my 10 professional fights, I fought a journeyman who I didn’t want to fight. It was going to be my first eight-round fight and I had suffered a very bad injury six weeks before the fight. I told the promoter that I was out, but he really needed me to sell tickets and said he would drop it down to six rounds.
I took the fight and did well in those six rounds, winning four of them. When I walked to the ref after the fight for him to raise my hand, he told me there were two more rounds. I got beat up in these last two rounds as I was exhausted. It was like if you imagine running a six-mile run and put everything into the last mile, only to find out you have two more miles to run. Well, I got so much abuse from keyboard warriors after this fight. It really broke my heart. At this time, I had put my life and soul into boxing from the age of 10, then when I had this fight at 26 years old, I got told by thousands of people on social media: “you’re absolutely terrible. You need to give up before you get knocked out.” This was the nicest comment I got and it really does hurt.
That did make me stronger, but it was a horrible time in my life which made me fall out of love with the sport that I had loved since I was a kid.
What’s the moral of the story? To all the warriors out there: Don’t be stupid, stupid!
On this video I give boxers advice who are looking to move into the fitness industry: