The Psyche of a Boxer and My Experiences Competing in Golden Gloves
by Matt Gerovac
After participating in the Southern California Golden Gloves tournament over the past few weekends, I’m convinced that the discipline, training, and mental psyche of a boxer is something from which everyone could benefit. There is no altruistic right or wrong way to mentally approach the sport of boxing as a fighter. Although there are certain fundamentals about the physical side of the sport, the mental game of boxing is the most challenging, interesting, and widely-varying aspect of the sport. Ultimately, it’s all about personal accountability, as boxing is an individual sport. Although you may train with a stable of fighters while planning and strategizing with coaches, no one steps into the ring with you. In this day and age where an undue sense of entitlement has polluted our society’s consciousness across all racial, social, economic, ethnic, and religious lines, with boxing, there’s nobody to blame but yourself. The character, work ethic, and mental toughness needed to become a competitive and eventually successful boxer translates and applies incredibly well in all of life’s challenges and successes.
Confidence is one trait a boxer cannot be without. To even step foot in a gym and begin to train is a step that most people never take. But the confidence of boxing goes well beyond the initial decision to begin training. Confidence is needed every morning when a fighter gets up before dawn for roadwork. Confidence must be ever-present during long daily training sessions. It is needed when a boxer goes out to eat and can’t eat anything on the menu. It is needed when a boxer refuses the temptation to participate when friends are ordering round after round of drinks. No one can control a boxer’s decisions, whether inside or outside the ring, besides the boxer. A boxer has to hone the confidence to own decisions whether in success or failure.
An even mentality is another important component to the success of a boxer. Every fighter goes through growing pains, the close losses that could’ve gone either way, the daily grind of training, and the constant struggles of maintaining weight. Winning is only as good as the application of that fleeting success. If a fighter rests on laurels as opposed to continuing to push, the impending letdown can be career-ending. Triumphs cannot be overly-celebrated and defeats cannot fester. A short memory is integral.
If everyone boxed, the collective principles and consciousness of our society would greatly improve. People would be more willing to face their struggles head on, with no disguises, and in turn, find positive solutions. The rises and falls in the career of a fighter can easily be perceived as parallel to the landscape of life where nothing should be taken for granted and everything should be earned through blood, sweat, and tears.
As for my experiences in the Southern California Golden Gloves, all I can say is that I learned. I learned about confidence from the first day of training until the final bell of the last round. I was forced to have an even mentality while never considering a training day as optional. I was beaten in the final of the 178 pound novice division. I was outboxed by a slick southpaw that controlled distance, moved well, had good feet, and took some pretty damn good right hands. I took the rest of the weekend off and was in the gym the following Monday. Back to work.