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Jack Dempsey

“Jack Dempsey once said, ‘When I was a young fellow I was knocked down plenty. I wanted to stay down, but I couldn’t. I had to collect the two dollars for winning, or go hungry. I had one fight when I was knocked to the ground eleven times before I got up to win. I had to get up. I was a hungry fighter. When you haven’t eaten for two days you’ll understand.’

‘Take the average person walking down the street,’ [Angelo] Dundee continues. ‘One punch in the neck from a fighter will tear his head off. Even things that look simple are tough. Everyone knows a fighter is supposed to keep his hands up. Try it! Don’t even throw punches. Just walk around with your fists clenched at eye level for three minutes and see how tired your arms get.’

There are no shortcuts to becoming a quality fighter. A boxer takes out of training what he puts into it. If he hits the heavy bag hard in training for three minutes a round, he’ll be able to punch hard for three minutes a round during a fight. If he plays pitty-pat with the heavy bag, he’ll get arm weary when the chips are down. Wasted talent is the oldest story in boxing…

No athlete spends emotionally like a fighter. His life is one intimidating situation after another, and to succeed he must be emotionally disciplined in the ring. That means learning to curb anger, making the right mental moves at the right time, and above all conquering fear.”


Found in Thomas Hauser’s book The Black Lights: Inside the World of Professional Boxing.

Photo: Daily Dose Sports