“All People In Boxing Are Wounded People” And More Deep Thoughts From Brin Butler

How and why athletes, some athletes, are able to climb to the highest peaks, and win those piles of championships, and craft a career that will sustain a glowing legacy….and the vast majority are not able to do so, makes for an interesting exam.

We tend to focus mosty on positive attributes when we look deeper into the whys of a fighters’ rise, and see the strength and power and drive as being forces of the ascent. But how so many use their history, the darker side of their upbringing, often times, to catalyze themselves, is less often pointed to.

“We think that virtues that would drive these guys to the top of the mountain. No, man, it’s demons, they all have demons …Every great champion that I’ve ever interviewed, it’s demons that drove them there,” said author Brin Butler in a recent chat.

We talked about one champ who is out and about, piling up accolades and paydays, and yet still frequently barks about how the media and so many fans doubt the merit of the wins…and furthermore, doubted the possibility of the rise in the first place. I put it to Butler–why does he think we in media and on the fan side are not so keen to give credit to the common tactic used by so many pugilists…in how they use their hurtin’ past to move forward and thrive?

“It causes us to be confronted by stuff. We like to think if we love something we love it with the best of us, but guess what, we love it with the worst of us, also. A lot of what’s driving these people is they are addicted to what boxing represents,” Butler said on this podcast.  Indeed; we can wax on about how we adore the sport for the stories in perseverence…but more so don’t so many of us just enjoy the dark thrill of seeing one being overwhelm another to the point of loss of full consciousness?

The writer said that c’mon, what drives the athlete to get up at 4 am to do the road work? “I don’t think it’s goodness and altruism,” he said, though that can be part of the portfolio. “Trace the passion from the wounds. All people in boxing, even all people who like boxing, they’re wounded people…and we admire the bravery of trying to overcome those wounds…but damaged, damaged people!”

He brought up Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech…

…which he used heavily to publicize those that slighted him. “Despite all the winning, you’re no closer to any sense of peace, to any sense of satisfaction, nothing is enough,” Butler said.

So, when someone seems like a well balanced person, like an Anthony Joshua, Butler said, he is often not surprised when someone like that isn’t able to sustain the mental drive to keep on proving to the haters and doubters, and using that potent fuel to self motivate.

Butler is a deep thinker; hear more from the author on the latest “Talkbox” podcast. He delved more into why older fighters keep on keepin’ on; why fighters are like gamblers, and most aren’t acclimated to being happy, so that influences their choices, and sub consciously steers them toward negative choices. Deep thoughts on this episode.

Michael Woods
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Michael Woods. Host, TALKBOX podcast, powered by EVERLAST; 1st VP, Boxing Writers Association of America; is my site