The Psychology of Winning: 5 Common traits of success in the ring.

I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfilment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious. – Vince Lombardi

Is there a better feeling than winning? Days, months, years of physical training; countless hours upon hours of visualisation and mental preparation and then you go out and perform exactly how you’d pictured it. Some people will teach their children that winning isn’t everything and it’s the taking part that counts…those parents are losers and are raising loser kids.

Competition is innate to who we are as human beings, simply being born is victory in the greatest competition known to man. Winning is what it’s all about; it’s why they keep score and give out awards at the end. Winning is great but winning in the “right way”, and winning more than once…that’s the holy grail. So what does it take to be a consistent winner, what do the best have in common? and what can we learn to make ourselves better? Here’s 5 common traits of the greatest winners in fight history

Believe in yourself

I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was. – Muhammad Ali

To paraphrase Floyd Mayweather nobody with aspirations to be recognised as great dedicates their whole life to a sport to turn around and say another man (or woman) is better than you. Just doesn’t work that way. This is a common thread that runs through all great fighters, here’s Sugar Ray Leonard giving his 2 cents…

Unmistakeable…The deep competitive spirit that gives birth to an unwavering unshakeable self belief. Before you can actually do anything you first have to believe you can.

If you don’t have it naturally…FAKE IT!

Be Consistent

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. – Bruce Lee

Did you ever notice how Floyd Mayweather Jr fought the same way against every single opponent? How his training sessions were the same for every fight, the pad routines, the roadwork, everything was rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. To the point where he no longer trained for specific opponents, and just focused on getting himself in the best physical shape possible. After dedicating his whole life to boxing and being in a gym pretty much every day since he was 2 years old, there aren’t any styles he has not seen, attributes he hasn’t come up against, problems he hasn’t had the opportunity to solve. Day after day, year after year until it became second nature. No thought, just sub conscious muscle memory. They say it takes 10,000 hours to truly master anything…how many hours do you have under your belt?

Commit to Excellence

Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. – Vince Lombardi

It’s great if you have the dedication and discipline to do something over and over again, but what’s the point if you’re doing it badly. All you’ve succeeded in doing is training your body to do something perfectly but incorrectly. Discipline and dedication coupled with attention to detail and a perfectionism that doesn’t accept anything but the very highest standards, this is what separates great champions from good fighters. If it’s excellence and greatness you’re after, from today onwards, put everyone in your life on notice (especially including yourself) that you will only accept the effort and results that match those ambitions.

Will it to have it

Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” – Muhammad Ali

It ain’t about how hard you can hit…you already know the rest. The hallmark of consistent winning, is the ability to adjust to the circumstances put in front of you and still come out on top. You may not be at your best, you may be ill, have to overcome a hostile environment, bad luck, corrupt judges or whatever it may be, winning demands you figure all of that out and rise above it. That takes an iron will and laser sharp focus on what really matters. In those high pressure moments, the difference between winning and losing is 1) having the ability to shut the world out and focus on the details you can control, and 2) the cast iron will to win that says I will NOT lose today!

Master your Ego

“MY OPPONENT IS MY TEACHER. MY EGO IS MY ENEMY.”— RENZO GRACIE

Confidence is a necessity but you better keep your ego in check before it ruins you. All fighters tread the fine line of confidence and insecurity and it’s this counterbalance that fuels everything. The belief that you’re unbeatable living side by side with the fear that your opponent is better than you and is training harder than you are. This is normal and healthy. It spurs you on and keeps you training like a beast. When some fighters become successful and receive the fame, fortune and adulation that comes with it they can let their ego get the better of them and lose sight of what got them there in the first place. All of a sudden they believe they know it all, and don’t need to improve. Chris Eubank Jnr hasn’t even won a world title yet and all of a sudden he has decided he doesn’t need a trainer anymore. Utter madness! To the neutral casual fan, Floyd Mayweather Jr was pretty boring inside the ring, but he was absolute box office outside of it. Brash, arrogant, money loving and unapologetic about it too. But he trained every day like he was a broke fighter starting his career. Learn from this. Check your ego at the door and train like there is a broke fighter from around the way who’s coming to take what’s yours…because believe it or not, there is!

 

There are no doubt many more than 5 common traits of success, and if you can think of any others or disagree with the ones mentioned, leave a comment below and tell us what you think

State of the Union PT 1

2016 was to many a really shit year. A lot of great things happened but i think it’s safe to say that last year will not be remembered as a vintage year. We lost a lot of great people, in many different industries. Prince, David Bowie, Gene Wilder, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and the list goes on…

In the fight game we saw the passing of two all time greats, Muhammad Ali passed away forever and Floyd Mayweather Jr retired (until further notice). Two very different people, two contrasting losses, but combined, both occasions give us an opportunity to reflect on this beautiful sport we love.

Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. If you disagree with that then you don’t know boxing. Simple. An elegant fighter who’s legacy will live on long after the man himself, and whose influence will be seen in the sport of boxing for generations to come. Muhammad Ali represents a golden age of boxing, not just for the quality of fighters; Foreman, Frazier, Norton, etc. but the fact that all of those hall of fame calibre fighters fought each other…at their peak. In a time when there was one champion in each weight, to be the best you had to beat the best. A situation which is not too different to the UFC today. Multiple weights, many contenders jostling for position and the opportunity to fight for the throne but crucially, only one champion. This produced a different breed of fighter, one who wasn’t so transfixed by remaining unbeaten. Put simply fighters in the Ali era were not afraid to put their record on the line because it simply didn’t matter as much as testing your skills against the best people in your division.

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A true heavyweight superfight. Ali vs. Frazier I

Why? Because in those days that was the only way you were going to succeed.

Somewhere along the line things changed, the fight business evolved, priorities shifted and we’re knee deep in an era where preserving your “0” is more important than being part of career and era defining fights that live long in the memory.

Nobody represents this era better than Floyd Mayweather Jr. Money Mayweather “retired” (for the right check he’ll be back) with a perfect 49-0 resume. Tying Rocky Marciano for the best record in the history of boxing. Talent wise Floyd Mayweather should go down as one of if not the greatest fighter of all time. The problem is his resume just doesn’t stack up. When you look closer, and put all his fights within the context of when they happened, you start to look at Floyd in a different light. He IS the undisputed TBE of the boxing game, a man who had a style, persona, and brand which economically exploited the boxing community better than anyone in the history of the sport. He and Al Haymon together have played the fight game like a world class orchestra and in the process laid down a blueprint for the success of generations of fighters, but ironically, they’ve probably also opened the door to the demise of boxing as a sport.

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Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr

I get it, boxing is a brutal brutal sport. A mental and physical battle between two men who are each trying to impose their will on the other for two reasons…1) money and 2) to see who is better. That’s IT no other reasons and In that order. It is not for me to denigrate a boxer for putting money ahead of a sporting spectacle.  There is no boxing fighters union, it is a lonely and solitary sport, once a fighter is done and is no longer useful, the media, fans, promoters, and managers will disappear so it is up to the fighter to look out for no.1

If I had a son and he wanted to get into boxing, I would be in his corner and would make sure he modelled his career on Floyd Mayweather Jr and that’s both fighting style and career business model-maximum revenue for minimum risk and punishment. However in life there are consequences and trade offs to every decision you make; and going down this route means you disqualify yourself from genuinely being TBE or The GOAT. And here’s why…we remember Muhammad Ali as the greatest not purely because of WHAT he achieved but also and more importantly HOW he did it. Ali vs. Frazier (1,2 or 3), Ali vs. Foreman, Ali vs. Liston; era and career defining fights against bigger and tougher opponents who you’re not supposed to beat. Not because they represent the easiest payday but because they were the best fights out there and they paid enough money to make them viable and worthwhile.

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Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran. The best of their day fighting in their peak…a novel idea! 

The UFC has figured this out brilliantly. one champion at each weight, One organisation who choses when fights happen and who fights who. Can this work in boxing? I believe the answer is an unequivocal YES. Is it easy to implement, absolutely not, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing. With PBC, Al Haymon has effectively created the foundation for this to happen, and I believe firmly believe that Haymon’s end game is to create just that. Check out this previous article on Al Haymon –> Al Haymon – Puppet Master

The Ring magazine has an unofficial “champion” at each weight, however this status is very political and isn’t necessarily directly earned in the ring. Having an official organisation and making the status a prize to be earned in the ring is better for fans, better for the fighters, and better for the sport of boxing.

We go deeper into this subject in our “Story to Tell” podcast. Make sure you check it out and get involved in the discussion.

That being said…here are the Top “unconfirmed” fights we’d like to see in 2017.

Canelo vs. GGG

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When you give up a belt and give the excuse that your body isn’t ready for the weight…and then proceed to accept another fight at the weight above, it’s obvious to the world that you’re ducking. For the record I don’t believe that it is Canelo who is ducking, I think Oscar De la Hoya is protecting his cash cow and milking it for as long as he can. This needs to end in 2017.

Andre Ward vs. Kovalev II

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Possibly the most important match up in boxing since Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Billed as a decider of the No.1 P4P  winner the first fight was a damp squib for the casual crossover boxing fan. It turned out to be an ugly dogfight with two high level fighters in their prime playing chess with boxing gloves. Not the action packed spectacle needed to be a cross over hit. Andre Ward is the best fighter on the planet and it’s a damn shame he isn’t appreciated as highly as his talent deserves. The rematch will be heavily anticipated and hopefully it’s a bigger commercial success than the first one.

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. any top fighter

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Vasyl “Hi Tech” Lomachenko is flat out gifted. There are some people in life who look like they were touched by god to specifically do what they do. Their movement is different, everything seems so effortless, so smooth, they anticipate things 3 steps ahead of everyone else. Cristiano Ronaldo is an all time great but his success is engineered to the point that it is abundantly clear his achievements are down to work ethic and sheer force of will. Lionel Messi is a man who produces the same (if not better) results, in such a way that he makes it easy to overlook the hours of work he puts in day in day out, simply because he make it look so easy. Vasyl Lomachenko is the Lionel Messi of boxing. Rigondeaux, Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, there are many big fights out there for him. Lets hope he gets the platform to prove it but we could be looking at the greatest fighter of all time!

Kell Brook vs. winner of Danny Garcia vs. Keith Thurman

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Danny Garcia takes on Keith Thurman in March and some people will view the winner of that fight as the No.1 Welterweight in the world. Those people will be wrong. Kell Brook is the best fighter in the division, he needs an elite level fighter to have the balls to sign on the dotted line and fight him. Eddie Hearn needs to put the money up and get the deals done, Kell Brook’s talent deserves it and so do boxing fans.

Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan

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Too many years, too much talking and not enough punching. These two guys genuinely do not like each other and finally it looks like they can settle it once and for all. It would be a massive fight in the UK and with the right card would sell out Wembley Stadium. Amir Khan is an average fighter but he always comes to fight and always brings excitement. Kell Brook is an elite level fighter who needs big fights to get the recognition his talent deserves. Eddie Hearn…MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder

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The undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. There isn’t a more prestigious title in the world of sport. This potential fight would be for all the marbles. Stylistically this would be an amazing match up; two knockout artists, evenly matched in height, weight, and most physical attributes. The results would be explosive must see TV. I can’t wait.