Looking for a fight

My interest in boxing and boxers, and what makes them tick, and how I can have what they have – the good stuff, I mean, the passion, commitment, discipline, not the need to pummel someone (I might have enough of that already) – led my SO to pass David Matthews’ book, Looking for a Fight on to me.

David Matthews is a British journalist with an interest in boxing sitting at a bit of a dead-end in his career and his relationship. He decides to become a pro boxer. He takes himself from a blobby, desk-bound journo to an ass kicking, lean and mean fighter. The journey takes him longer than expected, but he comes to some incredible insights along the way – about himself, about fighters and about the dirty business of boxing.

This paragraph leapt out at me this morning, and I thought, ‘Yeah! That‘s why I’m a photographer!’

Boxing was a dream and fighters sought to make that dream come true. Was it a sport in the legitimate sense of the word, gruesome entertainment or a combination of the two? I still wasn’t quite sure how to define boxing. I had learnt, though, that being a fighter meant being hungry and not accepting the shit that everyday life threw up in your face living in the slow lane stacking shelves in Tesco or frying burgers at McDonald’s. Sure there were other easier, safer things to do than fight for a living, things that in the short term could make you moderately more money for a whole lot less effort. But could they give you that life less ordinary, that sense of achievement, that feeling of self-respect we all crave?

And so that’s it. Yes. A life less ordinary, even though the work sometimes dries up, even though bigwig clients sit on your invoices from time to time, even though the briefs aren’t always earth-shatteringly exciting … My word! It’s a whole lot better than some of the mind-numbing stuff I’ve had to to to pay the bills.

Now, if I could just tackle each day the way a champion fighter does, head down, gloves up, full tilt, take no prisoners!

Maybe tomorrow …

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