Looking through some old photos a while back, I came across one of Rocky Marciano when he fought Ezzard Charles the second time around, in 1954. In the sixth round, Marciano’s left nostril was cut clean through. He ultimately went on to stop Charles in the eighth round and retained his title, but not without moments of uncertainty when his corner was unable to do much to fix the injury and couldn’t seem to do anything to stop the bleeding. It’s difficult to imagine the pain he endured for those two rounds.
Although it’s kind of a graphic image and a grotesque story, it got me thinking about what motivated Marciano to continue with such a violent and obvious injury? I wonder if he even considered quitting. Since he was “the Rock” you would assume not, but in this case, with such a severe injury, no one would have faulted him for it. For him to fight on with such an intense and serious cut, his motivation had to be enormous. So what drove him on? Why such an intense desire to compete and win? That seems like a simple enough question, but have you ever asked yourself that? What drives you? What motivates you?
Before you step into the ring, to spar or even to train, for the next time it might be worth it to ask yourself what motivates you to continue at all costs? If you have already determined what that motivating factor is from the very beginning, you won’t have to decide every day, time and time again to fight on because you will have already made that decision one time and one time only. Before you have to get up at 6am to run, before you have to go one more round on the heavy bag, before you have to take one more punch, absorb one more body shot or fight on through your own blood, it might be worth it to ask yourself “What motivates me to continue no matter what?” No matter what the price, no matter what the sacrifice, no matter what the situation, you will persevere, because what motivates you is bigger than any amount of pain, displeasure, inconvenience or discomfort. Make the big decision one time so you won’t have to re-decide each time the going gets tough. There will be no internal struggle while you’re taking part in a physical battle because you have mentally already made up your mind that no matter what the price, your sacrifice is worth it. If you can answer that question BEFORE you have to face it, then you won’t have to ask yourself that in the heat of the moment.
Hopefully you’ll never have to experience a situation as severe or even similar to Marciano’s, but just in case….decide now the one thing that is worth it all to you. What motivates you will fill your soul and feed you for life. If there’s nothing that big, then you may want to evaluate how far you plan on taking boxing. Is it a pastime for you or a career? Decide once and for all what would motivate you to fight on in any situation. Here’s a hint: It had better be big because in boxing you never know what you may have to endure.
Boxing requires a level of physical and metal dedication that separates it from nearly all other types of competition. It makes demands on your body and mind that require them to be totally in sync. If your body is trying, but your heart is not in it or you’ve already mentally given-in, then you’re fighting a losing battle. On the other hand, if you have already made a firm decision and your body is “in on the plan,” then imagine the power you’ll generate from these two forces working together to get the job done. You’ll be resolved to persevere at all costs and proceed with an all-out, two-fisted attack. The best part is…the decision is yours.
“Those fights with Charles---they hurt. Hurt so damned bad! I was screaming inside. The blood didn’t bother me none, except I gotta do something or else they might stop the fight. I knew I’d have to have an eye hanging out before they took my title away on a cut, so I did what I had to do to save the title. But I’ll always remember how much it hurt. Hell, I never want to feel hurt that much again.”
- Rocky Marciano