Maggie walked through that door with nothing but guts. No chance in the world of being what she needed to be. A year and a half later, she’s fighting for the championship of the world. You did that. People die every day, Frankie. Mopping floors, washing dishes. And you know what their last thought is? “I never got my shot.” Because of you, Maggie got her shot. If she dies today, you know what her last thought will be? “I think I did all right.”
All fighters are pig-headed some way or another. Some part of them always thinks they know better than you about something. Truth is, even if they’re wrong, even if that one thing is going to be the ruin of them, if you can beat that last bit out of them… they ain’t fighters at all.
To make a fighter, you got to strip them down to bare wood. You can’t just tell them to forget everything you know, you got to make them forget it in their bones. Make them so tired they only listen to you, only hear your voice, only do what you say and nothing else. Show them how to keep their balance and take it away from the other guy. How to generate momentum off your right toe and how to flex your knees when you fire a jab. How to fight backing up, so that the other guy doesn’t want to come after you. Then you got to show them all over again. Over and over and over, till they think they were born that way.
The body knows what fighters don’t: how to protect itself. A neck can only twist so far. Twist it just a hair more and the body says, “Hey, I’ll take it from here because you obviously don’t know what you’re doing. Lie down now, rest, and we’ll talk about this when you regain your senses.” It’s called the knockout mechanism.
Sometimes, best way to deliver a punch is step back. But step back too far, you ain’t fighting at all.
Some wounds are too deep or too close to the bone. And no matter how hard you work at it, you just can’t stop the bleeding.
People love violence. They slow down at a car wreck to check for bodies. Same people claim to love boxing. They got no idea what it is. Boxing is about respect. Getting it for yourself, and taking it away from the other guy.
If there’s magic in boxing, it’s the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.
Everybody’s got a particular number of fights in them. Nobody tells you what that number is.[to Maggie]
Boxing is an unnatural act. Because everything in it is backwards. You want to move to the left, you don’t step left, you push on the right toe. To move right, you use your left toe. Instead of running from the pain, like a sane person would do, you step into it. Everything in boxing is backwards.