It is easy to perceive a successful professional boxer as strong and persistent. Like other professional athletes and even celebrities, the persona they have in the spotlight is often misconstrued as the real thing. Especially for a boxer, this persona is dominant because their careers focus specifically on the business of being tough.
Geroge Chuvalo recently debuted his memoir that highlights details about the blows he took to his personal life – his wife and son took their own lives, and drug addiction was the root of the problem and eventual death of his two other sons. The memoir shows that he is resilient outside of the ring just as he was inside.
His reputation as a fighter exudes the ideal of the tough guy. He was never knocked out during his 12-year boxing career. Chuvalo fought 93 times in total, winning 73 matches, and of those wins 64 he won by knock out.
Dillon Carman, 27-year-old professional boxer from Madoc, Ontario, definitely fits the bill as well. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, Carman’s career in aggressive sports started off before he left high school.
“I got a scholarship to play hockey when I was a kid, down in Florida,” said Carman. “I lived down there for 3 and a half years, played my scholarship out, and got my high school diploma.”
Carman started to fill his time with, and excel in, boxing when he was 17 years old. He boxed at Texas State earning two championships. He trains every day, very rarely indulging in liquids of the alcoholic kind, and tries to spend his days staying out of trouble.
“I go fishing, feed ducks that are around property, and golf sometimes,” said Carman. “I take my dog for a walk, I have a little Boston Terrier.”
Boston Terriors are known to have a nickname – The American Gentleman – and funny enough this is how Carman in this day and age where the brutality of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has become so popular.
Carman lost a fight back in June this year. He said the verdict had been controversial; that the other contender Sylvera Louis broke some rules when his trainer helped him clean up some bleeding over his left eye.
As a successful boxer so far – 4 of his 5 wins were knock outs, with only 2 losses – he said it got to his head, and didn’t even train before the fight with Louis began. Carman’s confidence leaned heavily on his record, and although he connects fight ending punches, it wasn’t enough to secure him the win.
Sports Psychologist, Kate F. Hays, teaches athletes to maintain the right amount of tension for a good performance. In other words she trains athletes what to focus on and at what time.
Hays says there are general principles that are the same for everyone, but in terms of application, they vary between people and sport.
“Lets say there is a tension scale where 1 is relaxed and 10 is peeling off the ceiling, I generally teach athletes to be around 4-7 on the scale,” said Hays.
Carman’s focus was distorted even before the match began. He admitted to letting the wins get to his head, and didn’t train prior to the June match. So what did Carman do after the loss? He hounded Louis for a rematch.
“I got to him on Facebook,” said Carman. “I called him out, said he knew that I could take him, and when he said no I asked, why not?”
It took three months, but Carman was able to talk Louis into a rematch, even offering to give him $1000 off his cheque for the fight. All it took was some poking. This kind of behaviour between fighters also helps with promotion, because other than skill, people enjoy seeing a bit of a personal battle of egos.
“You have to promote yourself, I have no one to do it for me,” said Carman. “I go to my local radio station, advertise on Facebook, I’m not very good at twitter though.”
His purses for a fight “are a joke”, but Carman said most of the money he makes is on ticket sales. At this stage in his career, the majority of fights are fueled by personal conviction rather than the size of the cash out.