Posted on 08/16/2022
By: Sean Crose
Sometimes you just have to take people at their word.
That’s a fact.
While it’s true some can feign mental illness, depression or challenging scenarios for the sole purpose of making life easier for themselves, the truth is untold numbers of people DO suffer from such things and are suffering from them as I write these words. What’s more, there’s really no way to discern whether or not someone is telling the truth regarding this sort of thing unless you’re a licensed professional or someone quite close to the individual in question.
That in some situations, it’s simply best to err on the side of caution, to be empathetic and even helpful if possible. Fighters like Adrien Broner, Tyson Fury, and Danny Garcia should be believed when they open up about their struggles. It can be a cruel world out there (just turn on the news) and people can suffer greatly without feeling an ounce of physical pain. Boxing, in particular, can be cruel. Brain damage, along with other varieties of serious bodily harm, or even death, are always hovering dangerously close to the lives of professional fighters. When a guy like Adrien Broner steps out of a fight because he says he’s going through some emotional challenges, it’s wise to take him at his word.
With that being said, it can also be too easy to criticize someone like Omar Figueroa for being angry over matters such as Broner’s claims of psychological duress. “Not saying you DON’T suffer from mental health issues,” Figueroa had posted on social media Monday in response to his scheduled opponent Broner’s pulling out of Saturday’s fight, “as WE CALL ALL tell you do, just don’t use it as an excuse NOW after you’ve been undisciplined.” This sort of reaction was over the top, sure, and not particularly helpful, either. Still, while Figueroa may not have handled Broner’s actions as well as he could have, a sense of understanding should go both ways. Figueroa, after all, was on the cusp of a combat sporting event when he publicly responded to the Broner situation. Let’s not forget he was also just emerging from a grueling fight camp where he had literally been preparing for a physical battle.
The reality is notable fighters are now coming clean about their challenges. The trend appears to have started with Fury coming clean about his own issues several years back and is not likely to stop. It shouldn’t stop, either, so long as the trend proves helpful to individuals like Broner, Fury, and the Garcia’s, Danny and Ryan, who open up about their internal struggles.
Of course worries about those who Hemingway would call “bluffers and fakers” hijacking the moment are legitimate, but it’s worth keeping in mind fighters who open up about their personal matters risk doing harm to their own careers. Boxing, simply put, can be all about the money. And people won’t be willing to put money down if they think a fighter’s emotional health will be detrimental to that fighter’s earning power. And lets not even get started with the online sadism certain individuals luxuriate in.
Again, it can be a cruel world out there. Sometimes believing a person’s claims isn’t only the better option, it’s essentially the right option.