An athlete’s heart and desire cannot be created in training.
Training sessions can simulate tough moments in a contest, which can help preparation but ultimately, what gets an athlete through the hardest moments under extreme pressure, comes from deep within.
Saturday night saw the much-anticipated heavyweight clash between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce – a fight which had garnered huge interest for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, it was a clash between two undefeated British fighters.
It wasn’t going to be some Mickey Mouse encounter which wouldn’t prove even remotely competitive.
There was genuine intrigue and a difference of opinion amongst the experts as to which fighter would win.
Secondly, as we are in a national lockdown, whatever plans people would otherwise have on a Saturday night are thwarted. The prospect of live boxing that wasn’t on Pay-Per-View and was also taking place at a sensible hour of the evening, will have drawn more eyes than usual.
Finally, it shouldn’t be underestimated that this fight took place on the same evening that Mike Tyson’s returned to the ring.
The casual and seasoned boxing fans that were daft enough to pay to watch the very poor Tyson vs Roy Jones Jr fight will have all likelihood tuned in to watch Dubois vs Joyce too, treating it almost as an undercard match.
Whoever won the fight would gain huge exposure and would be rocketed to a standing which they haven’t experienced before. There was a huge amount at stake.
Did Daniel Dubois quit against Joe Joyce? Have your say here.
The first nine rounds saw a really close fight, but in the 10th Dubois took a standard jab to his already heavily-swollen left eye and elected to take a knee and be counted out.
Dubois supporters will tell you he had no other option but to end the fight if he couldn’t see out of one eye.
I, however, agree with Carl Frampton, who said Dubois simply quit.
Dubois left many people rightfully questioning his heart as a fighter and whether he really would have what it takes to reach the top.
His decision to not continue seemed particularly bizarre because he still had a good chance of winning, though tests showed his eye was fractured.
He was ahead on some cards. Even if he found himself in trouble, he is blessed with one punch knockout power, which could’ve salvaged him a victory. But instead, he appeared to lose confidence, heart and gave up.
Many top fighters have come back from losses and gone on to greatness and Dubois is only 23.
He can hit the gym, learn from the fight and improve but more than anything he needs to look deep in his soul and ask himself ‘How much do I want this?’.