I asked several boxing champions (and one promoter) one simple question: Why do you love boxing?
Erik Morales: "I start when I was six years old, 16 professional. I love to do it. I love boxing because I like what I'm doing, I like fighting, I like the sensation of being up there in the ring. (Best part of boxing?) Is when promoter pay me [smiles]."
Manny Pacquiao: "I love boxing and that's my job, to give a good fight. I love to fight in the ring and give the people a good fight. (Favorite part about boxing?) Winning [smiles]."
Bob Arum: "It's a great sport with great, young men competing. And I think it's something that stirs people's blood. It's a great nationalistic sport. And it also enables me to get into new things, like opening up a Philippine market. Opening up a China market now. Not the same old, same old. It appeals to me."
Robert Garcia: "I love it. I've been in boxing all my life. My first amateur fight was when I was five years old. My father always loved the sport and I've been in boxing my whole life."
Danny Garcia: "I love competing. I like challenges. When I'm traveling. Stuff like that. (Favorite part?) Competing. I love competing."
Brandon Rios: "The reason why I love the sport of boxing is...I'm really hyper. I've got a hyper-disorder thing [smiles]. I'm very hyper. I'm very outgoing, I love to be around people. It helps me out, it calms me down. When I'm not fighting or training when I'm at home, to tell you the truth, I get antsy, anxious. I get like, ARRRRRRRR. I just want to hit something. Like, literally, ARRRRRR. Boxing is a release. I need to do something. My kids are the same way too. That's why I love boxing so much, because it helps me out, it calms me down. I'm dedicated to this sport, it's not a job or a hobby, I got a passion. I love it. I love this sport."
Gennady Golovkin: "I don't know. Because it's a sport that's my life. Boxing is my life. I've been in boxing a long time. I love boxing."
Julian Rodriguez (amateur star from NJ just turned pro): "Honestly, it's honestly all I know. It's my life. I've been doing this since I was seven. I don't know of any other lifestyle. If I stopped boxing I wouldn't know what to do with myself right now. But boxing taught me a lot of things outside of the ring also. How to be well-disciplined. And people respect you more when you speak well, when you get up on that podium and you show you're intelligent and you can fight. You're an icon outside the ring as well as you are inside the ring. That's what I want to be. That's what I want to be."
Iran Barkley: "It was something that I was blessed with. Blessed to do once I found the itch to do what I wanted to do. Why beat people up in the street when you can beat people up in the ring and get paid for it? That was my calling, that was my gift. And that's what I stuck with."
James Kirkland: "Been doing it since I was seven years old. I've been in boxing from the beginning. So it's a part of me."
Roger Mayweather: "Boxing is a challenging sport. It's a sport that you can find out what you think you did know and it makes you find what you don't know - if you challenge yourself. Boxing is a sport where people say you can't do something or you can't do this or you can't do that. Then you show 'em that they're wrong. That's the great thing about boxing...it's a mystery in the sport of boxing. But, still, the thing of it is, is the confidence that you need to do it."
Joel Casamayor: "I love boxing, that's what I started doing as a child and I love the sport ever since."
Sergei Kovalev "It's the sport of the man. Man's sport. I love boxing."
Sergio Martinez: "Because the sport of boxing is beautiful. And the best sport on earth. (But it's very dangerous.) If you do the right thing and you train properly, it’s much less risk, that you normally would expect. And I have an adrenaline that makes me emotional. That helps me. (Is there anything you dislike about boxing?) Yes. It’s many things. This is a long answer if you want an answer [smiles]. The worst thing is that nobody take care of the boxers, that they deserve. That is one of the worst. The one I say is that politically and because the fault of the promoters, the fan doesn’t see the fights that they want to see. Only when it’s profitable for the promoter – and not for the fans. And that’s what damages boxing. The big promoter only take care of small portion of the boxers – that produce. And whoever doesn’t produce – is being mistreated. And I don’t like that from boxing."
Scoop's latest book "Facing Federer: Symposium of a Champion" is available at amazon.com