Interview With Professional Boxer Ed Latimore: Part 2
Professional boxer Ed Latimore joined me for an interview. Ed fights out of Pittsburgh and currently holds a professional record of 11-0. He’s sponsored by Jay-Z’s company, ROC Nation – and this is his story.
7.) It’s pretty subtle on your site and Twitter, but you’re signed to ROC Nation (Jay Z’s advertising company). What was that experience like?
I wish I had a glamorous story for you, but it was all very ordinary. Very long, but ordinary. My manager is a true insider and expert—meaning people pick up the phone for him and he has knowledge of things going down in the boxing world before the general public does. So when ROC Nation was about to open a boxing division he told me that he was going to try and get them to take a look at me. I put on a great performance in my 5th fight, knocking a guy out quickly in the 1st round. After we sent them the video, they sent a scout to watch me spar two weeks later. From there, they sent an offer. The details of the deal had to be worked out—it took nearly a year—but both sides were happy and I signed.
The best part about the deal—at least to me—is not related to the exposure or money.
The best part is that I do not have to use valuable time to sell tickets myself now that they are my promoters. Most fighters start their professional careers out selling tickets to cover their purse, the opponents purse and his travel costs. This may sound odd, but when you remember that boxing is not structured like the other major sports and that money has to come from somewhere, you realize it makes perfect sense. So now I don’t have to contribute a significant amount of time (and it was a very significant amount) to this, I can focus on training.
8.) When I used to race go-karts on an amateur level, the feeling as I put my helmet on, prepped, and approached that first green flag was a drug. Nervous, but calm – so locked in and focused that you’d practically have to slap me to break me out of the zone. The best high in the world. Do you feel the same way when you step in the ring?
In this respect I am a bit of unusual case. Once I was evaluated by a sports psychologist. Not only am I calm before a fight, I get calmer the closer the fight gets. By the time I’m in the ring, I’m very relaxed. This comes from confidence in my training combined with a bit of a Zen approach to the whole thing. I am extremely competitive when I fight, but I am at peace with the outcome not being in my favor if I fought a great fight and my opponent was simply better than me. In that case, there was nothing I could have done. But this is why training and preparation is so important. It breeds confidence to do something like fight.
In this respect, I remember something that Randy Couture once told me. He said, “If the worst thing happens to you is that you lose a fight, then you’re having a pretty good life.”
That always stuck with me. I love fighting, but I realize its one event of many in my life so it does not make me nervous. I might be the most emotionless fighter you’ll ever meet, but I’m merely detached from the outcome and able to enjoy the beauty of the contest. Ironically, I’m sure this detachment from winning is one of my biggest advantages.
9.) You fight out of Pittsburgh, which I think is an underrated city and could reasonably be classified as a “Tier 2” US city. At the same time, you’ve spent decent time in the “Tier 1” cities like Los Angeles. What do you think as far as pros and cons of this, from both a career and social perspective?
So, let’s get the most objective thing out the way first. From a career perspective, Los Angeles (behind Las Vegas) might be the second best place in the world a boxer can be. This is because of the population and its love of boxing. As an amateur in Pittsburgh, I got 24 fights in 3 years and 4 of those came from national tournaments. In Los Angeles I got 24 fights in 10 months! And that does not include the national level. That’s speaking specifically to boxing. So if anyone is reading this and thinking about boxing, Southern California or Las Vegas are the places to be.
For a career in general, it depends on what you do. If you have a STEM background (and to a less extent, finance) Pittsburgh edges out L.A.—but only slightly. But for anything else, hit Los Angeles. There’s a reason that region of the country experiences continual, accelerating growth.
Socially, it depends on how deep your pockets are. L.A. is not expensive, per say (certainly cheaper than nightlife in NYC), but public transportation is garbage. This means you are going to be doing a lot of uber and taxis. That adds up. Unless you are wise enough to live where you party. There’s enough spots in LA from a nightlight perspective that I can’t even narrow one down—but all of them have a relatively steep price tag attached to them for living. So in terms of nightlife (which here in Pittsburgh simply does not exist, even at the level it does in Manhattan or Redondo Beach), LA can be steep.
(Kyle’s note: for those unaware, Manhattan and Redondo Beach are neighborhoods of LA that have below-average nightlife compared to downtown or Hollywood.)
It’s also a lot harder to be the man in L.A.
In Pittsburgh, you can be the man with your own crib, decent clothes and a job paying 70k. In LA, you need AT LEAST that, plus being in great shape and some unique angle to your life. L.A. actually might be the hardest place in America to truly be a stand out. This just isn’t for guys. There are so many different types of beautiful women—and there is a shortage since there are more men than women—that you really have to be on top of your game, regardless of your sex.
With that said, once you put in the effort (and honestly, I don’t think it’s that hard), there are SO many different things to do and different “scenes” in LA. I spent a lot of my time in Long Beach, Culver City, Burbank, Venice Beach and Malibu. That’s a fairly diverse crowd. In Pittsburgh, we lack that diversity. You’re either “beer and football” or “art and hipsters”. I think most young guys owe it to themselves to spend some time in a place like Los Angeles.
10.) If you could give one piece of advice to guys like me in their (early) 20s, what would it be?
Avoid the big mistakes! If you do that, then you can—in theory—turn your life around at any point and do what you want. The big three are:
- Don’t get arrested
- Don’t have kids
- Don’t mindlessly go into debt.
This keeps your options open for whatever you do decided to make your mission one day—and every man should have a mission. Not only does it keep your options open, it also ensures that you doing a few others things. These days, all it takes is one moment of bad judgement to get behind the wheel drunk, have unprotected sex, or max out your $10,000 credit limit. If you keep a clean slate in these 3 areas, you can take any path you decide to when your mind is finally ready.
1.) If given the choice – would you rather have Hillary elected or be forced to own a TV (and watch it for 2 hours a day)?
Haha, I don’t pay attention to politics beyond what comes up in my Twitter feed. Good for her if she gets elected, but I think my feed might have a meltdown.
2.) What books have had the most impact on your life?
The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin and A Course In Miracles. The last one is a spiritual text where the women claims to have channeled the words of Jesus directly. Speaks a lot on forgiveness and why your ego causes you misery, with the only solution being love and forgiveness.
Honorable mention goes to Seneca’s Dialogues.
3.) If you could describe the feeling when you step into the ring in 3 words, what would it be?
Calm, Focused, and Center of Attention
4.) How about one word you’d like to say to your haters?
5.) When is your next fight and how can we all watch it live on the Internet?!
April 23rd and I am still not sure about the streaming situation. However, if all goes well, I hope to be on your television screens before 2017!