Rio Ferdinand’s decision to launch a boxing career has been received with support and derision in equal measure.
But whatever your stance on Ferdinand’s move to boxing, nobody should doubt the 38-year-old’s commitment.
He wants to compete for a belt and believes the new sport will help him to overcome the tragedy of losing wife Rebecca Ellison to cancer two years ago.
“It’s something for me to focus on after the last couple of years,” Ferdinand said at a press conference.
“I’ve been through quite a few things in my life and this is a way of trying to channel that aggression, that anger sometimes, into something I can be really focused on.”
An elite mentality helped Ferdinand win everything at Manchester United, including six Premier League titles and the Champions League, and anyone who follows him on Instagram knows that he remains in great physical condition.
But boxing is an entirely different craft and one that could cause serious damage should Ferdinand not pay the attention it deserves.
Ricky Hatton has given Ferdinand a warning
Ricky Hatton, who took some brutal punches from Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in his career, believes Ferdinand has every right to turn to boxing but has told the former England international not to cut any corners.
“If it’s something that he really wants to so do, then fair enough,” Hatton told RingTV.com.
“He’s said he’s serious and it’s not a prank, so, if he is serious, he’s been a professional athlete all his life, assuming he passes all the medicals from the (British Boxing) Board of Control. They let (cricketer) Freddie Flintoff and (soccer player) Curtis Woodhouse (box) so why not Rio?
“Boxing is a hard sport and you can’t play at boxing. He needs to make sure that he doesn’t cut any corners and gets the right training and support.
“He’ll know once he starts training, if it’s for him or not.”
It’s perhaps the most reasoned take on Ferdinand’s decision.
Ferdinand is free to do as he pleases - he’s certainly aware of the risks involved - but Hatton has reminded him that it will take an enormous amount of dedication.
If the ex-West Ham defender shows the same amount of drive that resulted in him being named in the FIFPro World XI in 2007-8 and six Premier League PFA Team of the Year’s, he might surprise a few people.
Do you think Ferdinand will be a successful boxer? Let us know in the comments section below!
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