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Boxers that know more than boxing

It is well known that many fighters have a past where they have had to fight for their place in the world, and not in the most kindly of ways. Manny Pacquiao was forced to drop out of school as his funds were so bad that he was in poverty, like so many other Filipinos of today’s world. Pacquiao was so poor that there were days when he was unable to eat as he and his family could not afford to buy food and was forced to sell odd bits on the streets.

Roberto Duran was another who had a childhood that had similarities to Pacquiao’s. He found himself on the streets often, stealing whatever food items he could to feed his starving body, so it is no surprise that people, maybe unfairly, class boxers as people who are deeply uneducated beings that know nothing except to engage in bloody combat.

However, there have been proven exceptions, and this article takes a look at those that, unlike many, have something else to fall back on away from the squared circle.

Juan Diaz – He may have been working hard in the ring, beating the likes of Paulie Malignaggi, Michael Katsidis and winning the WBO and WBA titles, but while he was working hard in the gym he was also striving to complete his bachelors degree in Political Science which he achieved. When he retired from the ring in 2010 after losing to Juan Manuel Marquez he started several businesses, all of which had nothing in common with one another. The largest was a trucking company that reportedly made over $2 million in 2012. Diaz has made a return to the ring, having stated that his non combative goals are no match for wanting to fight.

Marco Antonio Barrera – The famous Mexican fighter who defeated the brash Naseem Hamed and had three memorable wars with Erik Morales obtained a law degree and originally had the intention of becoming a lawyer. He studied at Le Salle University while preparing for the first Morales fight, but famously said: “‘You can be a lawyer your whole life. You can only be a world boxing champion a few years.”

The Klitschko brothers – Their boxing ability may not be wowing the Western audiences but both of the Ukrainian heavyweight champions probably need not worry – they both have PHD’s, Vitali being the first heavyweight champion in boxing history to have one. Wladimir followed with a PHD in Sports Science and already had a doctoral dissertation. They also speak several languages. And then there are the heavyweight boxing crowns to add to their list of accomplishments. No wonder opponents have trouble giving them a tough fight, as their PHD’s and dissertations clearly hint at their tactical and vast intelligence.

Nathan Cleverly – The former Welsh WBO light-heavyweight champion may have lost to Sergey Kovalev in four rounds in August, 2013 but the 26 year old has a maths degree to fall back on should he decide not to continue boxing. Like Juan Diaz and Marco Antonio Barrera before him, Cleverly was working toward two goals at the same time and he graduated with a BSc in Mathematics in 2010.

Oscar De La Hoya – Okay, this may be a controversial one, but Golden Boy Promotions is probably the world’s leading boxing promotional company right now, ahead of Top Rank. De La Hoya had enough sense to employ Richard Schaefer as CEO to run the company with him. Schaefer was a banker in his native Switzerland and has been a very valuable asset in the success of Golden Boy Promotions. Let’s also not forget that De La Hoya also made the decision, bizarre or not, to admit it was him in *those* photographs. As well as a brave thing to do, it was also wise and smart considering how fast hot topics on boxing can change on the internet.

Bobby Czyz – Evander Holyfield may not have been intimidated by his MENSA t-shirt that he wore to the ring when he fought him but it is interesting to know that Czyz is a MENSA member, an organisation for those 2% that have the highest IQ scores.