When it came out that Yusaf Mack was caught up in a Gay sex video site, most fans and pundits started thinking that either Mack has lost mind or was delusional. A few even had sarcastic jokes and mocked him for becoming a gay porn star. But what most have forgotten is that in boxing, this is par for the course.
It’s harder to survive outside the ring compared to inside the ring once your done fighting. From Joe Luis to Peter McNeely to now Yusef Mack, many former fighters end up in hard times as they are ill-equipped to handle life after boxing. They often run into problems with either drugs, the law, or other addictions as a way to cope. Not being able to fight but unable to pay the bills. Yusaf Mack was only the latest fighter to go down the rabbit’s hole as the former World title challenger found himself trying to support ten children from several women.
The 35-year-old from Philadelphia had not fought since October 25th of 2014 and was struggling to make ends meet and support his children. What happened showed only too well that he was ill-prepared for life outside the ring once the money and adrenaline dries up. Both Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya, two of the biggest stars ever in boxing, both had issues leaving the sport and fell into drugs and deviant behavior.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr filed for bankruptcy after he started to gamble away his money or spend it wildly on drugs and other vices.
And let’s not start with the holy trinity of Tyson, Johnny Tapia, and Liston.
The biggest problems the fighters face is that most fighters are not prepared for that day when they can no longer fight and have to re-enter civil society. The society that most of us live in where you have to work a regular job behave according to society and make sacrifices to survive to provide for our families.
When the fights stop coming, and the money dries up, the “Posse” or the “Entourage” often leave the fighters after bilking them for all the money they have earned and not willing to help them out. For Mack the most humbling part of his life must have been looking his ten children in the eye and realizing he couldn’t provide for them like he did before.
The fact that he was engaged to his fiance for several years must have also took a toll on him to the point that he swallowed his pride and went to a gay sex company to do a porn movie for $4500.
Already we have heard that one of his daughters told him to “kill himself because he embarrassed the family” and his engagement with his family is clearly over. But the worst has possibly yet to come as he still has to face the harsh reality that he is a man who has no real education, probably no job skills that can land him a median wages job or career, and outside of boxing.
“American Football destroyed boxing in many ways because they could do what boxing couldn’t.” One boxing coach told me. “They could allow a kid from the projects to at the worst get a college education through being an above average football player.”
Many fighters blow through their money like it’s hot cakes, and once boxing is over, they have no way to either add to their finances or even sustain what they have. Most of the top boxers in the past don’t have college educations, and some of them don’t even have a high school education. That allows promoters, managers to have them sign away their money or rights and have said fighter end up bankrupt.
All of this happens out of sight and out of the mind of the boxing fans. There are no unions to help the fighters during and after their careers are over, and most fighters are ignored after they are done fighting.
It’s easy at first light to make fun of Yusaf Mack as he got caught up with wild claims of being drugged and taken advantage of in a gay sex video production company.
Hell, it sounded like a drunken rambling or a bad Cinemax sex comedy.
But what most boxing fans should realize is that this is par for the course as the sport has taken thousands of fighters and after they have ended their fighting career, let them go back into the world with nothing but lost hope and shattered lives. Like the movie “The Wrestler”, most of these fighters end up just broken down and in trouble because they don’t have the skills or the stability to survive in a world that they are not used too.