How Perseverance and Hard Work Changed a Boxer’s Life
“What inspires you to move forward?”
Motivational speakers often ask this question when addressing a vast audience in an auditorium. That moment of silence, comprising thoughts that go through the audience’s minds, is where dreams are made. But dreams are more than just a thought process, and it’s the determination to walk through fire to make those dreams come true. Everyone out there thrives on being successful but often forgets the difficulties on the path toward success. That thorn-filled path can potentially make a person successful or leave someone stranded as life goes on.
The Chicago-born, Mexican-American boxer Mario Herrera has been there. Although only 24 years of age, Herrera has become an inspiration for countless out there who are striving hard to succeed. Herrera grew up in a tough neighborhood, where his motivation lessened with time. He faced obstacles as a teenager, which left him and his family in serious predicaments. But he always found support from his mother, who introduced her children to sports clubs. It started with her keeping Mario out of trouble in a troubling neighborhood, but it became a way of life for him. After all, as fate has it, there’s always a light at the end of a tunnel.
The great Muhammad Ali once said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said to myself, ‘Don’t quit, suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a champion.” Perhaps, young Herrera took a page out of Muhammad Ali’s book and put perseverance and hard work as his prime focus in life. Like any other aspiring superstar, he needed someone to spot his talent. That’s the impact Fernando Perez, his high school strength and conditioning coach, had on his life. Perez saw the potential in Herrera and led him to a boxing gym in Palatine, IL, where later he had to switch from gym to gym. That’s when his journey as an amateur boxer started.
As a 17-year-old young boxer, he was always keen on becoming the next boxing star. However, he knew that he wanted to prove that he was a star in the making to himself and the world. And the first bout of success came to Herrera only after eight amateur fights. He entered the 2019 Chicago Golden Gloves Middle Weight Division Tournament and ended the tournament as a champion – continuing to fight 25 plus fights summing up Mario Herrera’s young amateur career.
After all, with not such a huge amateur career due to the pandemic, Mario Herrera worked to chase his dream of becoming a professional fighter as he felt his time was NOW. In 2021, Herrera had a remarkable 5 – 0 winning professional record, with the best yet to come. But Herrera still holds his roots up close and knows that he had to train hard to win in the amateur arena – with limited resources.
Herrera also has inspirations whose footsteps he wants to take. He especially credits Fernando Perez, who believed he would go big in the boxing arena. It was because of Perez that he found a place to train and improve himself. He also found other inspiration guides on the road towards becoming a pro boxer, such as the Russel “Rocky” Fiore and Giovanni Caravello. Later Giovanni became Herrera’s trainer and helped him understand the actual science behind boxing. Herrera knows his praiseworthy work ethic and perseverance can make him the next boxing sensation with the right team behind him.
Committing to a goal and striving to achieve it requires the will to go on because, let’s be honest, success isn’t achieved overnight. When asked about his determination, Herrera said, “Learning the sport and knowing myself puts me on a whole different level. My ambition and dedication have brought me where I am today and the people who stood by me and provided me with the resources I have today. In this sport, what you put in will most definitely show”.
Mario Herrera is not only an inspiration to young athletes but also for people who are reigniting their ambition to achieve success. One must remember that the road to success is slow and can be quite a precarious journey. He is a living example that only hard work can solely be responsible for success.