WHY I FIGHT – “BOXING HAS SAVED MY LIFE IN WAYS I NEVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE.”
Kevin Cobbs has had the fighting spirit since he was very young. He’s had to fight, both literally and metaphorically, his entire life.
Kevin is one of The Club’s trainers, with a passion for teaching others how to box. He’s also a professional fighter. Kevin, thank you for sharing your story with us. You are an important part of our Everybodyfights community. You continue to fight every day for what’s important to you, and you inspire many others to do the same.
WHY I FIGHT:
All my life, I’ve been fighting for balance. I never had a “typical” childhood. I was forced to grow up when I was about 5. I learned that I had to fight not just to be a kid, but I had to fight to survive. Born in Hartford, CT, I lived with my mom and two sisters, Tiffany and Nikkia. I never even knew my dad.
At 18 months old, I had a benign tumor the size of an egg, and had it removed. I have a huge scar on the back of my head, and it made me an easy target for kids to bully me. To this day, I am always wearing a hat to hide the scar.
I quickly learned how to fight. Not only did I have to defend myself, I also fought for others who couldn’t fight for themselves.
My mother was an addict and a partier, and so alcohol and drugs were always present in my family. There was too much going on in our house. With frequent exposure to my mom’s “partying”, there was no balance. I had my first full beer at 5 years old.
I started boxing at 9 years old. I wasn’t as much interested in the discipline of boxing. It was more so that I could learn how to fight. I was always getting into fights at school, and I figured I might as well do it right.
Throughout my childhood we were always moving. Consequences of my mom’s addiction often forced us to leave our current residence, as we found ourselves in situations we needed to get away from. Between Connecticut, California, South Carolina, Massachusetts and Vermont, I never felt settled.
In California we lived in Compton, South Central and Fresno. These are really tough areas to live in. One day, I was in my house and tripped over my shoelace. As I hit the ground, three bullets came through the window.
WHY I FIGHT – The next day we threw all of our stuff into trash bags and took a three-day bus ride to Massachusetts, to live on Cape Cod with my cousins. After that we moved to Connecticut, and then Vermont by the time I was about 16.
I never had consistency when it came to where I lived. That need to feel settled still haunts me to this day. When I was 18, I decided it was time to be on my own. I moved back to Connecticut by myself. When I was 20 I moved back with my mom, and then I moved to South Carolina with a girlfriend. Eventually, that girlfriend found herself another boyfriend, which was heartbreaking.
Between that situation, my sisters and I having three different fathers, and my mother never having a stable relationship, it perpetuated my lack of trust in others and the belief that functional relationships weren’t actually possible.
When I was 22, I started boxing again. Slowly it started to change my life. Before that, I was destroying my body and mind with cigarettes and alcohol. Boxing forced me to stop everything and get my act together. I did whatever I could. I worked hard to teach myself discipline, despite my previous lack of guidance. I was fortunate to have the help of a trainer in Vermont who really taught me how to box.
WHY I FIGHT – I trained for a year, and had 14 amateur fights. I went on to be the first professional boxer in Vermont to win in over 30 years, became the four-time tri-state Golden Glove champion, the John J. Morrissey Upstate New York champion, the Rocky Marciano champion, and the Tournament of Champions winner.
At that time, I had a girlfriend, and I was trying to figure out my relationship with her. I wasn’t sure where it was heading. I just knew that I wasn’t ready for marriage. I wasn’t ready for “forever” with her.
(WHY I FIGHT) Then she was pregnant. I didn’t have the money, resources or capacity to bring a child into this world, and I was very vocal about it. I just wasn’t ready. But she was. That was five years ago, and I am now a very proud father of a boy named Jay’min.
I knew that if I moved to Boston to pursue my goal of being a pro fighter, it was an opportunity to be able to support Jay’min and myself. As a pro, I have had 11 fights, with a record of 10-1.
I started holding the mitts about 7 years ago, and working with a “mittologist”. About a year and a half ago I found The Club, was hired as a trainer. Working at The Club has forced me to be more organized and balanced. Boxing forces me every day to be disciplined and to take care of my body. I’m also helping others learn how to box, while waiting for my next fight.
My nickname is “Bully”. This comes from many places, and encompasses the person I am today. As a child, I was bullied, and learned to stand up for myself. As a boxer, I learned to fight and “bully the bullies”. I worked with a man in Vermont named Tom Murphy, who has started a program called “Sweethearts and Heroes”. This essentially empowers students, enhances the school climate to stop bullying, and provides better choices for kids. I hope to someday bring this program to the Boston area.
I don’t look back at my childhood and feel sorry for myself. I do feel that everything that has happened has led me to where I am today. The irony of being a pro fighter, having the nickname “Bully” but not wanting to hurt people is not lost on me. Boxers have to know exactly how to use their skills. I have big dreams for my boxing career, and I know they are realistic. My motto is “Get it Til it’s Got”. These are words I live by.
My Everyday Fight? I fight for balance, for happiness, and the opportunity to be the best dad I can be to my son.
Every day I fight for the ability and the chance to get in the ring. Not only has boxing taught me discipline, commitment and balance, it’s saved my life in ways I never thought possible. – WHY I FIGHT