Brandon Vera is a nice guy.
Let's be clear: I don't know the dude personally, neither do I know his wife, his siblings, his cousins, neighbours, or his favourite barber (I suspect he doesn't exist). I'm basing this observation on the "feeling" that many of us fans get about an athlete based on what we see before/after fights, during interviews, and what we read about them. This was most clear to me when he was around his family and friends. He seemed like an easy going dude and a loving husband. Anyone else could disagree with this opinion and be entirely correct.
Brandon Vera is also a huge disappointment.
Not as a person, but as a fighter, and not because he didn't do what was expected of him, but because he avoided trying his hardest, so that he could always justify his failures by claiming that he didn't try as hard or wasn't "himself".
Have you ever had that relatively smart/confident friend who underachieved because he/she never really tried hard enough? The one who didn't try out for the teams, didn't apply for the competitive jobs, didn't finish assignments or show up to exams? You know why? Because if you don't try , you can always delude yourself into thinking " well, if I had put in the effort, I could have made the grade/got the job/ made the team". Let's be honest: facing the fact that you were not as good as you thought is painful, literally if you happen to be a professional fighter. And I honestly think this is what Brandon has done for quite a while. Ever since his first loss, he has always held something back, either in his training or his fights. As a result, we've always heard the " I need to show what Brandon Vera is capable of" line, probably more than once. And here's the kicker: Vera didn't want to show what he is capable of, because he didn't want to show that he wasn't good enough no matter how hard he tried; to the fans, but most of all to himself.
Something happened last night. For the first time that I can recall, Brandon Vera really tried to win a fight despite knowing deep inside that his best was likely not going to be good enough. Call it maturity, desperation, or whatever you want, but he stopped hiding behind the delusion of having a 'better performance' to give. He gave his best, tried his hardest, and still lost. However, in the process he earned the respect of many, this fan included.
I think deep down, Brandon always knew that he wasn't going to be the 2 division champion he claimed, but don't think he had ever truly come around to accepting it. Now that he has, he may not become a better fighter, but he will be a freer fighter, and he may surprise everyone, himself included.
Disclaimer: This is my first post or blog of any kind, so unlike Brandon, my expectations are very low, but be gentle!