After reading the autobiography of Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt, Born to Fight (2015), written with Ben McKelvey, the adage imparted at childhood to not judge a book by its cover rings true when staring face-to-face with Hunt on the front of his tell-all tome. Fans of combat sports best correlate the blonde hair and cold stare of a competitor who is starving to reach the pinnacle with someone satiated in violence; they quickly realize Hunt’s battle initiated at his earliest memory:
My first memories were just feelings, and there was one feeling that I remember more than the rest: hunger. (p. 5)
What It’s About?
Comparing where Hunt stands currently, a veteran prizefighter revered by many, to his recollection of a tumultuous journey, page after page of Born to Fight revealed he’s been fighting since birth. The ups and downs experienced would submit most, but Hunt swung haymakers in the direction of adversity, toppling the darkest moments of his life.
I’ve been beaten, tortured and jailed. I’ve lived as a bad man and a good man. I’ve been addicted, homeless and broke. I’ve been lost, and found. This life would have ruined many, but God, he gave me the gifts I needed to keep going. (p. ix)
Writing Style (Hitting Rock Bottom)
No matter which hemisphere of Earth you’re found, Born to Fight hits close to home. Hunt’s tale vividly outlines travesty, from childhood into his professional fighting career, but doesn’t dwell on the situation for too long before beginning the arduous climb toward the light shining above. Over and over, Hunt transparently displayed anecdotes of trial and error, whispering the buried treasure to overcoming hardships: There are no secrets.
Each period—whether as a youngster, adolescent, or an adult—strained Hunt’s sensibilities, but readers can garner strength from his testament to never seize or fold under the force of such overcast skies.
Meeting Somewhere In the Middle
If it wasn’t one side of the fence in regards to Hunt, it would surely be found on the other. Opposites attract, and, in the instance of “The Super Samoan” they collide to form the man comprising 300-plus pages that perches readers on the edge of their seats.
One side of me is good, the other evil. I know I’ve got both in me. There have been times in my life I’ve fought because of my left shin, and other times because of my right shin. Perhaps it’s the conflict between the two that has brought me to where I am. That struggle to get closer to goodness has been my fire. (p. 310)
Fans of Hunt’s martial times embrace the durability and devastation he displays between bells. In the text, Hunt highlighted the self-belief and self-doubt squaring-off between his ears.
Every so often, when training or fighting, a little squeaky voice of self-belief sounded off in my head. You’re the best fighter in the world, man; it’s just that no one else knows about it yet. I honestly used to hear that in my head. If I ever listened to that voice, however, it would be followed by a booming dissenting opinion. Where did you come from? You think you can be shit? Just shut up, have another drink. (p. 63)
The truth bombs of Hunt may challenge those who grapple with his words to reflect on their own worlds, affording a moment to sail to the other end of the spectrum and better unveil the realest you.
Mentioning a matchup with to fight fans Hunt means a rendezvous with whenever he’s scheduled. Generating the same power utilized to clobber his opponents, Hunt, placing a pen in an ungloved right wrecking ball he calls a hand, held nothing back when writing Born to Fight. From the introduction to the final chapter, I was empowered to walk away, much like one of Hunt’s patented knockout blows, from Born to Fight better prepared to balance my own juxtapositions for a happier, healthier, and more successful self.
Since Hunt removes any restriction from his readers and opens hearts and minds by disclosing everything within his own, it seemed fitting for Born to Fight to receive five out of five stars.
If there is one message to take away from all this—this book, my story, my life—it would be that there’s incredible power in talking to someone about the hurts happening in your life. (p. 301)