My dream isn't to be richer than Mike Tyson or to be more famous than Muhammad Ali—it's to play a round of golf with Evander Holyfield and Felix Trinidad. But I don't see my dream coming true anytime soon, because they, like most professional pugilists, don't play golf.
Why? Perhaps boxers think the game isn't rough and tough enough for their ring personas. They might not understand how hard ft is to put a little white ball into a 4¼-inch cup. In fact, it's much easier to land a right cross in the ring than to float a 220-yard two-iron shot over a pond to a flag-stick tucked behind a bunker.
Perhaps fighters are worried that they'll have to dress in knickers, a la Payne Stewart. Another unnecessary concern. You can't wear your boxing trunks on the course—at least at nice places—but regular golf duds are pretty hip. I even wear them off the course.
Some fighters have told me they can't fathom playing golf because a round can take up to five hours, while they're accustomed to focusing for a couple of minutes. But I tell them that's the idea: Golf is a great way to relax, especially after you've unleashed all that energy in the ring. In fact, the links are where you'll find me the morning after all of my fights.
I admit I had reservations a couple of years ago when my brother Joel Jr. introduced me to the game. Golf is almost totally mental. Boxing is mostly physical. But golf has taught me patience and how to control my emotions.
The most surprising aspect of the game is the pressure golfers put on themselves. Two weeks ago, at the Isuzu celebrity championship in Lake Tahoe, Nev., I was shaking so much on the 1st tee that I chunked my drive 25 yards. I don't know how the Tour guys keep from cracking.
In my brief golf career I've already broken 80 a couple of times. My ultimate fantasy is to make the Senior tour, and I have 25 years to get ready. Meanwhile, I want some kindred playing partners. Give golf a try. It's a knockout.