The Blog of Jake Kelfer
Success Spotlight Questions with Raymond Merrill II: Professional Boxer
I'm from Inglewood, California. I was born deaf, but I can hear with my hearing aids, and I read lips. I have a mother and younger brother who are also deaf. I'm a professional fighter pursuing to make history to become the first black deaf champion in the history of boxing, and to be a voice for the deaf community.
How do you define success?
I believe that success is never giving up on your dreams or life no matter how difficult it may get. I also believe success is when you're given an opportunity to put others in a position to succeed. I'm a firm believer that we can all make it if we help each other out and not care who gets the credit.
Everyone has his or her own journey and story to tell. Can you talk about your journey up to this point?
The road up to this point wasn't easy at all. I literally started with a dollar and a dream. I took a greyhound bus to Vegas in hopes of taking my dreams to the next level. I knew that adding a Mayweather name to my story would make it that much bigger. I found a room to rent in a stranger's house not knowing if that person could have been a serial killer or something. I was sleeping on the floor, and the house was roach infected. I had roaches crawling all over me while I was sleeping. I literally had to work myself to death just so I could sleep peacefully. I rode the bus to the gym two hours everyday, there and back. I didn't care, because that's how bad I wanted it. My hard work is starting to pay off slowly but surely. Patience is the hard part, but God's timing is always PERFECT!
What does your workout schedule look like when you are training for a big fight?
I run 5-7 miles. Some days I'll run till I can't anymore. 11 miles is the most I've ever done. I like to run between 1am-3am because it's very hot in Las Vegas. When I go to the gym, I jump rope for 30 minutes straight then shadow box for about 20 minutes then I do mitts with Jeff or Floyd Mayweather Sr. or both for a few rounds. Once I'm done with that I hit the heavy bag for 30 minutes to an hour depending on how I feel. After I finish that I do 1,500 crunches in sets of 300's, 300 pull ups or 500 push ups. From the boxing gym I go to the fitness gym and do weight training. Some of the exercises I do are squats, bench press, weight training, pull ups with a 45 pound weight attached to me via weight belt and sprints on the treadmill going 12 miles an hour. It isn't easy, but I love it.
How has being deaf impacted your journey to success?
Honestly growing up I didn't have too much difficulties due to my hearing impairment. I was always popular in school and played various sports. I lived in California most of my life, so a lot of people know me, but living in Vegas has shown me how people view deaf people and have a certain perception that deaf people are deaf and dumb. I've had people talk to me or treat me like I was slow. It can be frustrating at times, but I do my best not to let it get to me, and at the same time it shows me who's genuine and who's not. I had problems getting fights, because promoters were viewing me as handicap and couldn't look past my hearing aids. I've had managers try to hustle me because they thought I was dumb because they see big money with my story. They tried to offer me deals that were basically slave contracts. The good thing that's coming out of all this is I'm getting lessons on what to look for as I move forward in my journey.
Because I see how people perceive deaf and hard of hearing people, it has really made me want to make a difference for the deaf community. A lot of deaf and hard of hearing people have a very hard time getting jobs or going for their dreams because they are being discriminated against and it's not right. People are stopping them from making a living. We can do things just as good as everyone else if not better because our other senses are enhanced. Jeff Mayweather is very protective of me and he is starting to put my name and story out to the boxing world. There are a few people who want to do a movie deal, reality shows, or get me on shows like Bryant Gumble. I know with my story I can be a huge star. Not just a star, but a global star because there are 400 million deaf people worldwide. It's virtually an untapped market and I believe I can bust it wide open. Everything is coming together slowly but surely. All I need is the right people who can see my vision and more. I'm hoping a big agency like ROC Nation will hear about my story as they are involved in boxing now and promote their athletes outside of the sport too. That's very important to me.
You are an inspiration to me and many others. What is one piece of advice you have for people?
GET RIGHT WITH GOD, AND WATCH GOD GET YOU RIGHT!!
What motivates you every single day?
God, my mother, my little brother, and knowing I can make an impact in this world before I leave.
If you could have lunch with 3 people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Warren Buffet because I have a passion for business and want to be an entrepreneur one day.
Muhammed Ali because he's the GREATEST!
Frederick Douglass because I would love to pick his brain and listen to his wisdom.
The Fundamental Round
Favorite food: Chicken Tacos
Favorite book: 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
Favorite movie: Home Alone
Favorite athlete: Stephen Curry and Andre Ward
Favorite sports team: Lakers and Warriors
Favorite song: Let Me Fly by DMX
Favorite quote: "Put God first, and he will take care of the rest!"
Biggest role model: My mother
Animal you most resemble (looks or personality): I love monkeys
You can connect with Ray here:
Raymond Merill II Twitter
Raymond Merrill II Instragram
Raymond Merrill II LinkedIn
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