The Emergence of Louisville’s Next Greatest Fighter, Carlos Dixon
Muhammad Ali had his bike stolen at the age of 12 and grew ever angrier with each passing thought that he was not able to defend himself or his possessions. He saw this as a defining moment in his life where he could either choose to let his circumstances get the best of him, or, he could take matters into his own hands and charge ahead into the sport he did not yet know was beckoning to him. Carlos Dixon faced a similar fork in his road and each potential decision presented him with a very different set of outcomes. With his eighth fight and eighth loss hanging heavily on his heart, he felt he might not have the necessary skills to continue onward and become the boxing champion he so desperately longed to be. But after revisiting the film of the fight over and over again, Dixon came to see that it might be too soon to quit. In fact, he hung in there with his opponent, a seasoned boxer on his 94th fight, while Dixon was just beginning. Dixon knew that “it was a make or break fight, and I chose to make it.” Rather than taking the perspective of defeat and dejection, Dixon chose to examine this loss as a personal win. He hung in that ring with one of the best fighters in the country, with the fight stopped only because the referee called it. As Ali is revered as “the greatest”, this up and coming lightweight contender might just be the return to greatness Louisville needs.
After turning pro (deciding to do so off another loss), Dixon knew “I could compete with the people at the top…I just had to keep moving forward, [and] working hard in my training camps.” If he did that, he knew he would “always be ready.” No matter the obstacles he faced in the ring, Dixon forged ahead, never allowing himself to regress into the person he was before choosing to to go all in as a fighter. Dixon leaned into the firm belief that “boxing can take you all sorts of different places and open up different doors,” and he allowed his sport to do just that.
At 19-years old, Dixon signed with the Real Deal Promotions Company and in his debut fight on June 24, 2017, he knocked contender Deangelo Higgins clean out with one connection to the jaw. That night, Dixon’s fate was sealed, setting him on the assured path to success, greatness, and solidified his biggest goal: “to be a champion, first and foremost.”
For Dixon, the most important virtue a contender maintains is his conviction…why did he begin? What keeps him coming back? The desire to be a champion pulls Dixon forward, but not simply for the propulsion of his own career or fame. Dixon’s primary aim is to “leave as big of an impact as [Ali] did inside of the ring as well as outside of the ring.” In pursuit of this impactful legacy, Dixon works with children daily in his father’s gym, TKO Boxing, as well as through his ambassadorship with the WBC. More than showing these young fighters the meaning of hard work and drive, Dixon places himself directly in their lives, knowing the impact his own mentors and coaches had on him: “If one thing that I say sticks with one little kid…I feel like that’s the best thing.”
Moreover, Dixon sees the importance of “pushing it until you make it,” because “no dream is too big,” even closer to home. With his own daughter, everything he does is to show her that “she will be able to do anything in life,” and enters the gym every single day with her at the forefront of his mind.
“You always have to have a reason behind any of your actions,” says Dixon; and for him, that reason is the desire to be a champion and prove to his daughter and every kid who ever dreamed of being something bigger than themselves, that if you “just keep pushing forward and don’t let anyone discourage you,” you can become anything you desire to be.
It is clear that Dixon is well on his way to becoming a true champion in the sport of boxing. The thing is, if Dixon were to never win another fight, never knock out another opponent, never even set foot in the ring again, the impact he is leaving behind is already sustaining itself. His worth does not come from what he does in the ring, it comes from the way he utilizes his sport outside of the ring to improve the world around him. To compare Dixon to Ali on the level of sheer athletic aptitude is one thing, but this comparison runs far deeper. Ali was so much bigger than just the sport of boxing, and as a newly declared professional fighter, Carlos Dixon is already far bigger than the sport that chose him at 14-years old.
“Every time I got knocked down, I was determined to get back up.”
-Carlos Dixon, Keep Moving Forward Podcast, episode 72-