The majority of fighters spend their time placing the dangers of the ring to a dark corner of their mind. Jamel Herring is one exception to the rule. PTSD will do that to you.
This Saturday night in Dubai, the former US Marine faces the toughest challenge of his ring career when defending his WBO world super-featherweight title against Carl Frampton but it pales in comparison to the days he served in Iraq.
Forget mind games and hyperbole causing Herring any issues against the Jackal, the 35-year-old is a fighting man ready to lay it all on the line without inhibition.
"Sometimes I think about all the things that I've seen… also the people I knew who are not here any more, who lost their lives fighting for their country. When I'm training I enjoy it because it's therapeutic," said Herring, speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph.
"The worst experience was seeing a sergeant lose his life. That hit me hard, he had a two-week-old son and I was expecting my son to be born. It just showed me that nothing is guaranteed.
"Being a Marine created a mental toughness. I've been in some tough fights but when I think about where I have been, I know I would rather be in the boxing ring."
It wasn't just on the battlefield that Herring found trauma, the death of his baby daughter Ariyanah in July 2009 - a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - is another potent, ongoing searing pain that he turns to motivation when preparing for the ring.
"I think about my daughter all the time, her name is stitched into my trunks. I look at her as my guardian angel, keeping me on the straight path in life," said Herring.
"Losing a child at any age is very hard for any parent and I've tried to take a positive from it by speaking to others who have lost a child, speaking about how I have tried to cope and just hoping that will help ease the pain a little bit for them."
Growing up in Long Island, New York, it would have been easy for Herring to follow the route of some of his friends who either ended up in jail or the cemetery.
Boxing and the Marines gave Jamel a real purpose to life, encouraged by dad Harry and mother Jeanine who proudly watched as their son donned his Olympic vest at the London 2012 Games.
His London experience of the Olympics is one that continues to raise a smile from Herring who, despite a couple of defeats in the space of 12 months, between 2016 and '17, went on to lift the WBO belt with a points victory over Masayuki Ito in 2019.
Frampton is a level above those who have been overcome so far, though the Belfast man is stepping up a division and not fought a world class opponent since losing to Josh Warrington in December 2019. Herring sees victory as his gateway to possibly becoming a two-weight champion - with a move up to lightweight. But, he insists that it is his life beyond the ropes where he wants to leave his mark on this world.
Aware of how easy it is for young people to take the wrong path in life, Herring is eager to offer hope through the sharing of his own experience.
"I want people to remember me as the person I am outside the ring, to be remembered for who I am as a person. There are different aspects to my story and I am keen to help the urban youth because they can easily get involved in the wrong end of things so they are in desperate need of role models. If they don't have them then something else will fill the void," said Herring.
"Being able to have an impact like that means more to me than being a world champion… Muhammad Ali achieved many great things in the ring but what happened outside the ring was bigger - his character stood out.
"Whenever the time does come for me to hang up my gloves I know I will stay in the sport.
"I'm already in a management role and we have a few prospects. That's something I might pursue but I'd also like to get into TV commentary as well because I love speaking about the sport."
On Saturday night Herring intends to retain the momentum in his career with a victory that would significantly add to his CV,
"Beating Carl would mean a lot, it would be a big statement. I respect Carl a lot, he has done a tremendous job in his career and as a fan I love watching him. Beating him would take me to new heights."