‘This is who I am’ — Preparing for a bout with identity | A boxer’s tale – California News

‘This is who I am’ — Preparing for a bout with identity | A boxer’s tale – California News

When Pat Manuel stepped through the ropes and into the boxing ring at the South El Monte Community Center 13 months ago, it was the last step of a long journey, one that stretched back more than four years to Manuel’s last bout, in the 2012 Olympic Trials.

Along the way he lost his coach and his gym, two jobs and a handful of people he once considered friends.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Pat Manuel gets an injection of testosterone from friend and strength coach Aaron Vasquez in the garage of his residence in Gardena.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A few nights before a possible boxing match, Pat Manuel visualizes a fight scenario in a swimming pool after a workout in Long Beach.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Pat Manuel checks e-mails at his mothers house in Gardena the night before leaving for Salt Lake City for his surgery.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

As Pat Manuel undergoes top surgery, his mother, Loretta Butler, waits outside the operating room in Salt Lake City.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Pat Manuel goes under the knife for top surgery that was paid for by his grandmother.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Loretta Butler sits at the bedside of her son, Pat Manuel, after top surgery in Salt Lake City.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

As his mother, Loretta Butler, looks on, Pat Manuel smiles while seeing his nipples for the first time through a compression vest, one day after top surgery in Salt Lake City.

(Wally Skalij / Los…

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