Matt Murdock promised his father that he’d never be a fighter like him, but losing his memory led to breaking that vow in a spectacular way.
Fans familiar with Daredevil’s origin know that Matt Murdock is the son of Battlin’ Jack Murdock, a professional boxer. Although Matt worshiped his father and wanted to be a fighter like him, Jack convinced his son to spend all of his time studying – not wanting Matt to end up a washed-up old prizefighter like him. Matt listened to his dad, and later became an attorney who defended the downtrodden.
Still, part of Matt needed to be like his father – so while he had promised “Matt Murdock” would never be a fighter, Matt found a loophole in that rule by creating the new superhero identity of Daredevil and battling criminals on the street once he was done defending people in court. At one point, however, Matt completely went back on his promise to his father – by basically becoming him!
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This happened in Daredevil #286, during a period where Daredevil was rendered amnesic and Bullseye had stolen his costume, allowing the assassin to masquerade as a criminal version of the Man Without Fear. Not sure who he was, Matt began calling himself “Jack Murdock” (after deciding the name felt right) and basically wandered through New York, rediscovering his superhuman senses and fighting ability.
Matt fell in with a young thief and street artist, Nyla Skin, who offered him a place to sleep. Grateful, Matt actually accompanied Nyla on one of her jobs – where his super-senses allowed him to easily break into a rich man’s safe. Before they could take anything, however, Matt shut the safe, feeling it was wrong to just steal from people. Nyla was furious, but Matt was determined to get more honest work.
This led Matt to someplace very familiar – the boxing ring. After asking for a job as a fighter, Matt was originally met with derision by the owner, who told him he needed to have something special in order to fight in his ring. In response, Matt suggested that he box blindfolded, since he didn’t need his eyes to see anyway. Amused, the owner handed him a pair of gloves and a blindfold – but later hired him on the spot when Matt KO’d his opponent with a single punch.
Matt (still billed as “Jack Murdock”) began gaining a lot of fame as “The Blind Boxer.” While his gimmick did bring in some spectators, many more came to see his highly effective fighting style, which incorporated moves reminiscent of Joe Louis and several street styles. Matt’s antics even brought in the Kingpin (who knew Matt’s true identity). Because Kingpin didn’t know that Matt had lost his memory, he had no idea what Matt was trying to do by boxing under his father’s name.
Eventually, Matt did recover his memory through dreams and reminders of his past. Realizing how dangerous it was to advertise his abilities so openly, he retired his “Blind Boxer” persona and got Nyla to a safe place. He later went on to battle Bullseye to get his costume and superhero identity back, showing that while “The Blind Boxer” might have been the character Matt dreamed of being, Daredevil is who he’s really supposed to be.
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