Good idea for an OP, done4good.
I suppose my hero has to be former HW champ Joe Frazier.
He was champ from 1968-1973. He grew up poor, in the racist Deep South. He was a Gullah. From what I've read, the local doctor's in Beaufort, S. Carolina, treated whites first, and the local grocery store had a caged parrot that was trained to sing "niggas teefing, niggas teefing". He refused to let any of this racist shit get to him and dreamed of one day emulating his hero, Joe Louis, and becoming HW champ.
Joe and his dad, Rueben, worked on a white-owned farm, together with other black people. Apparently, one day Joe saw a kid on the farm catch a beating that was over nothing, so Joe caught the bus north to first Brooklyn, then Philly, Pen.
Joe walked into a boxing gym to lose weight and met trainer, Yank Durham. They went to white business groups and black business groups, telling them that one day Joe would be HW champ. They were brushed off - Joe was apparently too small, his arms were too short, he wouldn't amount to anything.
Joe had other ideas. He won the Olympic gold in 1964 and a version of the HW title in 1968,unifying it by beating Jimmy Ellis in 1970. He put up with a lot of shit from Muhammad Ali, giving him three tough fights and beating the crap out of him in 1971 - when they were both closest to their primes.
He also had the guts to share a ring with George Foreman twice - something that Ali ducked out of.
So, there you have it. Joe Frazier (b.1944, d.2011) - tough physically, but even tougher mentally.