New York City politics is not for the faint of heart or those afraid to break a sweat. Using those guidelines, mayoral candidate Paul Massey thinks he has what it takes. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Paul Massey is preparing to compete. In the boxing ring, where he spars a few days a week. And in the political ring, where he is challenging Mayor Bill de Blasio.
When asked whether he things politics or boxing will be tougher, Massey says boxing.
"Boxing pushes you right to the limit," he said.
Politics certainly can, too, as Massey may be about to find out. The Republican real estate executive is a newcomer to the political arena.
Before heading into his gym across from Madison Square Park, NY1 spoke about his longshot bid for City Hall against the defending champion.
"We need leadership," he said. "We had 20 great years of leadership, and it's gone. Now, we have a corrupt mayor, a mayor who is dividing us, a mayor who is an incompetent manager. And I'm the right guy to step up."
In response, a spokesman for Mayor de Blasio said crime is at record lows and job levels at record highs. He added that the mayor is happy to compare his record against anyone.
In a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1, Massey has a long fight ahead of him. And with President Donald Trump in the White House and New Yorkers marching in opposition, the climate seems particularly ill-suited for a multimillionaire from the world of real estate.
Some may also question Massey's New Yorker street cred. He built his commercial real estate business here, but he lived in tiny Larchmont in Westchester and only moved to Manhattan in 2015.
"No one can out-New York me. I've spent 30 years in every neighborhood in this city," he said.
In fundraising, Massey is already proving to be a contender. He raised $1.6 million over the last six months, $600,000 more than de Blasio.
But Massey has been spending money at a fast rate on staff and polling, with little apparent impact on the race. An aide says he is building out his campaign infrastructure to prepare for the fight ahead.
There are some obvious parallels between boxing and politics. You need to be able to take a punch and throw one as well.
"You're going to get hit. Absolutely," Massey said.
Massey, for one, seems at quite at home in the ring.