Champions Fall Too

Getting the wind knocked out of you is a paralyzing feeling. One that empties your lungs of all air and leaves you struggling trying to catch just one breath to alleviate the pain from the blow. Professional boxers know this feeling all too well. Just one hit to the abdomen or one bad fall on their back could leave them gasping for air and sometimes even cause them to lose the fight.

A regular boxing ring surrounded by ropes spotlit in the missle on an isolated dark background

Of course all fighters are aware that this is a probability once they step into the ring. So for this reason they devise a strategy that if closely followed will keep them safe from this type of hit.

Though painful, getting the wind knocked out of them doesn’t always imply a loss. If a fighter is well prepared, he can recover and come back even stronger than before. But this is solely dependent upon technique.  

While strategy is the overall plan, technique is for the moment. It is applying the skills that have been learnt into the present situation.

As difficult as it may seem, if in the midst of the hurt, a fighter reverts to what was taught to him during his training camp, he will have a better chance of coming around and returning to the fight.

In case you didn’t know, I am a boxing fan. In fact, I am a fan of combat sports in general. There’s nothing more exciting to me than watching two fighters go at it in a ring or cage and give it all they’ve got. It’s not the blood and gore that I’m attracted to <although it doesn’t seem to bother me> but rather the spirit of the fighters that is so very unique to each and every fight.

This weekend I had the opportunity to watch a movie about a fighter they called Hands of Stone. Perhaps you’ve heard of him, as Roberto Duran was a champion in four weight divisions during his prime. Though known for being relentless throughout his boxing career, that label was questioned after his famous bout with Sugar Ray Leonard where Duran himself put a stop to the fight during the eighth round by uttering the words many say were “No Mas” or “No More”.

The story goes that feeling unprepared for the fight, Duran gave up and decided it was best to walk out and seek a rematch later. This of course earned him a not so desirable reputation even amongst his fans and would take him years to reverse.

As time has a way of teaching us lessons, the notorious fighter later learned that what mattered was not that he was champion but rather that he fight and so he returned to fighting.

His fierce spirit was undeniable and after redeeming himself through several matches later, it became clear that Duran stopped the fight that day not because of fear but because of pride. He preferred to walk out of the ring and put his reputation on the line rather than to take a blow that knocked the wind out of him.

Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you? I have. Many times. In fact on more occasions then I care to admit. I have also felt like Duran in many instances and have wanted to walk out because I have been unprepared to handle what lies ahead. Giving up has seemed like the better option and pride has convinced me that the only way to protect myself was to walk away. Yet again, like only time can do, it has shown me that what matters most is not that I’m the champion each and every single time but that I remain in the fight and build endurance so that one day I can be.

Believing that you will stay in the fight this week in spite of the hits that may come your way because real champions can recover from a fall!


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