Success Lessons From Boxing

Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone recently opened an academy or gymnasium for contenders in downtown LA. The contenders are top middleweight boxers in the USA who have not been given a shot at the title.

Sugar Ray and Sly Stallone are well qualified to run the academy as both have been champions in their own worlds. Sly Stallone is a Hollywood ‘champion’.His films about ‘Rocky’ have inspired countless boxers. Sugar Ray was a 6 times world champion. He knows what it takes to be a champion: “Champions never ever show signs of quitting.”

Champions don’t quit but more than that they don’t even look like quitting and don’t even think about quitting. The same attitude is essential for anyone who is serious about achieving their dreams.

Sly told the contenders that they will now have a shot at the title: “You are now in charge of your own lives, your own fates. If you blow it, you blew it.” Success is about taking responsibility for your own actions. Champions don’t blame others for their failures.

Sugar Ray speaks too: “Your family is your foundation. Your family is why you are doing what you are doing but you know what’s going to make the big difference; what’s going to determine who wins is this (points to his heart) and this (points to his head) If you want it, go for it.”

The contenders were gradually eliminated from the Academy by a weekly series of 5 round fights. The first fight taught a lot about how to succeed in boxing or anything else. One of the ‘weaker’ boxers challenged the boxer who was supposed to be the strongest.

Alfonso Gomez from the Western middleweights was considered one of the weaker boxers but Alfredo noticed that Joey on his team who was being picked to fight the weakest of the Eastern middleweights did not look too happy or confident.

He volunteered his services, instead, to fight the strongest of the Easterners! He said: “I will fight Peter Manfredo. I can beat him.” Alfonso was only 10 and 2. Peter was 21 and 0.”

Alfonso smiled: “I’m a gambler. I’m not afraid to gamble. I am not worried about the competition. It’s just about who wants it most and I know that I want it more than anything else in the world.” Later Alfonso commented: “I am either going to be a hero or an idiot!”

Champions have to risk looking like idiots. So does any one who wants to achieve anything out of the ordinary.

Alfonso’s team members were taken aback by his offer to fight Manfredo but Alfonso was so confident that the rest of his team agreed to select him as their first representative. Alfonso continued to speak with confidence: “He’s going to be tough to fight but I know I can beat him There’s no doubt in my mind that I can beat him. As soon as we take their best fighter the whole team is going to crumble.”

Alfonso Gomez was utterly determined: “I’m going to give it my heart to make it. I want to provide my family with everything they want. It’s a dream and it’s a dream that I am sure will come true.”

Gomez climbed into the ring the night before the fight to visualize his success. “A true champion never thinks: ‘I’m gonna lose’. I’m going into the ring to visualize the fight. I want to visualize the fight to give me more confidence in myself. I really want to overcome any obstacles. I am confident and I say to myself: ‘You’re the winner; you’re the winner; you’re better than him. I actually imagine that I’m gonna win. I raise my hands.” Gomez raised his hands again and again punching the air in celebration.

“If you imagine it, it can happen. If I imagine I can fly, maybe in the future I will.” Champions visualize their success vividly before it happens. So should anyone who has a great dream.

At the pre-fight conference a pressman suggested that Alfonso was not as good a boxer as Peter Manfredo. Alfonso like a true champion, let the criticism slide over his head: “I’ve always been the under dog. All I can say is: I can beat him on his best day!” His team laughed and applauded.

Peter Manfredo did not have as much to say: “I feel like I always do before every fight. I feel like a killer. I will do my talking in the ring. The better man will win tonight. The only one who can beat you is yourself. This is the shot of a life time.”

On the way to the ring Alfonso was still sounding confident: “This is my passion; this is my dream; I will become the contender.” Peter Manfredo, undefeated and ranked third in the world said “I’m a serious threat because I fight for my family. I can box; I can bang. That’s why I am 21 and 0 today. I don’t know how to lose.”

Alfonso won the first round but Peter the second. Alfonso won the third round. Peter’s corner man told him: “Peter, you ain’t throwing enough punches.” Round four was more even but Peter seemed to edge it. Alfonso’s corner told him “Die in the ring, baby!” Alfonso gave it everything and won the fifth round.

Alfonso, the underdog, won the fight by unanimous decision. He was generous in victory. He held up Peter’s arm and said: “Hell of a fighter! Hell of a fighter!” Alfonso’s dream had come true. He laughed: “I took a risk but I beat a gorilla!”

Peter was shell shocked. He had been defeated in front of his wife and daughter. He had lost his unbeaten record to an unknown. “I came here with the confidence that I was a champ but it did not happen. I feel I let everybody down. Why was it when it is my chance to shine I blow it? I’ve fought since I was 5 years old? Where do I go from here?”

If Peter is destined to be a true champion, he will not quit. Sugar Ray himself lost 3 fights. Many true champions have experienced failure. A true champion or anyone who wants to fulfill their destiny does not quit or show signs of quitting. A champion does not blame any one else for his or her failures. He or she is usually motivated by love of their family. They are not afraid to risk looking like an idiot. They have the confidence to challenge the ‘gorillas’ and use tools like visualization to achieve their goals. They ignore the critics who see them as the underdog.

Nicole Thomas

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