BOXING is the ULTIMATE Metaphor for life!
Written By: Elliot Allen
My Love for the sport of boxing has spanned over 3 decades! From an early age, the more I learned about the sport the more addictive it became to me. The older I get the more I respect, understand, and appreciate where my fascination for boxing comes from. There are multiple angles to look at it.
I can very vividly remember watching the first fight that would trigger the passion I have for the sport of boxing. The year was 1985 and the fight was Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas “Hitman” Hearns!! While Muhammed Ali was (and still is) my favorite fighter of all time and I had watched many of his fights (as well as others), Hagler vs Hearns was the first time I really began to understand the magnitude of a BOXING EVENT as a whole! At that time cable television was not common place in homes so fights were not as easily accessible to watch as they are today. My family did not have cable in the home so I did not watch the fight live. However this was the first time understanding the promotion, the training, the pressure of what was being put on the line, and of course the ability to be able to perform on fight night for these warriors! Later in life I realized my fascination comes the understanding that the entire BOXING EVENT is really a metaphor for Life!!!!
THE BOXING EVENT: Hagler Vs. Hearns
While I was only 11 years old at the time, I can recall the anticipation of getting the fight made and I can remember the tremendous excitement once the fight was made. April 15th was the date on the tip of every boxing fans tongue in 1985. I was an all-sports junkie (even at that early of an age), with basketball probably being my number one favorite sport. However, this was my first realization that this BOXING EVENT wasn’t like anything else in sports. During the build-up of the fight, I recall the shows hyping the fight. The interviews of the two fighters would show up on shows like ABC’s Wide World of Sports (which was really popular at that time). The intensity of both fighters as they talked about their intentions in the fight was enormous. That Tommy Hearns stare and Marvin Hagler reckless determination toward winning by any means necessary was evident during the interviews. The training footage showed both boxing superstars putting in tremendous hard work and dedication was very impactful on me. I do recall seeing the fight several weeks after the live event in my school auditorium. I already knew the outcome of the fight and so did all the other kids. As we watched the fight, most of the kids watched loosely, but my eyes were intensely glued to every moment from the opening round. Of course that wasn’t too tough of a task being that the first round was one of the greatest in the history of the sport. Just two rounds later Hagler was the winner by a devastating KO in the 3rd Round!
Our everyday lives mirror a prize fight in so many ways. The obvious main difference is the speed in which a prize fight happens. Hagler and Hearns had to train extremely hard to go to war in that ring. In life we must do the same thing to our minds in order to handle the opponent called LIFE. Those that don’t take the time to train their minds are ill prepared for the opponent called life. The possibility of getting knocked out quickly is very possible. The knockout in life is failed goals, failed aspirations, failed relationships and no desire to get better. While Hagler/Hearns ended early in the 3rd round, please understand they would not have made it out of the 1st round if BOTH guys were not in superior shape. In those eight and half minutes of fighting many mental decisions had to be made. According to the late great Emmanuel Steward, Hearns broke his hand in the first round. He had to make a decision to not only keep fighting, but to actually really go for it in the torrid pace both that fighters set. Hearns probably could have moved and slowed the pace of the fight and get through it with a broken hand and make the excuse that the broken effected his performance. He was mentally determined to win!! So he kept the pace which ultimately lead to his brutal KO. Hagler was badly cut on the forehead and was bleeding profusely. The referee was taking a close look at the terrible cut and even called the ringside physician to look at the cut! Hagler also knew he had to go for it or risk them stopping the fight because of the cut. I also believe he could have backed off and maybe allowed the heavy flow of blood to subside. Both guys made that decision to go for it. All of this is predicated on the hard dedicated training allowing them to be confident they were ready to endure whatever storm was coming. Even in defeat the fight Hearns put up made him a winner and furthered his legend. This BOXING EVENT was my introduction to seeing sports as a metaphor to the challenges, triumphs, storms, adversity, and falling back on the hard work put in to prepare for life’s success!!!