Boxing: A Metaphor of Life

04.10.04 - By Rev. Marc Axelrod: Up until a year ago, Roy Jones Junior seemed to be one of those guys who could make it through his career without ever having his chin tested. Oh sure, he was tagged by Lou Del Valle few years back. But that seemed to be more of a flash knockdown. The bottom libe is that in 14 years as a professional fighter, Jones had never really been hit by a solid shot. James Toney tried to hit him. Bernard Hopkins tried to hit him. Even Vinny Pazienza came tearing out his corner and tried to hit him. But Roy seemed to be the exception to the rule, the only fighter to make it through a long career unscathed by the more hostile aspects of life in the squared circle.

That is, until the fall of 2003. Antonio Tarver hit Roy Jones more often and more cleanly than anyone has ever hit Roy Jones before. And Roy showed the heart of a lion, coming back from a tenth round battering to land some good combinations on Tarver in the last couple of rounds. I thought Roy did enough to eke out the decision that night.

But in May 2004, Roy fought Tarver again, and this time, he wasn’t so lucky. With his eyes closed, Tarver uncorked a huge, looping left hand that dropped Roy to the canvas like a ton of bricks. Roy got up at the count of nine, but he looked like a man who had just stumbled out of bed at 330 in the morning, and Tarver was declared the winner. Four months later, Jones took the beating of his life against Glen Johnson, who looked like Joe Frazier at times as he worked Roy along the ropes. It was a sudden and sad end to a storied career.

The career of Roy Jones can be a message for our own lives. No one makes it through this life without taking some shots. No one gets through to the other side without being tested, without being challenged, without facing obstacles.

I think for Roy Jones, the shots to his ego have been even more devastating that the shots he has taken to the head. Roy always prided himself on being the best. He had such a high opinion of his abilities that he often spoke of himself in the third person, as if he was admiring himself from afar.

Roy Jones was unable to pick himself up off the canvas in the ring. That happens to many fighters. But for me, the question is “Can Roy Jones pick himself up off the canvas of life? Can he move on from this? Can he look back and say, “I had a nice run. I made a lot of money. I did my best. Now it’s time to move on?” Here’s hoping that he can.

Article posted on 04.10.2004

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