Here’s how real men should fight

A man needs challenges – and formidable challengers – that will force him to drill deeper into his reservoir and skillsets.

Photo credit: Igah

I love the sweet science. That’s boxing for those not in the know. I have gleaned many life lessons from the sweet science.

Several weeks, Terence “Bud” Crawford proved that he is the undisputed pound-for-pound fighter after outclassing Errol “The Truth” Spence. Like all big -ticket matchups, this welterweight fight was preceded by the usual show of trash-talk and bravado from both camps.

But, in the end, it was Spence who was caught in Crawford’s net and forced to eat humble pie.

Grown men walk the talk

I remember this incident in the mid-90s along the road that’s now called Sonko Road in Nairobi. It connects Rabai Road to Buru Buru shopping centre. Back then, it was a dirt road.

We were going to Buru with my pal, Emmy. Not too far ahead were boxers from the national team going to Wab Hotel, where they were staying during their training camp.

“We don’t fear you, guys,” Emmy shouted at the boxers.

“What are you doing, man,” I hissed at Emmy.

The boxers stopped and stared at us. There was no going back. My heart beating faster than isikuti drums.

We had thrown down the gauntlet. There was no turning back now.

Emmy and I kept walking toward the boxers. I think they were wondering who we were. Our ‘hood had a bad boy rep.

Fortunately, they spared our jaws from reconstruction without anaesthesia. I think their response had something to do with their discipline. They didn’t want to waste haymakers on big-mouth nobodies.

A grown man puts his money where his mouth is. That’s what Crawford and Spence did after the feverish pre-fight callouts.

Grown men don’t make excuses

After the fight, some commentators opined that the fight would have turned differently if, for instance, Spence was not involved in a car crash last December, where he hurt his leg. Or if he had not been weight drained.

Speaking after the fight, Spence did not make any excuses. He knew he was beaten by a better man. He gave Crawford the props.

In the game of life, we will win some and lose others. If we are on the losing end, we should take it as a learning curve. But learning can only happen if we don’t make any excuses. Grown men win gracefully.

After emerging victorious, a grown man doesn’t rub it in his opponent’s beaten face. You don’t kick a man when he’s down.

“I appreciate you,” Crawford hugged Spence inside the ring. “If it wasn’t for you, this would never have happened. You’re a hell of a fighter. You already know that. I appreciate the opportunity.”

You could tell from Crawford’s demeanour that he meant every word. He was not saying this just for the sake of it.

Iron sharpens iron

It was against Spence that Crawford put up his best show ever. He did things people knew he could, but he just did them better. Spence forced Crawford to turn on his A-game.

This just goes to show that it takes a better man to make another man rise to the occasion. No doubt, Crawford is one of the smartest fighters of this generation. We can’t take that away from him. But Spence forced Crawford to bring another beast. A beast that boxing buffs knew Crawford had.

In the game of life, there are levels and dimensions. Some men go through their entire lives coasting laterally from level to level. At some point, a level can be a comfort zone.

To go from a level to a dimension, a man needs challenges – and formidable challengers – that will force him to drill deeper into his reservoir and skillsets. Some men know what’s in their reservoir. Others don’t have a clue.