I began writing this post while everyone (including me) was celebrating Manny Pacquiao’s win over Miguel Cotto and talking about nothing else but his past and recent victories. Being the first boxer in history to win seven world titles in seven different weight divisions, Manny is now considered by many as one of the world’s greatest boxers of all time.
Manny is, no doubt, a great boxer. But let us not forget that the “Fighting Pride of the Philippines” also lost three fights. And two these defeats were by knockout and one by decision. And this should make pause and pose this question: what if Manny surrendered and gave up when was knocked out and never fought again? He would never have become the world champion that he is now! The way Manny handled his failures is something we all can learn from.
Lesson 1: Even the greatest of fighters experiences defeats
While it is now hard to imagine that the “People’s Champ” indeed was knocked out two times in his professional boxing career, it is true. Plain and simple. Manny’s first knockout was by a fellow Filipino boxer, Rustico Torrecampo, in 1996. Torrecampo knocked out Pac-Man in the third round. His second knock out was courtesy of Medgoen Singsurat of Thailand in 1999. Again, Manny was knocked out in the third round. His third loss was to Érik Morales of Mexico in 2005, by way of unanimous decision.
Nobody goes undefeated all the time. This is just a fact of life. Something we need to accept in order not to make failure a source of discouragement but rather as a motivation to make another attempt at winning. The worst of all failures is not to try again.
Lesson 2: Learn from your defeats and work hard to win the next fight
If becoming a Pound for Pound King were easy, every boxer would be wearing a WBC Diamond Belt by now. But it is not. It takes hard work, relentless faith, and the determination to move on despite the many failures one has to face along the way. The mark of a real champion is not the ability to avoid defeat but the skilfulness to learn from failure, the resourcefulness to improve oneself and the single-minded commitment to win the next fight.
Lesson 3: Always remember to thank God – both for the defeats and the victories
Manny prays before, during and immediately after each fight. Manny’s faith is a testament to the world that he does not attribute his success solely to his own physical prowess but to God, the source of all power and grace. More than anything else, this makes Manny humble. During his televised post-game chat with Brian Kenny, Manny said “I would like to thank God for the blessings that He gave me”. Because Manny sees the Divine hand at work in his life, he lives a life in gratitude.
I was not surprised to see how peaceful Manny felt after winning the Diamond Belt. There is a calmness to a life lived in humility and gratitude. And to all of us who aspire to be “champions” in our own little way, let us not forget to put God at the center of it all. Both the defeats that we face and the small and big victories that we enjoy should all makes us humble and thankful.
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/radzworx/3234358810/