Life in the Ring

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  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-09-29
  • Publisher: Hatherleigh Press
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There is no sport more unforgiving than boxing. Boxing represents the best of who we are as individuals. Those who have participated in the sport, at any level, can use the lessons they have learned in all aspects of their lives, including business and politics, as there are many parallels to life and boxing. People observing the sport can draw on the lessons that it teaches in all phases of their lives. Life in the Ringgathers the wisdom and lore of the "sweet science" of boxing and organizes them into a single volume that is historical, literary and inspirational. From the anecdotal (Did heavyweight champion Robert Fitzsimmons really quip, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall?") to the well-documented (many heavyweight champions wrote or ghosted books on boxing training and technique),Life in the Ringculls from the long and fabled literature of pugilism--Jack Dempsey on perseverance, John L. Sullivan on sizing up your opponent, Joe Louis on handling others' expectations:Life in the Ringis an invaluable compendium of the life lessons offered by this most exacting of sports.

Author Biography

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John E. Oden is a principal and eighteen-year veteran of a global money management and research firm, as well as an author and avid boxing fan.  His first book, White Collar Boxing, was published in 2005.  As a white collar boxer himself, Oden competed in twenty fights over thirteen years from 1992-2004.  As a strong supporter of the sport of boxing, he was instrumental in starting the first-ever boxing program in the public school system of New York City.  Born in Pecos, Texas, he graduated from the University of Texas and now lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Introductionp. xii
Courage and Confidencep. 3
Great Opponents Make Great Championsp. 21
Challenging Yourselfp. 39
The Quality of Being Toughp. 53
Reinventing Yourself and Making a Comebackp. 65
Overcoming Obstacles / Persistence and Determinationp. 79
Winning Without Shortcutsp. 93
Making Fear Your Friendp. 107
Overcoming Painp. 119
Discipline and Preparationp. 131
Maintaining Dignity Through Winning and Losingp. 143
The Championship Round Giving Backp. 161
A Final Wordp. 173
Rules of Boxing and Weight Classesp. 174
Boxing Glossaryp. 177
Notesp. 195
Selected Bibliographyp. 202
Indexp. 205
Words of Gratitudep. 209
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


From the Introduction...

I have always believed that boxing is a metaphor for life.

In this book you will discover the stories of 15 extraordinary men from all walks of life, from different times and different backgrounds. These men chose boxing as their vocation. Each one brought his own unique contribution to the sport. Their stories are profound and no two are alike.

You will read of their hardship, struggle, defeat, comeback, and victory. They capture the very essence of the human experience. When a truly competitive boxing match is performed by skilled fighters, there is also a beauty, grace, and athletic excellence which cannot be duplicated in any other sport. And it is that combination of elements which grabs the imagination.

In boxing there are no words, only actions. And behind the action in a boxing ring are many of the human emotions and complications that one might encounter in life–preparation, concentration, purposefulness, goal setting, challenges, pain, perseverance, and a host of anxieties and fears.

There is an aloneness to boxing that is unique in sports. Indeed, when facing an opponent one-on-one, there is only you . . . and him. All the training, all the experience, all the emotions, come with you out of the corner. But there is no team, no ball, no bat, no racquet, no protective shoulder pads for someone to hide behind. And like a gladiatorial contest, it is done until one of the participants or the other cannot go on, either by knockout or stoppage, or when the winner or loser is declared by the judges at the end of the fight.

At its core, boxing is a sport of self-actualization, a means to discover truths about oneself which could not be learned in any other place quite so effectively. In boxing, mental agility and toughness are as equally important as physical strength and ability. Bruce Silverglade, owner of the famous Gleason’s Gym in New York City and the “godfather of white collar boxing” maintains that “the only person who can make a champ is the person himself . . . not the trainer, the manager, or anyone else. Boxing is 50 percent mental, 40 percent conditioning, and 10 percent ability.” The keys to the sport are commitment and focus. And these come with pain, long hours of preparation, and continued sacrifice. And then comes the day of judgment, the moment of truth–either a boxer wins or loses when he or she climbs between the ropes.

Boxing is ingrained in our culture, and evidence to this effect is everywhere: references to boxing constantly pop up in the lives we lead, and people make analogies to boxing without even realizing it. Nomenclature like “knockout punch,” “came out swinging,” “took some hard shots,” “down for the count,” and “main event,” are all references to elements of boxing in the society in which we live that make the parallels between life and boxing clear.

In the words of Joyce Carol Oates, “Life is real and painful, and steeped in ambiguity: in the boxing ring there is either/or. Either you win or you lose.” “Boxing’s dark fascination is as much with failure, and the courage to forbear failure, as it is with triumph. Two men climb into a ring from which, in symbolic terms, only one climbs out.” Indeed, how we handle losing, or winning, can define us in life.

And the last words of caution spoken by the referee to the boxers before the fight begins “protect yourself at all times,” is a symbolic caution of what must be done to survive not only in the ring, but in life on a daily basis. From the working world to our own personal lives, one thing is certain: there will come a time when we will have to enter the ring, alone, and face our moment. We can choose to bring heart, character and determination. We can decide to accept that the only result will be victory. And

Excerpted from Life in the Ring: Lessons and Inspiration from the Sport of Boxing by John Oden
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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