In less than a month, the 15 year anniversary of the greatest round in boxing history - round 9 of the first of three fights between Arturo Gatti & Micky Ward - will take place. This round, the second-to-last that took place on a cool spring night at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, is not just one that should be used as an example of perseverance and toughness to up-and-coming prize fighters, but to anyone who is looking to learn how to come back from seeming insurmountable odds.
Shortly into the round, Gatti received a body blow that would take him down not just to one knee, but leave him wincing in pain. Ward thought it was over, the announcers thought it was finished, the crowd was beginning to leave their seats. Gatti however, persisted.
Upon returning to his feet, Ward unleashed 31 [that’s right 31] blows to the head of Gatti. However, much like George Foreman in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle,” Ward began to punch himself out of energy. Gatti, seemingly un-phased, began to return the favor to Ward, releasing devastating blow after devastating blow, keeping the crowd from leaving and the announcers in shock.
With one minute to go in the round, now Gatti looked exhausted. As blood gushed from the right eye of Ward, he had survived the barrage of punches from Gatti, and began to take over. With announcer George Foreman screaming “go to the body,” Ward railed on the face of Gatti, who at this point, couldn’t see due to the amount of severe hits.
And [as you probably guessed] with just a few seconds remaining, Gatti then came back. The bell rang, the men returned to their corners and boxing history was set.
What does this story teach us about perseverance and persistence?
First, DON’T STOP FIGHTING: Gatti could have stopped after being knocked down, but he didn’t. He probably wanted to. So did his trainers. You maybe down, you want to stop. But the last thing you want to do is not get up when you are down and look back wandering on what might have been.
Second, BE AWARE. Know that you can come back. Nothing is over until it is over. And the awareness to know what situation you are in, how you can, right in that moment, deal with the challenge that is right in front of you is going to be the difference between you getting up and staying down.
Third, LIVE ONE MOMENT AT A TIME. When things begin to get tough, the last thing you should do is think ‘oh man, this is hard, I got knocked down, I suck.’ Thinking that you suck is not worth the time that is spent. However, giving your best effort to the very next rep, next question, or next challenge is the best thing for you.
We admire people throughout history to overcome great challenges. Whether it is King overcoming racism, Jordan overcoming the flu, or two boxers attempting to overcome each other. Those are the people that we look up to. We all at times dream of being someone we are not or someone we have not become yet. Whether it is wanting to have the ball with time running out or coming to the plate when it matters. Why be someone else? Just be in the moment and keep fighting - and maybe one day someone will be writing an article about you 15 years later after you did something great.