In what many many were calling "the boxing match of the year," Floyd "Money" Mayweather prevailed over Victor Ortiz. But not without some controversy.
After suffering through three rounds of jabs and punches from Mayweather, Ortiz grew frustrated and intentionally headbutted Mayweather. When the referee separated them, Ortiz took a moment to regain composure, recognize his mistake and apologize for his actions. He showed his remorse in a somewhat unorthodox fashion: by hugging and kissing Mayweather. When the referee ordered them to resume the match, Ortiz attempted to hug Mayweather again, in an effort to emphasize his sincerity. Yet, this time, Mayweather landed two quick sucker punches which sent Ortiz tumbling to the floor. While Mayweather won the match, he didn't win any points for sportsmanship.
However, what he said after the fight proved to be very insightful and provides us with an important life lesson. Reflecting on the sucker punch, Mayweather said, "In the ring, you have to protect yourself at all times. ... After it happened, we touched gloves and we were back to fighting and then I threw the left hook and right hand after the break. You just gotta protect yourself at all times."
While I don't condone the unsportsmanlike conduct of Mayweather and Ortiz, and while I truly dislike Mayweather's haughtiness and arrogance, he was right. Ortiz should have been "on guard" and better prepared for those sucker punches. It is a cardinal sin to allow an opponent to exploit you when he is looking "for blood." Moreover, how could Mayweather have been assured that Ortiz wouldn't try to repeat his illegal antics by doing something far worse than a head butt? Perhaps he knew what King Solomon wrote in proverbs, "Faithful are the wounds inflicted by a lover; but superfluous are the kisses of a foe."
At every turn on our journey, life presents us with challenges that require us to keep our guard up. We must exercise caution when speaking to friends, family and acquaintances because we never know how the conversation will be related to the next person. We must be selective with those in whom we place our trust for we may end up feeling deeply hurt and alienated. Furthermore, we must always be meticulous in preparing for any lecture or presentation that we give, so that we are able to anticipate and answer any questions or concerns that others may have.
In the middle of a boxing match it is inappropriate and inexcusable to let one's guard down because the opponent is looking for the opportunity to land a debilitating blow. One must always keep his guard up in the ring. However, in different scenarios the variables change, and one's attitude and response may need to be different. When developing a healthy relationship with a friend or, more importantly, a spouse, one must let his or her guard down. Strong and vibrant relationships are based on the giving and receiving of emotional support. It is nearly impossible to maintain a healthy relationship without connecting emotionally and supporting each other's feelings.
Learning when to keep our guard up and when to let it down is one of the most difficult skills to perfect. Again, King Solomon provides us with his profound insight and wisdom, this time in Ecclesiastes: "One who watches the wind will never sow, and one who keeps his eyes on the clouds will never reap." If we are so busy keeping our guard up to determine the best time to plant based on the direction of the wind, then we will never end up sowing our field. Conversely, if we keep our eyes on the clouds and disregard the produce that is ready to be harvested -- if we get distracted and let our guard down -- then we will forget to reap the produce for which we spent countless hours sowing.
One need only look at the mess in Washington, D. C. to realize that even our political leaders haven't learned this lesson. Despite the fact that our nation is in crisis, our political leadership refuses to let its guard down long enough to abandon political posturing and to find a compromise that will improve our economic problems. Simply put, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are willing to trust each other enough to propose realistic but unpopular options to our nation's ills. Both sides are too busy worrying that they will be bludgeoned politically if they suggest unpopular but necessary solutions, and as a result the country is paralyzed by this political stalemate.
In life, it is crucial to know when to let your guard down and when to remain on alert. Ortiz let his guard down when it needed to be up and suffered a stinging defeat as a result. The future of our nation, however, is not akin to a boxing match. I hope that our nation's leaders will have the courage to let their guards down and trust each other enough to come up with real solutions to our economic woes, even if it costs them the next election.