The Champ is Here – Ben Partain

-Boxing is in my DNA. My brother Tommy boxed in a Golden Gloves tournament and also at the Butler Street YMCA in Atlanta for 3 years. He and I met Muhammad Ali in 1974 at a benefit in Atlanta, Ga as well.  Ali was a massive man as big around as a whiskey barrel but also had a heart of gold and truly was the greatest. I identify with all of the great champions in all of the various weight classes, we all have something in common: When we got knocked down we got back up unless we were unconscious.

Who doesn’t remember the exploits of Ali? How about Joe Louis or Rocky Marciano? They all were training maniacs but they also shared something innate that couldn’t be taught, they had the trait of never giving up. We’re all often defeated it’s how we deal with our failures that define us, what gives us class, character, and integrity is what we say and do when we win. The surest way to be a winner and stay one is to never quit…EVER. All the great ones resisted defeat because after all fatigue makes cowards of us all but the lesson I learned after so many health problems and personal setbacks is stay in the game, change your strategy compensate for whatever health problem you’re dealt and do it a new way.

Ali almost always got up, Marciano was undefeated, and so is Mayweather. They were all driven by an intense desire to never give up and push through the pain of their vocation; we should take note and learn a lesson. The late great basketball coach Jim Valvano, battling end stage cancer, said in his stirring final speech “Never give up”. He was near death and sick, weak and frail but still inspired us with his words even to the end. So when you feel sorry for yourself and find it easy to give up or give in just don’t do it, fight. Work out a marital issue, give a job one more chance, give your best effort and run the race well, you’ll be so satisfied and you’ll be amazed at the rewards you receive in so many ways.

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