Thursday, February 19, 2009

Learn When to Hang 'Em Up

Appears that Roy Jones and Erik Morales haven't learned the lessons of so many boxers in the past that went one fight too many. Boxers, as other athletes, have physical limitations that affect their reflexes, endurance, and neurology. Adding to these limitations, boxers, unlike other athletes, generally are limited in the amount of mentoring and life coaching they receive during and after their careers.

Roy Jones and Erik Morales no longer have what it takes, physically, to succeed at their profession and will put at risk their short and long-term health. Their reflexes, Jones more notably, are nowhere near what they used to be and are, in fact, mediocre at best. Jones' success was based primarily on his reflexes, while Morales' weight division requires reflexes just to compete. Both boxers' endurance no longer exists at a championship level. Sure, both can finish a fight, and probably even start off strong, but they both lack the endurance that Father Time and years of being pounded on, both in the ring and sparring, has taken. With their lack of reflexes and endurance they will both get hurt in their next fights, if not in the short term, definitely in the long term --resulting in slurred speech, memory loss, and other physical disabilities. George Foreman, unfortunately, was the exception and not the rule.

Does Jones and Morales lack the type of mentoring and life coaching that so many other types of athletes receive? Boxers, not having a national organization, do not always have financial and after-career mentoring as many other athletes. So many boxers --top level-- have retired and died broke. Sugar Ray Robinson comes first to mind. Hopefully, Jones and Morales are not suffering economically and understand there are other ventures that they can put their heart and time into.

So why do so many boxers compete when they should retire? Is it money, fame, identity or some other factor? What a shame it would be to learn that Roy Jones and Erik Morales have run out of money, either through bad investments, bad spending, or thievery by one of their sycophants. And one can only imagine what it feels like to walk into a ring with thousands cheering their name and rooting for them to win. And what a shame it would be for Jones and Morales to see themselves only as boxers and not as the gifted people that they are --people with heart, discipline, and love for a sport that they can contribute to in so many other ways.

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