By: Hans Themistode
No matter how much we try to avoid it, defeat is inevitable. It’s a painful feeling. Whether it’s a game of ping pong, basketball, video games or in this case boxing, it is a feeling that no one wants to go through. As much as we hate it, defeat is necessary. It allows us all to become better.
Could Floyd Mayweather have gone on to have a career that consisted of 50 wins without a single defeat had he won gold in the olympics? The bronze medal he brung home fueled him to never lose again. How about Muhammad Ali? His losses to Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and Leon Spinks allowed him to dig deep and prove that when he gets knocked down, he can just as easily get back up.
When former unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua lost his titles to Andy Ruiz via seventh round stoppage, it was completely jaw dropping. Immediately following the fight, Joshua said all of the right things.
“No excuses,” said Joshua during his post fight interview. “The better man won, this is Andy’s night. I simply got beat.”
Humility and poise are the traits that Joshua showed that night. It may have been devastating to lose in his debut across the pond but he showed great character in admitting his defeat and taking nothing away from his opponent. Like the other great champions that came before him, Joshua seemed destined to learn from his defeat and place the loss on his own shoulders.
Now that the rematch between Ruiz and Joshua has officially been signed and set for December 7th in Saudi Arabia, the former champion is now singing a completely different tune.
“It was a punch from the Gods,” said Joshua when describing the blow that began his downward spiral in their first encounter. “Andy is the same person. He will come game and I’ve got to change some of my bibs and bobs.”
To Joshua, that famed punch which came in the third round, was something that should have never connected in the first place. It isn’t just that single punch which Joshua believe was some what lucky, but he also believes that the referee didn’t quite give him a fair shake.
“So, the mouthpiece comes out, you go to the corner,” Joshua explained before a press conference in Manhattan to promote their rematch December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. “You know, I think the referee had already done his [eight] count. So, I’m in the corner now and then they put the mouthguard in. Or you rinse it, and they say, ‘Are you ready to fight?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ So, before my mouthpiece was even in my mouth, he had called off the fight. So, I’m like looking at him. ‘You haven’t even put my mouthpiece in? What you want me to do? Yeah, I’m ready,’ and walk out without my mouthpiece in. So, me and him had a miscommunication.”
Let’s not take anything away from Joshua. He has proven to be a great fighter thoroughout his career. He has also proven that he can deal with adversity and rise from it.
With that being said however, things feel a little bit different don’t they? ‘A punch from the Gods,” and “miscommunication” with the referee might all be true but in order for him to win this rematch he must look himself in the mirror, because if he doesn’t, he could be headed toward yet another defeat.