“No weapon formed against you shall prosper and every tongue which rises against you in judgment
you shall condemn…” – Isaiah 54:17
On August 26th, 2017, faced by Ireland’s Conor McGregor, Floyd Mayweather fought in what some are calling one of the greatest fights of his career. Challenged after the seemingly flawless career of 49 wins and 0 losses, Mayweather had nothing to prove. Mayweather accepted the challenge and was met immediately with one of the biggest promotional smears of disrespect by his opponent ever known to man. The Irishman assaulted his looks, his character, his ability, his race, and his personal life. For the most part, Mayweather said nothing. As the story would have it, the Irishman bantered Mayweather right up to the very second of battle. But then everything changed.
There are so many lessons that can be learned from this dynamic match. The first lesson is how to lose. One of the great presidents in American history, Theodore Roosevelt, said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” McGregor didn’t get the message. He mastered a different style and technique of fighting and figured that since he was a master there, he was fit to defeat in all areas. You must know who your opponent is. You must never underestimate the power of what you have not mastered. The Irishman placed so much focus and attention on his opponent that he forgot to properly train. Statistics from the fight show that he only landed 111 of the 430 punches that he threw. As embarrassing as this sounds, we must remember that the Bible declares “Warning comes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18) The moment that you think you know everything, have conquered everything, and are better than others is the moment that you set yourself up for failure. When your focus is your opponent only and not your ego, you have already lost before getting in the ring. When we learn that our greatest opponent is always and only ourselves, we become mature. Maturity tells us that we are only as great as our last victory and that is what we are truly up against.
Then, there is Mayweather. I have not personally followed the career of this boxer, but his stats are impressive to anyone, be they a friend or foe. How is it that this young man has never been defeated? The answer is simple. There are obvious tell-tale signs to the character of a winner. First of all, they believe in themselves. It’s a sad dog that won’t wag its own tail. There’s a grave difference between arrogance and confidence. But the fact is, Mayweather believes in himself. He believes it so much that it is all he speaks about. He believes it so much that he only surrounds himself with others who believe in him. His trainers, coaches, dietitians, spar partners, etc., all have one goal in mind. For them, failure is not an option. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7) While the conversation of arrogance is one that can be debated as it concerns the champion, the truth is that people lie, numbers don’t.
Perhaps you’re facing an opponent. Perhaps there are people who feel that you are too arrogant, too proud, or too invested in success. If you should find yourself on the opposite end of disrespect, chiding, and challenge, it is not the time to speak. Actions will always speak louder than words ever could. Believe in yourself and who God made you to be without apology. There are many who will confuse your stance, and there are even more who will try to destroy it. Silently prepare for the win, so that their public dishonor becomes your public victory. Smile like Mayweather!