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Fighting Life

Success requires preparation, higher education

By Rodney Woodson, editor-in-chief
On February 27, 2013

  • Thunderous entrance — Macbeth (center), portrayed by drama major Peter Temple, enters the stage with his supporting cast for the Oct. 29 performance of “Macbeth” at the Knox Center. Erik Verduzco / The Advocate

Boxing is one of the only sports that a person does not "play." Athletes play basketball, football and soccer - but they do not "play" boxing.
It is a sport that one just does.
It may be violent and sometimes even brutal, but the sport of boxing is similar to life itself. As with boxing, a person does not "play" life, people just live.
 People live once, so essentially we are alone. In boxing, a combatant is in the ring by his or herself.
The ring is the world we live in and our opponent is life.
But what will make a person a better fighter? In the ring one needs character, heart, intelligence, perseverance and skill - much like people do living in the world. In the U.S. success is closely related to wealth and higher education. Necessities cost dollars, which makes money the ultimate necessity.
According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), U.S. citizens ages 25-34 who have a master's degree or higher earn roughly $10,000 more annually than those who have only a bachelor's degree.
The gap between one who earns a bachelor's degree and an associate degree is about the same - a $10,000 difference annually.
The study also shows that annual incomes of people are achieved in accordance to the levels of education they have completed.  From 1995-2010 these statistics have virtually stayed the same with people who have less than a high school education at the bottom of the earnings ladder - bringing home around $21,000 a year.
Education is a necessity, which itself requires money. The annual cost of tuition, room and board for all institutions of higher education rose from an annual average of $7,000 in 1980 to $18,000 in 2011. During this span the annual cost went up every year.
With the price of education steadily rising it becomes more and more important that money be in place for younger generations to attend institutions of higher education. This is where preparation comes into the equation.
The NCES reports that high school seniors with definite plans of graduating from a four-year college correlates with the students' parents' highest educational level completed.
In 2010, 46 percent of 12th graders in the U.S. whose parents had completed only high school planned to graduate from college. Sixty-six percent of high school seniors who had parents who earned a bachelor's degree planned to go to college, and 78 percent planned to go to college who had parents who earned a graduate or professional degree after receiving their bachelor's.
In the years 1990 and 2000 the same study was conducted and the raw numbers of students going on to college for these decades are fewer than those of 2010. However, the disparities in percentages remained about the same.
Is it all because of money, or is it because planning to go to college is less of a plan and more of a tradition in some families?
Professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is currently undefeated as a pro and is arguably the best in the business. He has been involved with the sport since he was a young child.
In Mayweather Jr.'s early professional career his father, Floyd Mayweather Sr. trained him and presently his uncle, Roger "The Black Mamba" Mayweather, sits in his corner. Is it a coincidence that he is as good as he is and his father and uncle were both professional fighters? Not at all.
If success in this world requires education then it is a major boost in life if one has parents, or someone else close to the family, in his or her corner who has a few educational bouts under their belt.
The NCES also reported that 62 percent of low-income students worked at least 15 hours per week in high school compared to 44 percent of high-income students.  
 It may be tough to attend college for some because of finances, but consider a  family where for generations no one progresses financially or educationally.
Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, so in that sense, if a family's history is marred with stagnancy or failure there must come a change in preparation or execution to progress.
There will be times, whether a person is more or less prepared for life, when situations will get tough.
Yes, preparation is very important in order for one to achieve success in the squared circle, but it all boils down to the individual in the end.
We all, at some point must enter the ring - it is those who battle back against the punches that life deals who ultimately achieve success. It is the individual who can take a punch, remain standing and throw one back who will achieve his or her goals.
The individual who takes a shot, is knocked down and rises up will persevere and those who cannot stand up to the life the world has given them may fall short of finishing the bout.
According to, James "Buster" Douglas was a 42-1 underdog against Mike Tyson in 1990. He stood up to the challenge of fighting the undefeated knockout artist and earned a KO for himself.
Some may enter battles as a favorite depending on fight history and preparation. Those who are better prepared more often than not have successful boxing careers. But every now and then there comes an underdog who rises above obstacles to become a champion.

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