I love boxing. I don’t know why but there’s something in this sport that really makes me patronize it. Probably, the science behind it, or when your favorite boxer KOs their opponent.

I was 11 years old when I was hooked to the sport. It was when I watched then Filipino champion Luisito Espinosa take on Manuel Medina and really just became fascinated about how boxers do their thing.

I started training 10 years after and was about to compete for the amateurs when my then girlfriend, now my wife, talked me out of it. Everyday, I usually start my day reading boxing articles and every weekend I’m on the lookout for televised fights.

After 20 years of patronizing boxing and even training, what have I really learned?

There’s no shortcut to success – you have to really work hard for you to achieve your goals – may it be to lose weight, compete in the amateurs, self-defense or win a belt. You have to show up every day, prepare and train for a fight. Just like in life, there’s no shortcut, you start at the bottom, work your way up, sacrifice time so you can achieve what you really want.

You will get hurt, it’s up to you how bad – If you know how to defend in boxing, you will get hurt less. It’s not that you won’t get hurt, boxing is a hurt game. You will get bruised, cut and knocked out but the harder you prepare and train, the less you get hurt, and you may even win. You take risks from time to time so you can get that one punch in that may end the fight. Life is a hurt game too! You will fall, stumble, get hurt, heartbroken, get fat but it’s up to you how bad! You have the power to defend, move around, take the loss and wins as a learning experience and if you work hard enough, at some point you will definitely win!

It’s hard to stay at the top – If you become a champion, there will always be challengers for that belt. You have to defend it, if you win that’s great, if you lose, try to do a re-match, if you still lose, move on. We keep on pushing to the top, but once we are there, do we know what to do after we reach it? When you are at the top, you have to defend the position, you need to keep the fire burning, you need to face challenges, you need to maintain it. But you know what’s important after all is said and done, you need to know when to go down.

You can always retire and move on – Like any other sport, you can always hang up your gloves. May it be because you have nothing to prove, you keep on losing, your health is at stake or you’re just too old to be playing the game. Whatever the reason is, just like in life, you can always retire and move on. Retire doesn’t mean you stop everything, retire means, you stop a phase in your life and create a new one.

What’s my point? Boxing, like life, is a hurt game. It’s impossible to not get hurt. Remember that you have the power to defend, rest, punch back or even retire. Just be sure that on fight night, you are prepared and trained as hard as you can because one punch has the power to change it all. The question is, is it your punch or your opponent’s?