Everyone, at some point, has faced or will face trying moments in life. This truth is inescapable. What matters most during such difficult times is we learn from them and continue on our journey. As painful as it may be, we must remember to not allow our plight to prevent us from future progress.
When those moments arrive, many people criticize and disregard us. The very same people who once rooted for us now disapprove. The ones who were our number-one supporters now devalue us because we are no longer "on the top."
But when we get to this point, we must look within and ask ourselves if whatever we are pursuing is worth the battle. If our answer is no, we should cease our pursuit and began in a different direction. However, if what we are pursuing is worth the battle, we must get up, learn from our mistakes, and continue.
Zab Judah showed us a great example of this. He returned to the ring on July 16th at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ and scored a TKO victory over Jose Armando Santa Cruz.
Within the first two rounds, Judah sized up Santa Cruz and timed him brilliantly. If there was a question of ring-rust on the part of Judah, his movement against Santa Cruz loudly answered that question.
Not only was Judah stepping back and moving off to the side, but he also began stepping inside Santa Cruz' looping punches. As he stepped inside of those punches, he was slowly setting up an opportunity to land a devastating blow.
Judah strategically turned Santa Cruz' own attack against him. Every barrage of punches Santa Cruz attempted was broken up by Judah's attack. And in the third round, Santa Cruz gave Judah another opportunity by throwing an additional wide, looping punch.
Judah stepped inside again and landed a beautiful left uppercut right on the point of Santa Cruz' chin that dropped him to the canvas. Santa Cruz begged for more by beating the Ref's count. Judah rushed in to finish him off and landed a few more power shots until Referee Benjy Estevez stopped the bout at two minutes and thirty-three seconds of round three.
Zab Judah's example was not simply his defeat of Santa Cruz. His example was the transformation he underwent prior to entering the ring and his climactic transformation at the end of the bout.
His example was the ability to rise from his trials and tribulations. Whether everything we heard or read about Judah was true or false, he admitted to making mistakes and bad decisions.
Judah, like all of us, has made mistakes and has gone through trying times.
Judah, like all of us, has been criticized and disregarded by people who were once his number-one supporters.
Judah, like all of us, came to a point where he had to determine he would not give up.
Moreover, he had to learn from his mistakes and continue pursuing his passion. As the new Judah stated, "...that was the old Zab Judah. I've made sure I'm doing things the right way. I've been through my trials and tribulations and I've learned from it...Now I'm back, the sky is the limit."
We don't know if his transformation began at church or at home. Maybe his transformation began in the gym or in the street. What we do know, however, is that the ultimate transformation took place in the sanctuary of the squared circle. And his transformation climaxed when he landed that beautifully timed uppercut on Santa Cruz' chin.
However, Zab did not throw his fist for Santa Cruz alone. His fist was for all his critics who said he was washed up. His fist was for all his fans who had turned their back on him. His fist was for all the boxing experts who said he would never return to the ring. And ultimately, his blow was to the old Zab Judah.
And with that final blow to all his enemies, his transformation was complete. The left uppercut was a rising punch symbolizing the upward direction of Zab's new life. And with this punch, all the glow and the flare Judah once possessed, was immediately renewed.