Advertisement
Advertisement

Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero: Religion and May 4th

by Cliff Rold

One can only imagine the scene if there had been cameras and microphones in, approximately, 1000 BC. 

“I’d like to thank God for allowing me to find just the right pebble.  I knew Goliath was going to be a tough task, but when God is with you, can’t nobody be against you.”

Etc.

There is plenty of religion in the air right now.  It is time for celebrations of Passover and Easter.  They are juxtaposed with U.S. Supreme Court cases confronting questions about the construct of marriage that pit distinctly secular arguments against the dominant legal status quo and outright points of faith.     

In sports, religion is present every day of the year.  It isn’t always a focus in the games and contests viewers enjoy, but for many of the competitors it is at the core of what they do.  It is also a steady source of conversation and debate among viewers who carry a variety of takes about the marriage of sport and spirituality. 

This week, imminent Welterweight title challenger Robert Guerrero appeared on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club.  He also, at a press conference, stated that he believed God had put him in position to “humble” Welterweight Champion Floyd Mayweather. 

Mayweather won’t have to fight God on May 4th.  To Guerrero, God will surely be in the ring.  His family story, his wife’s cancer survival, are the sorts of things that can fortify devoutness in believers.

There are some who will embrace Guerrero’s overt religious display and others who will be offended by it.  The right or wrong of this sort of invocation of faith are not the point here.   

That it occurred, that it seems so woven into the fabric of primal competitions and combats, is unmistakable.  The most graphic displays are often in wars where even secular combats become imbued with religious overtones.  Norse mythology told of valkyries, women who would select of the greatest slain warriors and deliver them to their rewards.  The Abrahamic faiths have been invoked in countless struggles over the centuries.     

In sport, the stakes are less but that doesn’t make the displays inherently subtler.  Sometimes it can be the opposite.  Every competitor doesn’t participate, or care.  Enough do.  There appears no divorcing faith and competition.

Modern athletic calls to God, whether they be in the NFL during Ray Lewis’s recent retirement tour, or in the boxing ring with Ferdie Pacheco trying to get Evander Holyfield to comment on the actual fight after upsetting Mike Tyson in 1996, are nothing new. 

They weren’t new at the time of David either.  The ancient Greeks made a formal affair of it.  The initial Olympic Games were held in honor of the Gods.  In our world, God is regularly invited onto the field of play, prominently, in football and boxing. 

There is hardly a football game, from Pop Warner to the Pro Bowl, that doesn’t have a mass of praying players assembled before and after games.  Even with someone as outspoken as Lewis, the religious factor can be somewhat contained in football.  While displays can be seen on camera, interviews on the field after games are not consistently reverential.  It depends on the player. 

The same is less true in boxing.  Watch more than one fight in a given weekend with a post-fight interview. Chances of hearing even a brief thanks to a deity, typically Christian, are high.   

It’s impossible to mistake the irony of two men attempting to concuss one another followed by the more successful of the two taking a moment of worship.  It’s also easy to see the draw.  Boxing is dangerous. 

While most of those who watch it put it out of their mind, it’s always there.

Anytime two men step into the squared circle, there is a chance one of them will beat the other to death with his fists. 

It’s easy to see how the threat of death has a way of making one think about a maker. Those thoughts might be deep for some and superficial for others.  The same could be said of their proclamations.  It’s still simple to understand where the connection is coming from.

Holyfield was his era’s most outspoken when it came to religion.  Infused with politics as well as faith, Muhammad Ali was just as overtly religious in his day.  It’s impossible to disregard their faiths as integral to who they were as athletes.  

In the case of an athlete like Guerrero, blessed in his own life by his wife’s victory over cancer, exposure to the threat comes in two directions.  There is also the fear of just plain old defeat.  Mayweather is a tough out, a puzzle no one else in this generation has solved.  It’s a cliché fused with truth: the mental aspect of sport is often as critical as the physical.  Drawing on faith as part of the reservoir for preparation may be as important to Guerrero’s chances as doing his roadwork.

In that sense, it doesn’t matter whether or not his God really wants Guerrero to humble Mayweather.  What matters for Guerrero is that he thinks it is the case.  Even with his faith, the odds say Guerrero will lose. 

But he might not be able to win without it.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by #YOLO on 03-30-2013

Robert better pray he can bring that gun to the fight.

Comment by liuj88 on 03-30-2013

[QUOTE=boliodogs;13188450]Why would God care who wins a boxing match? Guerrero said God put him in this fight to humble Floyd. If he loses does that mean God put him in this position to get humbled himself? I am glad his…

Comment by crold1 on 03-28-2013

[QUOTE=SlimTim;13187943]What point are you trying to make with this article Rold?[/QUOTE] I'm just sort of fascinated by the mental aspects of sport sometimes, and the facility religion provides towards that end. Not always sure where I come down on the…

Comment by ddangerous on 03-28-2013

[QUOTE=hougigo;13188005]pshhh, wake me when he got a pic with big Papa bear O'Riley. That's the top of the world baby Tide goes in, Tide goes out... can't explain it[/QUOTE] LOL at Papa bear O'Riley :lol1:

Comment by jbpanama on 03-28-2013

ROIDWEATHER, and his approach to the Spot Of Boxing, is a CANCER, that will soon be Cured!!!

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (24)
Top Headlines Eubank Jr: Canelo a Mexican Warrior? That Was Embarrassing! David Price Aims To Land Anthony Joshua Shot in The Fall Photos: Casimero, With Tyson and Jones at Ringside, Gets Revenge Di Rocco Warns Ricky Burns That Layoff Made Him 'More Hungry' Groves Plans To Get Martin Murray a Beer After Beating Him Kenny Lemos Inks Promotional Pact With Under Dawgs Boxing Chavez Jr. Advises Canelo To Demand '158' For Golovkin Bout Shakeup: John Riel Casimero Gives Flyweight a Fresh Spark Chris Blaney Inks Promotional Pact With Ricky Hatton Deontay Wilder Wants WBC To Rule on Povetkin Sooner Than Later Gutierrez Vows That Rosado Won't Make it To Chavez Jr. Fight Damon Allen Batters, Stops Danny Montoya in Three Rounds Golovkin's Coach: Canelo Had No Intention To Do The Fight! Mike Tyson: You Can't Call Tyson Fury a Bum After Klitschko Win Photos: Francisco Vargas Throws Out First Pitch at Dodgers Game Showtime Sues Top Rank: Mayweather-Pacquiao Legal Fee Dispute Fernando Montiel Not Looking To Retire, Plans To Fight Again Tony Bellew Gets Celebrity Backing as He Enters Makabu Fight Mike Tyson Lands Role in Reboot of The Kickboxer Franchise Duran Confident Mosley Secures Shot at Thurman-Porter Winner Sugar Ray Leonard: I Told Mayweather I Would Have Beat Him Photos: Ruslan Provodnikov, John Molina Training For War Nate Diaz: I'd Whoop Mayweather, McGregor Asses in One Night! Margarito Says Ramon Alvarez Likely, Wants Canelo Next Roach: Pacquiao Can Return For Canelo, But Floyd is Bigger Draw Hassan N'Dam vs. Swierzbinski, Amar-Demchenko Will Go Ahead Agit Kabayel Helping Tyson Fury Prepare For Klitschko Rematch Casimero is Ready, Wants Roman Gonzalez Unification Next Fortune To McGregor: Forget Mayweather, Shut Up F***ing Yapper! Povetkin's Promoter Embraces WBC Ruling on Deontay Wilder Mike Tyson: Foolish Plan, But Olympic Amateurs Might Beat Pros Anthony Cacace, Barry McGuigan Decide To Part Ways Hearn Urges Haye To Face Whyte To Speed Up Road To Joshua Deontay Wilder Granted Permission To Make Voluntary By WBC Zolani Tete: Haskins and McDonnell are Holding My Titles Kathy Duva To Be Honored At 7th Annual Raging Babe Brunch Jurors Set For All-Star Boxing vs. Canelo/Golden Boy Lawsuit Jazza Dickens (Injury) Pulled From June 4 Liverpool Show Miguel Flores To Face Ruben Tamayo on PBC on FS1 Erislandy Lara Sees No Network Issues in Making Golovkin Fight
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement