Being a boxer and a basketball player takes plenty of willpower, grit and tike to perfect each specific craft. In boxing, one fights his way to earn a reputation and earn his dollars. It is only two men against each other and the referee between them. Basketball is a team sport– needing patience, selflessness, teamwork, and desire to make it to the top. I have seen some crossovers between boxing and MMA or Football and boxing an so on so forth but we have not yet encountered one baller transitioning to a brawler and vice versa. While we await for this rare occurrence to happen, I will just compare the est of bth worlds. I will be mentioning one boxer (regardless of weight division and activity) and one basketball player (regardless if active, retired etc) and mention one characteristic or trait that make them similar to each other.
MANNY PACQUIAO and LEBRON JAMES
Pacquiao’s last outing against Keith Thurman showed us one thing and that Manny can still mix it up with the young guns. Already 40 years old, we have never seen a Filipino dominate much taller guys at this age and time. Pacquiao has transformed his game to a much more finnesed one- albeit losing some of his speed and agression in order to conserve as much energy as possible and keeping up with the younger and “prime” guys like Thurman and Broner. His resume includes a long list of HoF fighters including Morales, Marquez, Cotto, Mosley and among others. His records also include winning the most divisions in boxing (8) and being a champion in four seperate decades (1990s,2000s,2010s, and 2020s). Similar to the Pacman is the King, LeBron James. Playing in the league since 2003, nobody has expected him to be a consistent MVP type caliber in his 17th year in the league. He has proven time and time again that he can take over any game at any time he wants. We have seen other players play 18,19 seasons but they have faltered and became a shell pf themselves. However, LeBron has played like fine wine and seems to be better in his advanced age. Also breaking numerous records in his stellar career, he still plays hungry and wants to be the face in the NBA–as if he is not yet. Seeking his fourth ring in a third franchise, the King Only time will allow how much they can play ball or enter the ring at a high level. What we can do is to appreciate their greatness and their legacies in their respective sports.
NONITO DONAIRE and DERRICK ROSE
What we have seen from Donaire’s recent bouts in the WBSS proved that nothing is impossible. Prior to this tournament, people already scrubbed him off after his loss to Carl Frampton and Jessie Magdaleno. He was just thought as a jobber when he was given the final seed in the WBSS tournament but he took advantage of the low expectations and surprised everyone when he reached the Finals and gave Naoya Inoue the toughest fight of his career. Now, he has another shot at the WBC Bantanweight title against Nordine Oubali in the future. This is also the same case to Derrik Rose, once the MVP but his career took a fall when he succumbed to a series of injury that took years of his prime. Even though of the isolation and the call to retirement he had in Cleveland, he thrived hard and played through the adversity. Now, his resurgence since last season in Minnesota is now one of the biggest storylines of the past two seasons. His 50 point game last season and his clutch game winner against New Orleans proved he still has plenty left in the tank. Although not as deadly or athletic as before, he has made his game efftective without the need of those mid-air magic and crafty crossovers. The resurgence of these two stars prove that there is always hope and that hardwork will always beat talent.
ARTURO GATTI and KOBE BRYANT
“Thunder” is one of the most entertaining fighters ever. Arturo’s career may have been highlighted as the receiving end of Mayweather’s vicious trashtalk and beatdown but he certainly gave one of boxing’s greatest trilogies as he fought Mickey Ward to three gruesome but highly entertaining bouts. Despite the cuts and bruises, he continues to fight and fight and fight for the love of the sweet science. He may not be the most talented boxer or have had the most in-ring success but his heart, willpower certainly made him a fan favorite. This Warrior mentality is mirrored in the hardcourt as the Mamba mentality and nobody is to be acknowledged as the Mamba but Kobe Bryant himself. We all know of Kobe’s mamba mentality; this made him who he is and loved by all. His career was all defined by hardwork, dedication, and heart. Those made him a 5-time champion. Even in the later stages of his career, he still gave his best as is he still has to prove something. Kobe’s heart was a level of its own. Despite his struggles with teammates and injuries, he made it known to all that what’s important to him is to win.
JOE CALZAGHE AND DIRK NOWITZKI
These two Europeans left a big mark in teir respective sports. And aside from the fact that they are Europeans, what makes them similar is that their career highlights include derailing some of their respective sports’ hype trains. One of Calzaghe’s biggest win was against Jeff Lacy– once considered as boxing’s “Middleweight Mike Tyson”. In fact, Calzaghe was the one considered as the Hype Job during the promotion of the fight. But the Welshman made known his intentions and did himself good– he beat Lacy to the punch and made himself one of Europe’s greatest boxers in recent memory. This win catapulted Joe’s overall career and made him the European superstar and Hall of Famer. Nowitzki’s highlight was also derailing the 2011 Miami Heat. The team that was poised to win the championship got exposed by Dirk’s Mavericks. Already an MVP and a leader of a consistent 60-win team in the 2000’s, the only thing lacking of him is the championship. Dirk’s dedication as a leader and his communication with his team enabled them to prove teamwork is always key; their patience with the ball and stepping up when it mattered the most helped Dirk capture his only ring. Dirk torched the Heat with his stellar performances and with help from teammates, they beat the Heat. With all these said, both Joe and Dirk went on to have stellar and legendary careers in retrospect.
ROY JONES JR. AND VINCE CARTER
Both of these men are known for pure entertainment in their primes. Although they are also known for continuing in their careers deep into ther advanced ages. I will be talking about both sides of the spectrum. These men displayed basketball and pugislism skills not seen before. Vince showed us dunks like nobody else; dunking on giants, hanging his arm on the rim thus, making him very exciting to watch. Vinsanity may not have won an MVP or a championship but he truly entertained all of the fans day by day. The same goes to Roy, he displayed boxing skills as if he was a boxing deity. Flashy jabs, visious knockouts, he was practically unstoppable in his prime. He went on to defeat everyone and even went from one division to another with relatve ease. Yet, as much as how entertaining these men were, they also went on with their careers for as long as they could and it tarnished their legacy. Roy Jones was never the same when he went up Heavyweight and later on lost to Tarver. Carter also lost his magic in his later years but he still played on. The way they went on with their careers showed both their courage but we all know that courage alone does not cut it and they do not have the tools needed to keep up with their younger peers. Still, respect for the illustrious careers both men showed through the years.
Written by: Le Miguel Ylanan Jumonong