We LIVE for stories of perseverance, grittiness, and determination. We hear them all the time from racers in our community, but we also love to report on inspirational, badass stories from OUTSIDE the Spartan Universe — stories that we can learn from, that can help us become even more unbreakable. In Tough News, we share what we're hearing, why it's important, and why Spartans need to pay attention.
What happens when a 43-year-old former NFL wide receiver gets in the ring with a mixed martial artist?
We found out on June 6, when Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson squared off against Brian Maxwell in a celebrity boxing match at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
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Making his boxing debut, the six-time Pro Bowler and former NFL receiving yards leader put on a pretty impressive performance considering he had never fought competitively. One moment he'd like to forget, though, was in the fourth round, when Maxwell knocked him down with a right hook that sent him straight to the mat.
To Ochocinco's credit, he got right back up after taking the pounding and finished the bout. The match went the distance (four rounds) and, because there were no official judges — and no knockouts — no winner was declared. There were no other knockdowns in the match.
According to CompuBox, Maxwell landed 17 punches to Johnson's 14, but the football player actually landed a higher percentage of them (31% to Maxwell's 25%).
Johnson was the household name in the fight, but Maxwell was the one that came in with actual fighting experience (albeit fairly limited experience). He owns a career 2-3 record in MMA fights, and also has three Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship matches on his resume. (He lost all three.)
He expects that we'll be hearing about him again soon enough, though.
"Ask the world who Brian Maxwell is now," he proclaimed after the draw. "Brian Maxwell is here."
The Spartan Takeaway: 'Don't Be Scared to Fail'
It's unlikely that we'll see Ochocinco back in the ring any time soon — or ever, for that matter — but it would surprise no one if he decided to take another shot at it. (He jokingly said that he wants his next fight to be against Conor McGregor, but we're not holding our breath waiting for that one.) He seemed to relish the opportunity and, in true Spartan spirit, expressed gratitude that he was able to realize a dream of his. He also stressed to the crowd, and to those watching at home, that you can't let fear get in the way of your pursuits. You have to cancel out the noise, ignore the detractors, face your fears, and follow your heart.
We couldn't agree more.
"My life has always been about taking chances," the longtime Cincinnati Bengal reflected in the ring. "You know, doing crazy stuff. And this is just another one off my bucket list. It’s a message for a lot of people who are out there content, scared to fail, scared to lose, and they don’t take chances.
"Man, get out there and live, man. Get out there and live, for real. Don’t be scared to fail. It's OK.”
In case you forget how insanely athletic Johnson was in his playing days — and clearly still is — here's a little reminder.
Later in the evening, in the main event, legendary boxer and five-time world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. fought YouTube sensation Logan Paul in an eight-round exhibition. Similar to the first match on the card, it went the distance and there was no official winner.