As the great urban philosopher Calvin Broadus — otherwise known as Snoop Dogg — once said, “There are two things in life you can’t play with. This Boxing, and this pimpin’.”
Last fall, Nate Robinson learned that lesson. And on Sunday night, Chad Johnson did, too. While boxing may not be the preeminent sport that it used to be, as it’s been overtaken by mixed martial arts, and hampered by gimmicks and horrible decisions from judges — it’s still the sweet science. It’s still a sport where the referee’s lone job is to make sure you don’t die in the ring due to all the punishing hits a fighter can take to the head.
Because if you aren’t careful, you can’t get dropped.
Since hanging up his cleats, Johnson has dabbled in the MLS, podcasting, and e-sports. Athletes searching for what’s next after they retire isn’t anything new, as they often find themselves trying to fill a void. They need something to do competitively, whether that be another sport or an aspect of everyday life. For Johnson — at the age of 43 — he decided that facing former MMA fighter Brian Maxwell in a four-round exhibition on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Logan Paul fight was a chance that he wanted to take.
“My life has always been about taking chances and doing crazy stuff — this was on my bucket list,” Johnson said. “This was a message to everyone out there: Don’t be scared to take chances. Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s OK.”
Up against the younger Maxwell, 33, who is currently a bare-knuckle fighter, Johnson threw, landed, and connected on fewer punches in every category, except jabs. The stats are ironic, given that Johnson had issues landing punches against another grown man given his history which includes domestic violence allegations from his former defenseless ex-wife — which ended his NFL career.
“As much as I’m trying to heal from this, it’s messages like this that are triggers for me. It wasn’t the first time,” said Johnson’s ex-wife Evelyn Lozada last summer in a video posted to social media after Johnson posted a tweet about how the 2012 incident was a three-second mistake and the only time he lost his temper.
Hitting women has never been cool, and it never will be. Got it? Good. Now let’s get back to “boxing.”
When Robinson got pummeled last fall it was the talk of social media as he became the meme king instead of the ring king. As a former starting cornerback at the University of Washington and a 3-time NBA Slam Dunk champion, there was already proof that Robinson was an excellent athlete. But that doesn’t mean Robinson, Johnson, or any other former athlete who may be considering getting into the ring has any business putting on gloves. This is why you can’t surround yourself with “yes men.”
Boxing is one of the best workouts you can do, as it incorporates your entire body, burns calories, improves your hand-eye coordination, and builds up your strength and endurance. It isn’t a surprise that athletes find themselves dipping into the sport during, or after, their primary careers to gain an edge or stay in shape. But, they usually do it behind closed doors. So, unless Chad Johnson and Nate Robinson are going to hop in the ring again for charity, it’s time to put the gloves down. Let’s leave the sport to the ones that can dodge a right cross.