Let me preface by admitting my casual fandom of boxing. I’m no expert on the sport. It’s a sport that I enjoy watching, but I’m certainly no authority figure when it comes to opinions.
So, if I sound ignorant in the next couple of paragraphs, don’t hold it against me.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get down to what’s been on my mind over the last couple of days: the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. fight for the unified WBA/WBO/IBF/IBO heavyweight title.
After a few knockdowns throughout the fight, Ruiz beat Joshua in a seventh-round TKO to claim the title in an upset. Many had Ruiz pegged as the underdog. If you took a look at the two of them, you would probably have him pegged as an underdog, too.
Joshua looks like a boxing champion. He’s 247 pounds of solid muscle. He’s quick. His reach is built for boxing.
Ruiz, on the other hand, is 268 pounds and, well, let’s just say his appearance is more attainable for a non-athlete.
Following his upset victory, the social media sites were filled with memes about Ruiz skipping cardio days at the gym and jokes about how a man with a dad-bod is one of the best fighters in the world. Some have rightfully called it fat-shaming because, let’s be real, it is fat-shaming.
But if I’m Ruiz, I wouldn’t care about the teasing. I’m not ashamed of my body one single bit. Why? Because if I’m Ruiz, my weight obviously didn’t matter. I still won. And, in it’s own way, that was inspirational.
Ruiz and I are around the same age, and let me tell ya — my metabolism isn’t what it used to be. When I was 21, I could eat sugar-loaded cereal for breakfast, five slices of pizza and a bag of potato chips for lunch, a burger for dinner, and wash it all down with a few cans of soda and still have visible abs.
Today, I’ll eat salad and drink water all week. But if I have spaghetti and bread on Saturday, I’m bloated for the next month. I can work out all I want with weights and spend and hour on the treadmill every day, but my abs aren’t coming back.
This fact of life was difficult to accept at first, but I’ve grown used to the fact that I’ll probably never look like the Incredible Hulk. Instead, I’ll have to settle for Bruce Banner. I’ll have to settle for, well, the dad-bod.
And I’m OK with that. After all, I am a dad, so I might as well look the part.
I’ve come to realize that it’s not about how you look. It’s about how you feel.
Are you confident? Are you happy? Do you feel strong? If so, then who cares how you look? All that really matters is whether or not you’re comfortable with yourself.
Sure, take care of your health. Exercise. Eat properly (with the occasional pizza or slice of bread). Sleep enough. Don’t live on coffee and energy drinks and doughnuts.
But don’t obsess over how you look. That’s not what really matters. Andy Ruiz Jr. taught many of us that lesson over the weekend.