Tracy Patterson: Fighting Until The Bell Rings
I've had the privilege of working with Tracy over the past couple of years at the Floyd Patterson Boxing Club and it's amazing watching his old fights on Youtube. He is a born again Christian and uses his skills as a boxing coach to disciple young children and teens in the area as a way of giving glory to God. The information on the biography section of this article is from conversations I've had with him in person after an evening of training with him.
Tracy Harris Patterson: born on December 26, 1964 in Grady, Alabama.
His professional fight record:
-73 total fights
-63 wins, 43 by knockout
-NY Golden Glove Championship 1984 @119lbs and 1985 @125lbs.
-WBC Super Bantamweight Champion June 23 1992 – 26 August 1994
-IBF Super Featherweight Champion July 9 1995 – 15 December 1995
Tracy is the son of former 2-time heavyweight world champion Floyd Patterson. As a child, his mother moved regularly as a migrant worker, which brought them to the Hudson Valley for apple season. Where they stayed during that time was nearby Floyd Patterson's boxing gym. When the young Tracy entered the gym and immediately fell in love with the sport, he couldn't imagine a better place for himself to be. He spent long days tirelessly training to become a fighter, eventually earning him the NY Golden Gloves championship twice. Floyd took care of Tracy in training and the two of them grew very close. After a while, when it came time for Tracy's mother to move to another area for work, he decided he wanted to stay where he was. Floyd made arrangements to legally adopt him and began boxing history's first world championship dynasty. Never had there been a world champ to have a son who also became world champ as well.
One thing that stuck out to me was in a recent conversation I had with him about his professional career. He told me he never lost a fight by knockout, it was always either he won by knockout/decision, or he lost by decision. Nobody ever had to pick him up off the canvas, he always picked himself back up and kept fighting. That right there is a highly admirable accomplishment considering he had over 70 professional fights. None of this came easily though, it wasn't natural by any means. Everything he accomplished was through blood, sweat, tears, determination and the grace of God. He never knew when the bell was about to ring, he just kept fighting until it was time to stop. I think Christians can take a leaf from Tracy's book.
Or perhaps Tracy took a leaf from the Good Book?
"Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
Christians, we have work to do. The Apostle Paul took his work seriously knowing it would have been for nothing if he gave up. What he means by beating the air is that his actions had purpose. We throw punches to hit a target, likewise he preached with the same energy. Everything he did was with purpose and as though his life depended on it, we should too in the ways of the Lord. God has put us here on Earth for a purpose and expects us to fulfill it through Him, by Him and for Him. He calls us to do something and gives us the ability to do it, but that doesn't mean we will magically be perfect at it right away. We have to work in faith that we're doing what God called us to do. Our work is the evidence that we have faith in God, rather than the means to earn His favor. Have you ever done something and thought the whole time, "This better not be a waste of my time...?" Obviously, if you're working with that in mind, you're not trusting the purpose of what you're doing. Tracy worked hard to train for these fights because he was called to fight. He never thought tom himself, "I sure hope this is worth something..." because he would have been knocked out in an instant. Whenever he was knocked down, his drive to win picked him back up before the referee could count to ten. Our desire to serve the Lord should be what picks us off the mat whenever we face knockdowns in life.
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2
Is there something holding you back? Is there sin in your life you don't want to get rid of? Perhaps you don't trust that what you're doing is God's will for your life? Let me tell you, if it's not sin, and you're doing it for the glory of the Lord, it's God's will for you to do it. As far as sin goes, it's very easy to get caught up in the hectic everyday life and the worries of the world. However, don't let it take away your focus! If you are trusting the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul, you have everything you need to get to work on His calling for your life. Repent of any sin you have and get rid of it!
In conclusion: Tracy Patterson worked hard his whole life to get where he went. He trained with a goal in mind and it was that drive that kept him going through every fight. He never knew when the round was about to end, so he kept fighting until the bell rang. In the same way we don't know when the Lord is going to call us home, so we need to keep fighting until it's time to stop. That way at the end of our lives the Lord will raise our hand in victory. So my question to you is, where will you be when the bell rings?