Recently, I saw “Rocky,” the 1976 film which narrates the grass to grace story of Rocky Balboa, an underdog in the boxing industry who lived in the slums of Philadelphia. At that time, Apollo Creed was the World Heavy-Weight Boxing Champion and he was to have a title bout at Philadelphia. Incidentally, his scheduled opponent could no longer compete due to an injury with all other potential replacements booked or otherwise unavailable.
Thus, Creed decides to fight Rocky Balboa, a local fighter. Rocky, rather than seeing it as an opportunity thinks he has no chance against the World Champion whom he had always seen as an idol and could never have imagined he may one day touch the hem of his garment.
After so much persuasion, Rocky agrees. After weeks of training, punching whatever he could find, including meat carcasses, he prepares for his date with destiny, not expecting to win, but to to go the distance against Creed, which no other fighter has done, and prove himself to the world.
During the fight, Creed, overconfident was awakened from his illusion of fighting a nobody when Rocky knocks him down in the 1st round—the 1st time that he had ever been knocked down, let alone in the 1st round. Humiliated, Creed for the 1st time then takes Rocky seriously. However, the fight endures the full 15 rounds, with both sustaining injuries. Though Creed had superior skill but Rocky’s resilience deprived him of an outright win, making the fight look like a tie.
Creed’s ego is further bruised and he demands a rematch to redeem his glory boasting that Rocky won’t even survive 2 rounds to prove that the first 15 rounds was a fluke. Rocky is knocked down twice and outclassed, but his never say die attitude kept the fight till the 15th round again. Creed is well ahead on points and only needs to stay away from Rocky to win but Creed’s pride would not let him.
He wanted to win by knockout. He keeps attacking till Rocky finally turns the tide, unleashing a series of counter punches on him. Both men, exhausted, fell down trading punches. They both struggled to rise with Creed taking the lead but eventually collapses while Rocky willed himself up, giving him the win by knockout and making him the new Heavyweight Champion.
Often times, the things that causes a man’s downfall aren’t the big challenges but the small things and the little distractions that gets in his way because due to overconfidence, he deems them inconsequential. Overestimating the big bumps may be understandable as a result of fear but to underestimate the little pebbles on your path can be tragic.
Remember, “Men stumble over pebbles, never over mountains.”