“Is a man who has spent decades studying the ‘sweet science’ of cracking heads in the sometimes seedy realm of professional pugilism really prepared to take the helm of a rudderless nation?” St. Olaf College Professor of Philosophy Gordon Marino asks in a New York Times opinion piece about professional boxer Vitali Klitschko’s intention to run for president of Ukraine.
Marino, a nationally recognized sports journalist who co-coaches the St. Olaf Boxing Club, is no stranger to the iron will and self-discipline cultivated through the sport, and he is optimistic of Klitschko’s ability to participate in politics outside the ring.
“You cannot be successful in the bruising art without learning to control your emotions,” Marino writes. “Boxing teaches how to read others, how to husband your energies, how to turn with the punches that life and politics deliver, and above all, how to scrape yourself off the canvas.”
Klitschko has already faced some setbacks, coming just 40 votes short of a no-confidence vote in the government December 3. But Marino maintains that Klitschko learns from his experiences, and reminds his readers not to underestimate the Ukranian.
“In his epic losing battle with Lennox Lewis in 2003, Mr. Klitschko was ahead on points when he suffered a cut over his eye that required more than 50 stitches. … A year later, he was heavyweight champion, and since then he has successfully defended his crown 11 times,” Marino writes. “After the defeat on December 3, he vowed to press on. It would be wise for his opponents to take him at his word.”
Marino regularly contributes to publications like the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and New York Times. In addition to his teaching and writing, Marino serves as curator of the Howard and Edna Hong Kierkegaard Library.