We have been having Mark Salas preach for us this week. He was a golden glove boxer who eventually went pro. He came from the gangs of Albuquerque. He included some stories in his preaching but we got to hear a lot more about his life while talking with him. He mentioned Mike Tyson in the sermon. He was at a tournament along with Mike Tyson and spent the night before their bouts talking with each other. He said Mike was a good guy, shy and not sure if he was going to win. The next day in the tournament Mike won and was immediately ushered into another world. The hopes and money that surround a potential heavyweight champion dwarf the potential earnings of all of the other weight classes. He said the next time he saw Tyson, Tyson didn’t have the time to even say hello.
Mark, one of four brothers, described his fight to leave the gang after he started his Christian walk. You just don’t leave a gang. Just as you have to fight your way in you have to fight your way out. In his case it was a one on one fight with his gang’s leader. He described him as a solid wrestler type guy with a mean streak a mile long. But, Mark the boxer, though smaller, was able to punish him and avoid being grappled to the ground. This allowed him to leave the gang and walk with Jesus without their interference.