Giving new meaning to the term "Power Lunch," author, money manager and prized "white-collar boxer" John E. Oden is a heavy hitter in the true sense.
Somewhere in his late fifties, (he wouldn't say his age), Oden, known as the Muhammad Ali of the white collar fight game and author of "White Collar Boxing: One Man's Journey from the Office to the Ring," met up with me at the storied New York Athletic Club, to discuss his book and to demonstrate his boxing skills in the ring.
He didn't disappoint.
Straka: The Muhammad Ali of white-collar boxers, is that true?
Oden: Well, some people have said that but don't believe everything you hear.
Straka: How did you get involved in boxing?
Oden: As I crossed the big 4-0, I decided I better get in shape. I didn't want to end up being one of "those guys." I decided to take up two sports that I'd never done before with the following criteria. One, great exercise, and two, fun, and after much thought I chose boxing and basketball and did both for five years. I finally started competing in boxing and had to let basketball go and it's been boxing ever since.
Straka: You're a successful person on Wall Street and in the financial industry, what do your family and friends say about your chosen sport?
Oden: At first sometimes they don't quite understand it. Not everyone gets boxing, but after they think about it and see me do it, and I frequently bring my friends to the boxing matches they all of a sudden get interested, and it becomes a topic of conversation, makes me different, unique and found it a huge positive in business.
Straka: How does it translate to business?
Oden: You have to manage your time, you have to set priorities. Sometimes when I'm training for a fight I work out twice a day, that involves a 5 a.m. run and a workout after work, and it's not easy to fit that in with a busy business schedule. So you have to set priorities and just make sure you can make it all happen?
Straka: What do you do for a living and what kind of advice can you give to people in your line of work, or any?
Oden: I'm with a money management research firm, and I'm on the money management side of the firm. I help our clients get invested properly and I think someone starting a career, they should find something they love and try to make [him/herself] a little different, a little interesting and set [him/herself] apart from the crowd. Just make sure, whatever you're doing, you love what you're doing and you give 1,000 percent.
After the interview we padded up and stepped into the ring, where John showed us just why they call him the "Pecos Kid," and it's not just because he's from Pecos, Texas.
Standing at approximately six-feet-four, Oden has an impressive reach that proved too much for my five-foot-six frame. For the life of me, I couldn't get close enough to land a punch, but he sure got a good one in on me.
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