Monthly Archives: June 2014
Boxing. Beautiful, challenging sport, or last of the gladatorial arena blood sports? A test of speed, agility and endurance, or a brutal reminder of the savagery of the human spirit? Love it or hate it, it remains a popular sport, with major fights offering massive purses of prize money… We duke it out to see who comes out on top!
Let’s face it, if you were to go out into the street and start punching someone in the face and torso repeatedly, the police would most likely get involved. People would be charged with all manner of offences including GBH, assault, and generally causing a disturbance.
So why is it any different when two boxers step into the ring?
Why is the law suspended simply because two people are surrounded on four sides by rope, with people cheering and a bell ringing to mark off 3-minute intervals?
The object of this so-called sport is to beat your opponent so badly that they fall to the ground, possibly unconscious, and are unable to get up to defend themselves any longer. Does that sound like fun? If it happened to you on the street, would you consider it sporting if your attacker stopped once you couldn’t get up again?
Knocking a person unconscious or even causing concussion may cause permanent brain damage. There is no clear division between the force required to knock a person out and the force likely to kill a person. Since 1980, more than 200 amateur boxers, professional boxers and Toughman fighters have died as the result of ring or training injuries.Thus, in 1983, the Journal of the American Medical Association called for a ban on boxing.
It’s interesting to note that boxing is currently banned in Norway, Iceland, Iran and North Korea.
It seems to me, this is the last of the gladiatorial “sports”, with the masses baying for blood and betting on one person’s ability to knock another person senseless, possibly causing brain damage (among other more visible, injuries). I cannot understand why, in this modern and supposedly enlightened age, this barbarity continues when it is nothing short of legalised brutality.
I will never like boxing. I will never consider it a beautiful sport. In fact, I will never consider it a “sport” when people are purposely injuring each other. I call it horrific. I call it bloody and barbaric. I call it reckless endangerment, and I hope to whatever Gods may or may not exist that neither of my sons ever decide to take it up.
I agree in part with Kell’s assessment of the sport, or perhaps should we say “the art” of boxing. We all know the medical risks of boxing, they are well documented and yes, competitors have died in the ring. That said, the boxers know the risks when they enter the square circle and for most of them, it is a way of life. Most boxers never reach the heights of World Championship prize fights and certainly not the million dollar payoffs that we see the likes of Floyd Mayweather competing for.
On the flip-side, although I am not a boxing fan, I think the voyeur in me has always enjoyed that “knockout punch”, or gruelling round of boxing where the opponents can barely stand they are so tired. I love the photo above of Muhammad Ali standing over the floored frame of boxing great Sonny Liston, it was taken at the end of the first round of the second meeting between the pair after Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali and there is just something about that picture that is iconic.
It is pictures like these that evoke the same emotions in me that perhaps someone looking at a Picasso or a Rembrandt might have. I think this side of boxing is art, but it is born out of a brutal sport that still holds some excitement for many although the whole “pay-per-view” things is a complete con. I didn’t have to wait long for the knockout punch that Carl Froch recently gave George Groves to be uploaded to the internet, and to be honest when it comes down to it, it’s that punch that everyone is waiting for, to savour and say “woah, what a punch!” which is exactly what I did.
There have been great fighters and boxers, and indeed amazing fights, but unlike the street, there are rules in the boxing ring, there is also a safety aspect, perhaps more now than at any other time and there is of course a referee to enforce it all. Unfortunately like many other sports, there is also an ugly side. Corruption, cheating, boxers who think they are more than they are or develop problems outside of the sport that for some reason they cannot control and don’t get me wrong, I am not in any way condoning what they do, I am merely stating that these things happen which is unfortunate for these men (and now women) who have become good at something, but it only lasts a few years and its gone.
THE VERDICT: Partial agreement. Kell acknowledges the skill, agility and endurance required in training for boxing, but out and out detests the hypocrisy and violence. Dale acknowledges the brutality and danger, but admires the art and enjoys the snippets where you see a knockdown punch. Maybe it’s a guy thing?