Challenging Boxing Myths - Part Four
By Jim Cawkwell (July 13, 2004) 
A Barbaric Profession - Your View

Let us not kid ourselves about the sport that we love so much. Boxing is brutal and unforgiving; the fate of many who indulge in it as combatants is often cruel. We accept that men have died. Whether they were champions trying to touch greatness or family men just trying to earn a living, we should grieve them all the same. Many such men were taken before their time in war, fighting for an end they may never see, for a government that does not regard them as any more than a statistic.

As boxers, they go to a war where the outcome is no more certain; but they have a chance to survive and enrich their lives as well as the history of a sport that will revere them in return.

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The death of a fighter is by no means something which occurred in the days of black and white film, or when the rules and regulations of boxing and its safety measures were unrefined ideas. Men continue to die because of injuries sustained during fights despite the technological advantages of this progressive age we live in. Though these deaths are rare occurrences, they are no more acceptable; they are tragedies that remind us to be ever vigilant with our current safety measures, and we must be determined to find greater ones.

There are passionate arguments from two sides regarding the continuation of boxing as a mainstream sport: There are medical experts who argue that the sport is far too dangerous and point to the fact that a boxer rarely leaves the sport unscathed, mentally, physically or both. Boxing fans and industry personnel offer the alternative perspective that boxing is as safe as it can be and that the sport has offered a lifeline to many young men who would otherwise have been lost in perilous streets, condemned to life in prison or death through some mindless criminal act.

Those are mere glimpses of the compelling arguments given from either side. A boxing fan I am indeed, but do not look for bias from my direction. If there were a safer way for a fighter to compete, I would give it my full attention and urge anyone that cares about boxing to do the same. Currently, boxers have to endure a multitude of physical examinations, brain scans, and blood and urine tests in order to pass American state competition requirements. Each state desperately needs to unify in accordance with the same stringent testing procedures to ensure that a boxer who is unfit to fight in one place, cannot go elsewhere, receive permission to fight and risk seriously damaging himself.

At every boxing event, teams of medics are on hand to rush an injured fighter to the hospital and doctors are positioned at ringside. The doctors pay close attention to the condition of the fighters and are often greatly influential in the outcome of a fight. As medical experts campaign for the banning of boxing alongside like-minded individuals, perhaps they should consider the ramifications of such a happening. Boxing will certainly not cease to be but it may be realistic to contend that it might be forced underground. If this were to occur, the likelihood of greater numbers of casualties and instances of permanent injuries would increase due to a lack of money and attentiveness to healthcare and safety measures.

And so, I ask you the following questions:

Do you think that boxing is truly as safe as it can be?

How do the safety measures and testing procedures used in boxing measure up to those used in other mainstream sports?

What measures do you feel could be introduced in order to ensure that boxers are as protected as possible?

Would you support your child or family member’s participation in boxing?

Please address your responses to me at
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