A Theft of Honor
By Jason Petock (August 23, 2005)  
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It is clear that the discipline of boxing has suffered in the past the burden of becoming the brunt of many a fool’s joke and ridicule. Boxing has had to endure the wrath of individuals fighting to abolish the sport, while maintaining a complex understanding with others whose only interest in involvement with pugilism is strictly for profit. These tangibles compiled with negative journalism and frequent misrepresentations do not sit well with even the most patient of boxing fans. What is that much more unbearable is when such misrepresentation occurs by an entity that has no direct affiliation or interest in the sport of boxing at all. Times like these make such offenses that more personal and cast a shadow of doubt on the sport and its legitimacy. The following is an example of said issues that need to be addressed, even for those unwilling to listen.

The other day I was watching an undisclosed channel on my television set when an advertisement for a show completely unrelated to boxing in any form came on during my viewing. Its format was standard and I would have paid it little attention had my ears not noticed what was spoken in the brief monologue of the commercial itself. The announcer posed two questions, providing his own answers in the process. The first was, “Is wrestling real? No.” This was followed with, “Is boxing real? Not anymore.” Those two words “not anymore” hit me in the chops harder than any vicious left hook that ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier ever threw in his entire professional career. Now maybe some of you out there reading this think that I am overreacting here. However, before you jump the gun on this one, answer me this. Have you ever seen a football, baseball, hockey, basketball or tennis commercial or even one unrelated to the aforementioned sports deface any of those disciplines? Have you ever seen these sports publicly mocked in an unprofessional manner by any unrelated factions of society? Then why is it so appropriate to do this to boxing?

Not only is it completely out of line and wrong for any organization to demean or insult pugilism, but it is uncalled for. I do not care what you are trying to sell, buy, lease, auction, advertise or promote. I also get a real kick out of the fact that there are so many varied advertisers that choose boxing to promote their wares. Razors, deodorant and everything else under the sun, you name it and they are clamoring to throw another misplaced boxing reference or image in there somewhere among their commercialism. Nevertheless, this last ad was the icing on the cake for me. I do not know about you, but I am sick of it.

Then again, maybe I should not care. What the hell, it was just an innocent commercial that thousands if not millions of viewers saw. Maybe the commercial was advertising something that those very same viewers had such an intense urge to see that the comment made this desire that much stronger. Whatever the cause there is an outstanding effect its wake that has left a huge stain here. This is far from a complaint here people, and if you do not see the problem with the situation as it stands then you need to re-evaluate the facts in question.

So what does that leave us with then? Are corporations and the rest of the world going to continue to victimize the honor and dignity of boxing in the future? Sure they will. Moreover, can there be those out there who will try to trivialize boxing in order to promote their lesser disciplines, art forms or merchandise? You betcha! Will the fight game sometimes suffer under a warped system of checks and balances with many of its fighters missing the bus? Of course. In life, there are positives and for each of these there are complimentary negatives. Boxing has had to deal with a myriad of negatives in its day and the battle has just begun, or so it seems.

Hope is not lost. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and only the greenest pastures and the sweetest of visages garnish the road to victory for boxing. As many breathtaking fights happen in the ring, there are just as many transpiring behind the scenes and far outside of the ropes. It is our esteemed duty to participate in boxing’s outside battles so that its inside ones can continue. Wouldn’t that be something?
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