A Difference of Opinion
By Jason Petock (November 8, 2005)  
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Diversity of opinion and the often opposing viewpoints that correspond with such differences is what makes the average boxing advocate so unique. Each individual defender of the athletics of pugilism has his or her distinctive conception of what boxing is, which combatants are favorable, and which are not. Rarely do you discover a person passionate about a fighting discipline who chooses to convey their feelings about their favorite sport in a diffident manner. Fans, writers and all others concerned with boxing possess very strong opinions and have absolutely no qualms about sharing them with others on a routine basis. The freedom to write about these sentiments can sometimes become a burden in disguise, rather than a blessing.

This so called burden isn’t necessarily such a bad thing. There are far more costly and damaging tolls in life than adversity and opposition. An onus can become a welcomed occurrence if you know what you are dealing with. Harsh criticisms and sharp judgments occur when a lack of factual knowledge gets replaced with vindictive backlash or one-sided arguments. This happens customarily when referring to the world outside of the ring in boxing. One view does not align in harmony with another and tempers flare, ego’s become damaged and ignorant and callous remarks ensue.

This brings me to the reasoning for my creation of this piece, and why I felt it was important for me to clarify a few things for some readers out there. I’m not defending myself here or anything I’ve ever written in the past because I’ve done nothing wrong in my writing, I just think there are some unresolved issues that need straightening out here.

The genesis of this article came to me while answering a few heated and obstinate e-mails that I received concerning my piece entitled ‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’. Several among the clearly agitated and irate respondents questioned the article, they themselves becoming mirror images of the overly critical media which they so vehemently oppose. I warmly welcome both positive and negative feedback about my work with open arms. The only time this feedback needs to be questioned, at least in my mind, is when the reader misunderstands the articles, fails to read them in their entirety, or takes the writing as a personal attack against their favorite fighter or themselves as supporters. This sometimes happens more frequently than not.

Most are taught to take the good with the bad from an early age depending on the hand you are dealt. If life gives you lemons, then you make lemonade, dammit. No-one is perfect of course, and I often cringe in horror over what I read daily about various fighters and fights that is composed by the ever watchful eyes of a hounding media. And I will admit it that I stoutly disagree with a ton of it. But I take the time to read and interpret what is said by the views that are not my own. I read these compilations of diction with an open mind (or as open as possible depending on what I’m reading), and offer up my own rebuttals to whoever will listen. If no-one chooses to listen, well that’s fine too.

What I’m trying to get across here is that all of us from every walk of life, race, creed and background share one universal truth, and that truth is our love for boxing. It is our differences that truly make boxing fans some of the most diverse and opinionated people you will ever meet. The thing that is missing today it seems though is the respect for other’s opinions.

When I wrote ‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’, I expected the usual unfounded and ill-informed responses that come from a select group of ‘readers’. I imagine these individuals skimming the articles, carefully picking out points of contention so they can build up invalid arguments for disapproval. Their views are just as welcome as the next person’s however. Then you have the person who doesn’t read the articles at all, miscomprehends what little they do read if anything, and selects excessive swearing and profanity in their e-mails over proper spelling and grammar. And you can’t forget the guy who wondered what your article had to do with boxing at all, seeing as it had an opinion in it which differed from his, and not stats and figures. Don’t worry; I doubt he’s reading this.

In the end you find the real reader out there. This person is someone who cares about boxing, cares about how it’s represented and takes pride in upholding that image of respectability. While this fan does exist, they must dwell among the other ‘readers’ that I mentioned, with their legitimate viewpoints often getting smothered by their peer’s incessant negativity. But that is what is so notable about us all, our differences of opinion.
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