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A Bone to Pick
By Jason Petock (April 9, 2004) 
Normally I tend to stay away from doing negative pieces of any kind, or at least do my best to. With that in mind, I started this one with no worries. You see I have a bone to pick. It’s a large bone, one too prevalent in the boxing world and it needs to be addressed.

I’m referring to negative press, overbearing criticism and scandal in general. All too often much of what’s written about boxing has absolutely nothing to do with the sport, or hardly anything. We seem so preoccupied these days with who got arrested, beat their wife, or got arrested on drug charges, that we fail as boxing’s loyal public to see what has fallen by the wayside for far too long. It seems as though the art has been replaced with an all consuming void. Like I mentioned I don’t want to be portrayed as dismal or negative, just realistic.

Too much is stressed on how far a boxer has fallen, rather than his/her accomplishments beforehand, or what they have done in a positive light. How many times have you tuned into a fight, or commentary, or analysis and heard the “analysts” ripping apart their topic of discussion like fresh carrion on a hot summer’s day? I’ve seen it all too often and I’m tired of it. Am I alone?

People tend to forget the long, hard road of a boxer, whether professional or amateur. It’s estimated that out of all the boxers in the world, only about 1% are actually living the good life, rich with wealth that is unimaginable to most and all the luxuries of a padded life that money could buy. So what happens to that other 99%?

We as people have become so obsessed with scandal and humiliation, that the beauty of boxing isn’t even witnessed anymore. I read an article recently where a writer said that the only fights he liked to see were KO’s or stoppages. True, there’s nothing like a strong KO or finish, but doesn’t anyone appreciate the sport for what it is anymore? It’s an art form. It takes skill and ability and years of practice. I guess how many times a fighter got busted this year or how much child support he has to pay is more important to some.

Back to the criticism. I can’t leave this topic alone no matter how much I try to force it out of my mind. I have never read so many scathing and
borderline hateful write-ups than I have from boxing writers and critics in general. What gives? Most of us have not had the pleasure of lacing up the gloves, so what makes us feel that we know everything? I like the old saying, “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes” Some of our shoes have no mileage on them at all, yet we talk like veteran fighters and masters of the game. We’re not.

This has been a thorn in my side for quite a while now. I know that writing this won’t change the situation any, but if it can shed some light into a few peoples eyes then it is worth its weight in gold. And if it doesn’t.............I’ll leave it at that.
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