Boxing: The Sweet and Sour Science
By Rob Scott (February 19, 2005) 
In all the years that I have been involved in the sport of boxing there has always been that one simple question thrown my way – “Why?” Why am I drawn to this most brutal of sports? The anti-boxing establishment views the sport as a primitive and barbaric one that is filled with corruption and should be abolished. They view it as corrupt while boxing enthusiasts look at it as the ultimate sport of wills and skills. With my involvement in the sport, you can tell which side of the fence I reside.

Boxing has been a sport that has left indelible impressions on the minds of generation after generation. It’s the type of impression where if you’re fortunate enough to know someone who lived in the thirties, they wouldn’t hesitate to talk about the night ‘The Brown Bomber’ Joe Louis knocked out the German Max Schmeling in their historical rematch; or what of arguably the greatest night in sports history when on March 8, 1971 ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali took on ‘Smokin’’ Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden. The drama, the build-up, the celebrities, and did I mention the fight? There wasn’t a need for any other moniker for this bout other than just that – ‘The Fight’. True fans of the sport can point at these fights with excitement because these fights were, in fact, events.

Peek over the fence to see what the detractors are saying and listen as they conjure up boxing events that bring forth the clichéd boxing pun of ‘giving the sport a black eye’. Events like the 1997 Mike Tyson ear bite of Evander Holyfield; the tragic 1982 death of Duk-Koo Kim at the fists of Ray ‘Boom-Boom’ Mancini; and the activities of corrupt organizations, promoters and managers have all been used as ammunition in the never ending assault on the sport. The fight game is one that makes many label it ‘the sweet science’ while others have been left with a bitter taste in their mouth.

True, there is that section of people who only come to the fights to see two men beat each other to a pulp. Then there is the appreciative section that not only comes to watch as two men use their collective brawn, but also can take in the tactical side of the sport. The tactical side exists not only in elusive boxers like a Pernell Whitaker, but even in straight forward fighters like Mike Tyson who use to use head movement to get in to land his blows. Even in combat like boxing, a plan and strategy does exist.

Yet again, on the flip side, there are those who legitimately care about the well being of the fighter and want to be their mouthpiece; and then there are those who just love to run their mouths. They are the ones who have no real objection, just ample time on their hands to voice their opinion about a sport which, I must admit, has its fare share of individuals who have provided reasons to frown; but the frowns should be directed at said individuals, not the sport itself.

Boxing is no different from any other sport, because if you dissect every one, you’re guaranteed to find a fault. It’s no different from normal every day things from race to family. Look into your family and you will find members that will make you proud; and if you’re honest, you will admit there are members in which you probably deny that you even know. Just because the bad ones exist, should we do away with the whole family? If so, there wouldn’t be any families left.

Indeed, the aura of combat makes some forget the key word of competition, but that is exactly what boxing is – competition at its purist form. I myself don’t forget that this sport has its sour patches; but make no mistake about it – it’s the sweetest sport there is.

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