Boxing: Down for the Count

Essay by Michael T.University, Bachelor'sA-, November 1996

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Boxing: Down for the Count

The tenth edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines boxing as 'the art of attack and defense with the fists practiced as a sport.' I could be mistaken, but there is a certain emphasis placed on the idea that boxing is practiced as a sport. It is rather ambiguous. Is boxing a sport to begin with? Is boxing something else that is just practiced as a sport? Is it, can it, or should it be practiced as something else rather than as a sport? Maybe I am just making too big a deal out of a simple definition here. Nevertheless, this simple definition of boxing gives rise to one question we should all take some time to answer: should boxing be practiced as a sport? Examination of medical findings and statistics and re-examination of our views and goals as a modern society will lead us to the one inevitable conclusion: considering boxing as a respectable sport just flies in the face of decency and civilization and therefore, it should be banned.

Somehow, boxers and supporters have deluded themselves into thinking that boxing, when properly conducted, is safe. The classic justification goes something like this: '[b]oxers are not two brawling brutes seeking to maim or kill each other. [t]hey are two closely matched athletes seeking, through the use of such skills an footwork, timing, accuracy, punching, and feinting, to determine who is the better man in the ring' (Farley 26). Unfortunately, dead boxers tell a different story. A study on dangerous contact sports conducted by Patrick Malone of the Knight Ridder News Service in 1980 revealed that from 1970 to 1978 in America, there was an average of 21 deaths per year among 5,500 boxers, or 3.8 deaths per 1,000 participants, compared to college football's 0.3 deaths...