Boxing: Down For The Count Essay

1442 words - 6 pages

Boxing: Down for the CountThe 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 per 1,000 and high school football's 0.1 deaths per 1,000 (Sammons 247). Another more recent study conducted by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia revealed that 361 deaths have occurred in the ring worldwide since 1945 (NHMRC 22). Deaths and serious injury suffered in boxing contests reveal only a small percentage of the potential for danger. Unfortunately, the damaging effects of the 'sport' are cumulative and difficult to diagnose, sometimes resulting in death, serious illness, or blindness long after the boxer is out of the public limelight. However, convincing evidence has mounted over the years to the effect that chronic encephalopathy (a disease of the brain marked by personality changes, intellectual impairment, slurred speech, and motor deficits), Parkinson's syndrome (a nervous disorder marked by tremors, drooling, muscle weakness, and speech difficulties), spine disorders, and other forms of permanent physical injury are frequent companions of the 'sport' (NHMRC 7). Those who argue for the use of helmets in professional boxing (as in amateur boxing) should be brought up-to-date with the current statistics. The study conducted by the NHMRC of Australia also...

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