Arguments For and Against Banning Boxing

Updated on November 18, 2016
SuperBrainwave profile image

Since completely university in England, Paul has worked as a bookseller, librarian and freelance writer. He currently lives in Florida.

Ingemar Johansson and Floyd Pattersson 1959.  Johansson and Patterson would become firm friends in later life, running the Stockholm Marathon together in 1982 and 1983. Patterson won the world heavyweight title aged 21, the youngest at the time.
Ingemar Johansson and Floyd Pattersson 1959. Johansson and Patterson would become firm friends in later life, running the Stockholm Marathon together in 1982 and 1983. Patterson won the world heavyweight title aged 21, the youngest at the time.

Boxing has existed in some form since at least 688 BC when the ancient Greeks made it an Olympic game, but its history has often been a controversial one.

Fans argue that the sport encourages physical fitness and discipline, as well as providing a way for young people way to remove themselves from poverty. Critics, however, believe that boxing is barbaric, unacceptably dangerous and should be banned.

Modern boxing developed in the UK and USA in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The Marquess of Queensberry rules, drafted in 1867, eventually helped boxing to make the gradual transition into being a modern sport after a long period when it had possessed only dubious legitimacy.

Below are the main arguments for and against that are employed by people debating the issue of whether boxing should be banned.

Fans of boxing argue that the sport promotes physical fitness and discipline.  Critics argue that it causes physical harm, especially to the brain, and promotes violence.  Modern boxing rules date back to the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.
Fans of boxing argue that the sport promotes physical fitness and discipline. Critics argue that it causes physical harm, especially to the brain, and promotes violence. Modern boxing rules date back to the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. | Source

Boxing is the only sport you can get your brain shook, your money took and your name in the undertaker book.

— Joe Frazier

Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.

— Muhammad Ali

Arguments for Boxing Being Banned

  • The sport is barbaric and no better than an organized physical assault, which would be illegal in any other context. The fact that the participants are taking part voluntarily is irrelevant - in some senses, boxing resembles dueling, which was a normal part of life for many years, but is now banned.
  • There are injuries that occur accidentally in other sports, but in boxing causing a head injury in the form of a "knockout" to your opponent is actually one of the main objectives.
  • Although deaths that occur during fights are rare, many doctors believe that boxing should be banned because of the eye and brain injuries that can be caused by repeated punches to the head. These injuries may go unnoticed at the time, but cause the boxer serious problems in later life. There are very few professional fighters who's brains end up unscathed by the end of their career.
  • Professional boxing glamorizes violence and the concept of becoming rich and famous through physical aggression. This sends children especially the entirely wrong message.
  • Although boxing may appear to offer a quick and easy route to riches, it is in fact a poor choice. Apart from the very real health risks, boxers are commonly exploited economically and even the most successful ones can often end up penniless.

All of the sports have a safety net, but boxing is the only sport that has none. So when the fighter is through, he is through. While he was fighting his management was very excited for him, but now that he is done, that management team is moving on.

— Gerry Cooney
The German boxer, Max Schmeling, who was  heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932.  He is most famous for his two fights with Joe Louis in the 1930s, which were highly politically charged, due to the Nazi Party takeover in Germany.
The German boxer, Max Schmeling, who was heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932. He is most famous for his two fights with Joe Louis in the 1930s, which were highly politically charged, due to the Nazi Party takeover in Germany. | Source

The trouble with boxing is that too often it ends in sadness.

— Barry McGuigan

Brief History of Boxing

Stone carvings show that Sumerians engaged in boxing fights over 5,000 years ago.

Boxing disappeared after the Romans for a long time and didn't reappear until the late 1600s in England. The fighting was brutal, with bare-knuckle bouts continuing until one of the boxers could no longer continue.

Rule changes came in 1743, with the London Prize Ring Rules, and again over a century later when the Marquess of Queensberry rules introduced gloves and three minute rounds with one minute breaks.

Boxing match featuring Ricardo Dominguez.  Dominguez, a Mexican pro in the Light Welterweight division, is most famous for winning the 2009 Campeón Azteca tournament at Lightweight.
Boxing match featuring Ricardo Dominguez. Dominguez, a Mexican pro in the Light Welterweight division, is most famous for winning the 2009 Campeón Azteca tournament at Lightweight. | Source

Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it.

— George Foreman

Arguments Against Boxing Being Banned

  • Boxing requires a high degree of physical fitness, if you wish to be successful, so it teaches young people to look after their bodies.
  • There is no general intent in boxing to injure the opponent. Rather, the primary aim is to score the most points by hitting strictly defined regions of the body.
  • The sport teaches discipline. As well as things like exercise and diet, it also informs young people when, and when not to fight, emphasizing the need for establishing mental control as well as physical.
  • It also gives young people self-defense skills and can increase self-esteem, including the ability to defend themselves if physically assaulted.
  • The vast majority of boxers train and fight not because they want to make lots of money, but because they enjoy it as a sport.
  • Nobody is forced to box or watch a fight, all participants do so through their own free will. Those who don’t like the sport should just ignore it if they don’t like it.
  • Critics unfairly target boxing because it more obviously resembles a fight, rather than other sports which can be physically aggressive, such as ice hockey, or rugby, where there is a puck, or a ball to provide the focus. Likewise, the high degree of strategy and tactics employed by boxers are often missed by inexperienced observers.
  • Boxing is a way for people to remove themselves from poverty. Other doors that may not be an option for a young boxer, such as a college education, and the sport provides another route to social and economic advancement. At the very least it can provide a sense of self-respect.

Without boxing, because of my neighborhoods, who knows what would have happened to me. It was always about following the leader. And I definitely was not a leader. Boxing gave me discipline; a sense of self. It made me more outspoken. It gave me more confidence.

— Sugar Ray Leonard
Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves.  Ali is perhaps the most famous and charismatic boxer ever.  The only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome in 1984, a disease associated with head trauma and boxing.
Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves. Ali is perhaps the most famous and charismatic boxer ever. The only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome in 1984, a disease associated with head trauma and boxing. | Source

Boxing is a sport. We allow each other to hit each other, but I'm not treating my opponent like my enemy. We're doing a job to entertain people.

— Manny Pacquiao

Your opinion!

Do you think that boxing should be banned?

See results
Tom "The Moor" Molineaux was an African-American bare-knuckle boxer.  Born into slavery in 1784, he won a large amount of money for his owner in bets.  He later boxed in Britain and Ireland.  He died aged 34 after sinking into alcoholism.
Tom "The Moor" Molineaux was an African-American bare-knuckle boxer. Born into slavery in 1784, he won a large amount of money for his owner in bets. He later boxed in Britain and Ireland. He died aged 34 after sinking into alcoholism. | Source

The brutalities of a fight with bare hands, the crushed nasal bones, maimed lips, and other disfigurements, which call for the utter abolition of boxing in the interests of humanity, at once disappear when the contestants cover their hands with large, soft-leather gloves.

— John Boyle O'Reilly

Questions & Answers

  • When did boxers start having to wear gloves?

    Gloves became compulsory when the Marquess of Queensberry Rules were introduced in the latter half of the 19th Century. The new rules were intended for both amateur and professional bouts.

  • Who wrote the Marquess of Queensberry Rules?

    They were written by a Welsh sportsman named John Graham Chambers. The rules take their name, however, from The Most Hon. The 9th Marquess of Queensberry, who publicly endorsed the new boxing code.

© 2012 Paul Goodman

Comments

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    • profile image

      Evan 

      2 weeks ago

      More people die horse riding and stuff than boxing

    • profile image

      Aditya Saxena 

      6 weeks ago

      Boxing is morally stupid

    • profile image

      Lunar Orbit 

      4 months ago

      I think that boxing and general combat sports should definitely not be banned, like other users have said, it would perhaps remove it somewhat from its current presence in society, although there would definitely remain pockets and underground activities still present. When we leave it legal, at least it gives us the chance to observe and examine it, and intervene and have our influence over it.

      Perhaps since boxing and all forms of fighting have been around so long, we have a deeper connection to it than we think ? I mean we've been fighting amongst each other throughout the entire history of humanity, a natural born warrior species, were programmed to fight, its an instinct. Choosing to engage physically is certainly a dominate, rational strategy our ancestors would have taken, given the fact that their conditions were so harsh, it certainly was fight for your life.

      To those who have trained in combat sports, as I have done for over 5 years, it can be a deeply rewarding experience, it feels absolutely amazing as well, pushing your body to its limits, overcoming fear and doubt, developing yourself as a competitor and taking part in the dance of the fight. The draw is understandable for an individual, living in the world that we do, being given a set of genes and DNA sequences and this social climate, it seems clear why fighting has evolved. Fighting sports are some of the most dynamic and physically demanding type of sports known to man.

      However having trained in combats I realise and have seen first hand the symptoms most participants eventually develop.I mean, your getting thumped all over your body repeatedly until you can literally not take it anymore, many of your delicate organs which carry out the necessary life functions and being destroyed via sheer force. Is it something we should be encouraging our children and young people to do ?

      I think that people should have the right to enter the sport, and that fighting gyms should be forced by law, to operate in a way which minimises the risk to fighters when training and competing. However I think that all people wanting to become a fighter must be given all the facts about it, things like the probability with which a fighter will develop brain problems compared with a non fighter, numbers of broken retenas etc all informed by the latest research on it.

      Boxing gyms should also screen the people who want to become members, training should not be given to individuals who exhibit, reckless, inconsiderate behaviours, fighting gives people a weapon, their own limbs, and this can and does get used in the public domain.

      Fighting sports should be conducted in a certain way, they should be taught as a means of self defence only, as a way to prevent further calamity, never to be used as a way of doing wrong, necessary harm to others. Create ethical fighters who accept the roles and responsibilities which are attached to fighting.

      In my life, after having a brief amateur career, I decided to take a step back, use it as something to keep my fitness up as well as being apart of a gym social group, but to refrain from competing full contact. I even avoid sparring for the most part although I occasionally get sucked in. I would recommend BJJ as the best to join, it has many of the health benefits without the head and organ damage,

      Peace out, Ill be watching from the moon

    • profile image

      a 5th grader 

      4 months ago

      i say if they dont ban boxing at least get more gear for the players i mean i am a 5th grader and i just want to know why have boxing when it not even safe for people all around the world like i mean at least get more gear for the players

    • profile image

      Jesus left nut 

      6 months ago

      NO nuts no fun for me

    • profile image

      jeff 

      6 months ago

      i am black okay words hurt

    • profile image

      Mia 

      6 months ago

      It is very complicated. One thing we know, violence will always be around. I would prefer for it to be in a regulated area rather than on the streets, and I prefer to know I can defend myself

    • profile image

      hi 

      7 months ago

      boxing should be banned

    • profile image

      LYM 

      8 months ago

      I think boxing shouldn't be banned because people choose to participate in this sport, they train day and night to be able to beat the best and people that think the sport should be banned , but they don't even play the sprt is wrong because you have no idea what you are taking from the players and all their hard work. Just like football, people get paid and train day and night to over come their goals and make their team or themsleves better than the day before.

    • profile image

      FELICIA 

      11 months ago

      I think boxing shoukd be banned because, people die all the time from boxing. Also people get serious concusions and struggle later on in life.

    • profile image

      Lunar Orbit 

      11 months ago

      I think that boxing and general combat sports should definitely not be banned, like other users have said, it would perhaps remove it somewhat from its current presence in society, although there would definitely remain pockets and underground activities still present. When we leave it legal, at least it gives us the chance to observe and examine it, and intervene and have our influence over it.

      Perhaps since boxing and all forms of fighting have been around so long, we have a deeper connection to it than we think ? I mean we've been fighting amongst each other throughout the entire history of humanity, a natural born warrior species, were programmed to fight, its an instinct. Choosing to engage physically is certainly a dominate, rational strategy our ancestors would have taken, given the fact that their conditions were so harsh, it certainly was fight for your life.

      To those who have trained in combat sports, as I have done for over 5 years, it can be a deeply rewarding experience, it feels absolutely amazing as well, pushing your body to its limits, overcoming fear and doubt, developing yourself as a competitor and taking part in the dance of the fight. The draw is understandable for an individual, living in the world that we do, being given a set of genes and DNA sequences and this social climate, it seems clear why fighting has evolved. Fighting sports are some of the most dynamic and physically demanding type of sports known to man.

      However having trained in combats I realise and have seen first hand the symptoms most participants eventually develop.I mean, your getting thumped all over your body repeatedly until you can literally not take it anymore, many of your delicate organs which carry out the necessary life functions and being destroyed via sheer force. Is it something we should be encouraging our children and young people to do ?

      I think that people should have the right to enter the sport, and that fighting gyms should be forced by law, to operate in a way which minimises the risk to fighters when training and competing. However I think that all people wanting to become a fighter must be given all the facts about it, things like the probability with which a fighter will develop brain problems compared with a non fighter, numbers of broken retenas etc all informed by the latest research on it.

      Boxing gyms should also screen the people who want to become members, training should not be given to individuals who exhibit, reckless, inconsiderate behaviours, fighting gives people a weapon, their own limbs, and this can and does get used in the public domain.

      Fighting sports should be conducted in a certain way, they should be taught as a means of self defence only, as a way to prevent further calamity, never to be used as a way of doing wrong, necessary harm to others. Create ethical fighters who accept the roles and responsibilities which are attached to fighting.

      In my life, after having a brief amateur career, I decided to take a step back, use it as something to keep my fitness up as well as being apart of a gym social group, but to refrain from competing full contact. I even avoid sparring for the most part although I occasionally get sucked in. I would recommend BJJ as the best to join, it has many of the health benefits without the head and organ damage,

      Peace out, Ill be watching from the moon

    • profile image

      Joe Barton 

      16 months ago

      I think boxing should not be banned

    • profile image

      Just 

      17 months ago

      Hi this is a good story and boxing shouldn't be banned

    • profile image

      HEY SUP NOTHING MUCH 

      18 months ago

      Boxing SHOULD NOT be banned because not just boxing is dangerous, but any other sports could be dangerous. So if we ban boxing, what is going to be banned next? Volleyball? Water polo? Soccer? Football? Hockey? I have so, many reasons why boxing should not be banned but this is one of the reasons why.

    • profile image

      ok 

      18 months ago

      sounds lit!

    • profile image

      Max Spiller 

      18 months ago

      Boxing is cool

    • profile image

      Person on the Internet 

      19 months ago

      I think that boxing should be banned on tv and in real life. Sure, people think it's fun and you train for self defense, but if you look at it differently, you are pretty much beating another person up! That's not cool bro.

    • profile image

      baba 

      19 months ago

      boxing=good

    • profile image

      teri an hortan ryder 

      20 months ago

      it should be banned because it promotes little children to fight and hurt people

    • profile image

      A cool star 

      21 months ago

      I think it should not be banned from the earth it is because it is very important for the peoples to save from the people who love fighting

    • profile image

      ggg 

      21 months ago

      no dont ban boxing

    • profile image

      Enjoy every bit of life 

      22 months ago

      I vote for not banning boxing...

    • profile image

      Mark 

      23 months ago

      There are a number of dangerous sports (auto racing, American football, rugby,bull riding rodeo, X-games sports etc) and you can't ban all of them. If it isn't banned at least adjust the rules of pro boxing: i.e. use the rules and the headgear presently found in amateur boxing to help mitigate some of the severe consequences of boxing while maintaining the skill, discipline physical fitness etc mentioned in the arguments against boxing being banning

    • profile image

      caveman 

      2 years ago

      Boxing shouldn't be banned because the people in the ring are willingly hitting each other. No one person was ever forced to box. Most of the time it was an alternative to going to jail. If the men in the ring were forced to do what they do it wouldn't be considered a sport it would be a punishment. Every hit in boxing builds strategy skills. Constantly looking for an open hit.

    • profile image

      conor mcgregor 

      2 years ago

      boxing should NOT be banned :)

    • profile image

      DOUBLE MMA CHAMP AND UFC TRIPLE BELT 

      2 years ago

      Boxing, Karate, Tai Jutsu and all other forms of Martial Arts should be respected and not banned due to their cultural richness.

    • profile image

      A guy 

      2 years ago

      Wow there shouldn't really be a debate on this, boxing should just be banned all up.

      Boom

    • profile image

      denny 

      2 years ago

      i think it should be banned because people getting hurt i dont want that

    • profile image

      nick 

      3 years ago

      The reasons for not banning boxing were poor excuses and completely untrue. An article from neurological studies was the strongest argument by itself, and our 21st century era has outgrown boxing. What boxing officials don't seem to grasp is that boxing gloves and head protection doesn't protect because the human head wasn't designed to take much in blows, regardless if it has artificial padding around it. The protection just adds a ton of weight that moves under force and impacts the head. Regardless of how they change the regulations, boxing is meant to impact the head for force the opponents to knockout or submit when they've had enough blows.

    • profile image

      Aaron c 

      3 years ago

      Cool

    • profile image

      Nam 

      3 years ago

      Why people agree that bõing should not be banned

    • mwilliams66 profile image

      mwilliams66 

      6 years ago from Left Coast, USA

      I am in no way a proponent of boxing. In fact I very much dislike it. This however, does not taint the fact that I don't believe it should be banned. I believe it would only serve to drive it underground.

      What I do feel should be banned is extreme fighting and MMA.

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