Arguments For and Against Banning Boxing
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.
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 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 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
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
Do you think that boxing should be banned?
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
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© 2012 Paul Goodman