Life is full of risks, and yet we take the risks day after day and minute after minute, if we didn't then we would never do anything. Yes, some things are more risky than others but if someone else is willing to take a risk that is bigger than a risk we are willing to take ourselves, who are we to judge? How many people have been seriously injured boxing compared to how many people have been injured in car crashes? And yet getting into a car and driving to work isn't considered a risk.
Another reason people might appose to boxing is humans, hurting humans as a job is a bit unnecessary right? So why is boxing, someone's occupation frowned upon more than such as a solider? Afterall a soldier harms other humans too, perhaps not intentionally but innocent people do sometimes get caught up in wars.
I have a brother who is a champion kickboxer, I couldn't be more proud of him if I tried. Yes it does hurt me to see him getting hurt or hurting someone else but it also makes me proud to see him achieving his dreams and progressing in the sport he is so dedicated to. I can see why people would want to ban the sport but there is so much more to the sport than injuries and hurting each other, there is lots of hard work and dedication, just like an athlete training for a race, a boxer spends hours a day training their body and brain to enable them to progress further up the career ladder and achieve their dream.
Boxing is a contact sport and, like many other contact sports, there is a risk of a certain amount of damage to individuals who participate in the sport, and unfortunately, can sometime, but not always, lead to a person being injured or even worse, death.
BOXING... Barbarism or Sport...???
I tend to go with the latter as I enjoy the sport very much.
Personally, I started boxing at school many years ago, (god I feel old), it taught me discipline, balance and most importantly respect... it also kept me fit and improved my hand-eye co-ordination.
As my interest in participation grew I joined a local gym at the age of 16 and, over my time, sparred with many opponents, (including a very famous Irishman who became world famous), my liking for the sport growing as my skills improved...
Then my career choice helped me continue in the respect I had acquired for this sport, contending in many amateur fights during my military life, (losing more than I care to remember... but some of them blokes are built like brick sh$t houses)...
But, unfortunately for me, a combination of injuries, (not caused by boxing), and a lack of time to practice, my boxing career ended before it began really... staying in the amateur status, wearing the silly t-shirt and head guard for what seemed like forever.
To be honest, I do sometimes think about getting back into the sport, (usually when I've had a few pints and my brains turned into putty...) but when I come to my senses I realise that I am just too bloody old... ow well, never mind....
* VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SPORT...
Derived in Ancient Greece this sport has risen through time to become a vast money making game which is not quite as dangerous now as it was back in its beginning, mainly due to the medical response and the pre-fight examinations which are taken.
It is a combat sport between two people of roughly the same proportion, using their gloved covered semi-clenched fist to try and defeat their opponent... it is a sport which is regulated by a referee inside a 'ring' of rope...(which is not actually a ring but a square..? with four corners... one corner for each fighter and two neutral corners where the fighters have to stand in the event of a 'knockdown' or a 'count' )
A boxing match, or a 'bout' as it is called, is decided over 12 rounds... (although this used to be 15, but in the very early years it used to be until a fighter dropped..?)...
The entire 'bout' is watched over by a full medical team and many 'officials' who are ready to jump in in case of any troubles...
The 'bout, can be ended by either a Knockout... which is as it sounds, when a fighter can no longer continue to fight... or a TKO, (technical knockout... which means that the referee or the 'second' by throwing in the towel, stops the fight if he thinks that a fighter is unfit to continue...)...
The other result is on points' which means that the fight has gone the entire distance of 12 rounds and the ringside judges decide on who wins the bout, (as they score points during each 'round' for certain things as they fight... such as hits, dodges, combinations etc.etc.)
* THE DOWNSIDE OF BOXING...
Boxing is a full contact sport and because of this around 1500 deaths have occurred since the beginning of this sports recordable life, but over the passed decade, through better controls and improved health checks the death rates have fallen slightly... although not completely eradicated ... I believe there have been some 70 fatalities inside the ring since 1998, with 2001 being the worst year consisting of 12 deaths...
But, all sports have there fatalities... (although not as many as boxing I must admit) here are a few examples
* Football... Renato Curi (1977), David John Longhurst (1990), Mohamed Abdelwahab (2006), Marc Vivien Foe (2003) Antonio Puerta (2007)... ... and others
* Cycling... Spains Manuel Galera in the Tour of Andalusia, Fabio Casartelli in the tour de France (1995) and most recently the Portuguese Bruno Neves racing in the 'Classica de Amaranth (2008), and others
* Bobsleighing... Italian Sergio Zardini (1931), American James Patrick Morgan (1981) and German Yvonne Cernota (2004), and others
* Horse racing... Charles Boland (1961), Avelino Gomez (1980), Willy Kan Waai-Yue (1999), Philip Cheng Cheong-tat (2000), and others
* Wrestling... Malcolm Kirk (1987), Gary Albright (2000), larry Latham (2003), Daniel Michael Quirk (2005), and others.
And then there's motor racing, (which has many fatalities), motorcycling, skiing and most other sports....
In fact, the majority of sports are dangerous and can all have fatalities.
* THE PUBLIC OUTCRY...
Many people, including medical bodies such as the BMA, are constantly calling for this sport to be banned because of the damage that it causes to the fighters, usually brain injuries such as clots or severe damage leading to the fighters acting sluggish with slurred speak... this is known as 'Punch Drunk'... but to ban this sport would be a massive mistake as it would simply take the sport 'underground' where there is no real medical attachment leading to many avoidable deaths...
When ever a death occur, (in any sport), there is a public outcry for rules to be changed and lessons to be learnt... but if consenting adults are willing to put themselves forward for what they enjoy then why should the watching public be offended by this..? Why should people want a sport banned if the contenders are more than happy to be doing what they do even though they know the risks involved..?
* MY OPINION...
For me boxing is a sport which teaches people discipline, balance and respect... very much like many forms of martial arts... and if practiced in a controlled situation it is a good form of exercise and confidence builder, giving the participants a feel good factor as they realise their potential...
The sport will always be a dangerous one, probably with many more deaths to come, but as long as the contenders are willing then is it not up to them to put there lives on the line for the sport they love?
And as the medical interventions improve we will hopefully see less deaths with-in the ring....(although the phase 'punch-drunk' will always be associated with boxing).
And before you sit there and start ranting about how barbaric it is for two people to stand face to face and punch each other just think about the fact that that situation probably happens every few minutes outside the local pubs and clubs, only with boxing there's someone there to control it and a team of highly trained medical people ready to step in.
As for the question, IS BOXING WORTH THE RISK..?
I'd have to say YES, if managed in a controlled manner as it will bring respect and discipline to those that want to learn the sport. (With respect and discipline being a very rare commodity from the youth of today).
If you want to give it a go then go to your local boxing club and get some information... it may seem like a brutal sport but it is by far the greatest confidence builder, (along side losing your virginity I suppose).
I love the sport and have followed it for about 25 years. I have been to many big fights, my first being Frank Bruno's first challenge for a world title against Tim Witherspoon in 1986 with my dad as a fourteen year old kid.
The atmosphere was incredible and I can remember imagining what it must feel like standing in front of all those people, about to go to battle with another man knowing you have to try and hurt him before he hurts you!. In the next few minutes you could become a hero to thousands if not millions or you could be humiliated and worse still injured or .......?.
As a young boy these were no normal men for me they are the bravest of the brave, kings amongst men, true warriors, imagine being in their boots!
It is still for me the greatest sport in the world but with that it brings some of the greatest risks. Those taking part know what can happen to themselves or to their opponent yet still they lace on their gloves, why? Some out of necessity to put food on the tables of their families, some to get a high from pushing themselves to the limits, others have seen famous fighters through the years and idolised them to the point of wanting to be like them.
But although they all know there is a chance of making that ultimate sacrifice of taking a life or losing their own or in some cases such as Gerald McClellan after his fight with Nigel Benn suffering horrific long term disabilities.
(He has recently recovered some ability to walk, being helped by a cane, but he has not recovered his eyesight. In addition to being blind and almost deaf, his short-term memory was also profoundly affected) they nearly all continue. Even the ones, who got into the fight game "just to make money," find the drug of boxing hard to give up.
We can all point to more dangerous activities and other sports where deaths and injuries are more frequent, but in Boxing the fighters are trying to hurt each other for just for long enough to have their arm raised at the end of the bout, and as long as they do things will go wrong.
Myself? I still love the sport, but when a fighter goes down after the initial excitement the first thing I want to see is him getting to his feet and shaking hands with his opponent. When this does not happen and tragedy strikes, it is hard for even the biggest fan not to question themselves as to why they still watch boxing.
As long as those involved know the risks and want to willingly compete, and we do all we can to make it as safe as possible, I for one will continue to watch as I think those involved are an amazing group of individuals taking part in the greatest sport of all.
Nothing is worth the risk when it all goes wrong but nothing can surley give a much greater feeling when it all comes good. ( the same as most things in life)
I do understand this question, but find it hard to answer, I spar and train with punchbags but have never had the desire to get in the ring, but if I wanted to get in the ring and box, I think I should have every right to do it.
It is known as the noble sport, pitching two warriors against each other in combat, it is a skilful trade where sometimes you don't have to be the strongest, or biggest puncher to win.
Is it worth the risk, well looking at Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier or Michael Watson you might question if it is worth the risk, being left with Parkinsons or Brain damage is something even money can't cater for, it does ruin your life and for a simple way to make a living, I understand why people find it repulsive and say it should be banned, but I also understand people who believe its their right to box if they want to, the Boxing board in Great Britain have great medical facilities and staff and test people thoroughly before fights, but nothing can prepare for a powerful punch to the side of the head and falling on your face awkwardly.
Overall, boxing has been about since the first olympics, amateur boxing is controlled with headguards and less rounds, professional boxing has incredible facilities and relies on referees to end fights before things get too bad.
Personally I don't think it should be banned, but I do understand whty people complain and will continue to, I believe in choice and if somebody wants to box, motivated by their desire to be the best, or by money, they should be allowed to do so.
Is boxing worth the risk? Now I could ask thousands of people this and get countless responses back. Boxing can be a very dangerous sport, and has led to recent injuries in the past, the worst case being death but also long term mental injuries such as the all famous Muhammed Ali, who suffers from Parkinson's disease after one of his bouts. Also there is Frank Bruno, Who now has serious mental problems.
So in conclusion to this yes I admit boxing is a risk. But isn't any other contact sport such as rugby? Or even skateboarding and BMXing? There are plenty of other sports out there, 90% of them which involve one risk or another. So why should anyone even consider banning this wonderful sport. There are many people out there who have participated in this sport their whole life's such as me. And another group of people who love the sport with a passion because Boxing I believe is more of an art then a sport.
In my personal opinion I think boxing is a risk, but its all down to the individual if he/she wants to risk this. I'm willing to risk it because I enjoy the sport too much and get a great feel and sense of achievement from it. I think there would be quite a bit of commotion too if it was banned, as it's a very popular sport which many people love. I also think if it was ever banned it would just turn into illegal undercover boxing, which is even worse.
So overall I think it is a risk, but the participants choice. And it definitely shouldn't be banned. If it was all other sports might as well be banned too as they offer the same amount of risk.
Hope this review helps. Thanks for reading.
This is an interesting one because reading a good few of the reviews already on this subject, it looks like people's opinions on boxing is completely split down the middle.
Boxing is really a matter of opinion. On the one hand it is a barbaric sport which centres around two human beings punching each other until the other submits or is outscored - It is brutal. On the other hand it is an incredibly skillful sport which requires strength, power, stamina, agility and speed.
It is almost impossible to protect boxing and suggest it is not anything other than barbaric and I would not try and would almost definitely fail to change someones mind about boxing if they have already forged there opinion on it. However there are a number of misconceptions surrounding the sport which I feel unjustifyably gives it a bad reputation.
Firstly you have to consider the roots of the sport itself. The sport of boxing has its origins in the forms of hand to hand combat derived from the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The earliest forms of "pugilism" (the original term used to describe boxing) arrived on the British Isles when the Romans conquered them in the first century. Now this is a well documented past leading all the way up to what we know boxing to be today. Why do I comment on the history of boxing? Well heres why.
Boxing seems to be the only "hand to hand" combat sport that is routinely demonised by non-boxing fans and the press, yet other sports of a similar nature go completely untouched e.g
So why is it that despite the violent nature of all these sports, boxing is the one that stands out. Well I believe its down to two main reason, one, its popularity and exposure (people see it more thus make an opinion about it more readily than other martial arts) , and two the fact that all the other martial arts have strong links to culture and in particular religious beliefs. Infact so strong is the entwined nature of martial art and religion, that people actually see some of these sports as appearing "spiritual" in nature.
This for me is where boxing has gone wrong, as its sense of history, culture and own spirituality has been completely lost in its translation from its early greek/egyptian roots. People cannot identify with the sport so they make a decision purely based on its bruttish nature. Karate on the other hand has successfully embeded itself in Japanese culture and thus becomes an acceptable form of violence! Please don't shroud the other sports in there common theme of "self defence" (a convienient cloak to hide its face, that is; its still fighting!)), they are still violent AND boxing is taught in exactley the same way (the ability to defend yourself). If you go to any of the clubs around the country, the kids are taught the discipline and respect that goes with the sport, they are not taught to use their new skills outside of the ring. Of course this can and does happen, but surely it is the individual who has to take responsibility for their actions, not the umberalla of boxing?!
The other leading argument regarding the sport is how dangerous it actually is. Lets make no bones about it, boxing is incredibly dangerous. People are injured beyond repair and in some really sad cases have been killed. Obviously with evidence like this, it supplies all the ammunition you need if you don't like the sport. However there is one question that people never seem to consider. What do the boxers think? they are the ones that go into the ring and take the risks. Do they think its dangerous? Would they ban boxing even when in some cases (e.g Michael Watson) they have been severely injured.
The answer is YES they do think its dangerous and NO they wouldn't ban it. why? because they love doing it. Michael Watson was asked those very questions and I feel his opinion is worth a million to those who just say it should be banned because it is dangerous without really knowing much about the sport.
This was on a BBC Sport Forum:
Question: Do you still feel the same way about boxing as you did before or do you now feel that more has to be done to protect fighters against the risk of serious brain or spinal injury?
"I still love boxing and what has happened to me has happened for a reason. I have been saved so that I can save others. And people like Spencer Oliver and Paul Ingle have benefited from the protection that has been enforced since my accident.
I still go to fights. I went to see Audley Harrison's first professional fight and I would even like to be considered one day as a boxing pundit, God willing".
In summary, boxing is a dangerous sport. Its objective is brutal and people do get hurt. On the flip side, its also an incredibly skillful sport, it teaches discipline and respect (if you don't believe this you have never been to a boxing club) and offers a focus to many kids who don't have it in their lives. If we ban boxing then I would want to see a ban on ALL hand to hand combat sports, anything other than this would be shrouded in hipocracy. last year 3 boxers died in the ring. 5 people died show jumping.
Would enjoy hearing your comments
I am surprised at the comments here...justifying boxing as good sport by throwing out freedom of man etc etc. well i have the freedom to run over people in my car and its a risk, and it can be made into a sport, the rist is people have to simply make way through the car without being hit. See where i am going? This simply shows the viloent nature of man!
With the upcoming big one I felt like covering this brilliant and rather poignant subject that dooyoo have allowed us to discuss. I'm also hoping for not serious harm to any of the combatants on Saturday, a day which is very very special to big boxing fans, world wide. Not only is their to super card in Las Vegas, thanks to Oscar De La Hoya's GoldenBoy Promotions (GBP) but theirs 3 other great cards that I'm hoping to catch via TV or internet streams.
The first of these will feature unbeaten German "King" Arthur Abraham defending his IBF middleweight title against Britain's very own Wayne Elcock in Basel (Switzerland).
Then comes a double header from the home nations as Bolton pays host's to it's own goldenboy the Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan who faces his sternest test Graham Earl, who we last say in a thriller with "The Great" Michael Katsidis for the WBO interim title back in February. If the Khan Earl fight delivers even half of what that fight did were in for a great one, also on the Bolton card is the Contenders Paul Smith defending his unbeaten record and hoping to add to his momentum against Francis Cheka. Also on the Bolton card are up coming talents: Anthony Crolla, Jamie Cox, Dean Francis and one of the most talked about young heavyweights in British boxing Tony Bellew.
Where as across those fair waters in Belfast's Kings Hall we see unbeaten Irish-American superstar John Duddy faces off the former world middleweight title contender "The Battersea Bomber" Howard Eastman, who is looking to restart his career after 4 losses in his last 6 (losses coming to Middleweight great Bernard Hopkins, Edison Miranda and the two who are to face off in Basel). Also on this card is the delightful Stephen Haughian V Giammario Grassellini fight and Paul McCloskey looks to make it 14-0. Where as Martin Lindsay faces his toughest challenge yet, against the man they call El Guapito, Edison Torres.
Then theirs the American super card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, a fight that's probably the most talked about fight since Lennox Lewis went and took the games biggest title in the Holyfield rematch. "Undefeated" as the card is being called manages to fill the undercard with some brilliant names as well as the main event. For those paying Sky for the privilege, or even watching it at the arena you're going to be in for a treat. Just scratching the surface of the talent heavy card we see 2 Joe Calzgahe victims face of in what can only be described as a crossroad fight for Jeff "Left Hook" Lacy after a poor showing against Vitali Tsypko almost a year ago he gets the chance to face "The Pride Of Providence" Peter Manfredo Jr. who is 2-0 since the Calzaghe fight.
Whilst the "Cherry Bomb" Edner Cherry faces Wes Ferguson in a rematch of their fight from June which Cherry won via a points decision. The only other fight that boxrec have gotten on the card is the monstrous puncher Daniel Ponce de Leon defending his WBO super Bantamweight title against Eduardo Escobedo, which could well be the wildest of the fights of the night...or alternatively the shortest. Those who saw De Leon face Ray "Boom-boom" Bautista will attest to just how quickly Danny boy can finish off his rivals...
...Is there something I'm missing?...Oh yeah the big one "Pretty boy" Floyd Mayweather jr. defends not only his WBC welterweight title (that he took from Carlos Manuel Baldomir) but also his 0 against our own very pretty, "Hitman" Ricky Hatton who is also unbeaten. The combined records for the fight stands at 81-0-0 and much like the Kessler V Calzaghe fight two of the top guys at the weight get it on. Who's 0 will go?
Anyway back onto the subject matter at hand, will any of these aforementioned guys get hurt or seriously injured? Is boxing "Too" dangerous?
You may be asking why I've put the speech marks around the word "too", well as a huge fan of boxing, common sense dictates 2 guys punching each other for up to 36 minutes isn't exactly tiddlywinks, people do and will get hurt. It's a contact sport, and as with all contact sports injuries do occur, some big ones and some minor ones, some internal, some superficial they do happen. Whether it's a cut like the one that had John Simpsons face looking like he'd fallen head first into a paint tin when he faced Derry Matthews or a bloodclot on the brain such as the one suffered by Gerald McClellan against Nigel Benn (which I'll go into more detail about much later on).
As a sport you're not wanting to see your big names out for months at a time with a major injury. And to name names, I'll have to mention Johnny Wilkinson and Gary Neville here, where as with boxing your big names don't have centralised contracts, they get paid for the fights they take part in (bet Winston Bogarde's agent is glad Winston was a footballer). The key that this really plays in the safety aspect of a sport is if theirs a lot of key injury's the sport needs changing, theirs not point in having the greatest sport in the world if no one can compete at it. But does boxing need changing?
Well lets go back in time a little bit, to when boxing became more of a sport rather than as an entertainment form for the rich white upper classes, who would pit two slaves together and watch as the two beat each other senseless bare fisted. Despite boxing being classed as "prize fighting" in the early 1700's it was more of a "my mates harder than your mate" style fight. The boxers wore no gloves, their was no referee, no weight divisions and even no time limits, this changed when Jack Broughton wrote up the first rules for "boxing" which were then called "London Prize rules", which were done to somewhat limit the deaths that the sport had seen a few times. The rules were the foundation for the sport we now know, and even use to some extent with an "8 count" rule dating back to the 1740's.
After this we went to what is fondly called "The Marquess of Queensbury rules" which finally specified time limits for rounds "The rounds to be of three minutes' duration, and one minute's time between rounds." The Marquess rules also stated "you must not fight simply to win; no holds barred is not the way; you must win by the rules" and said gloves had to be of a reasonable size. Oddly the gloves both helped safety and hindered it, without gloves a persons hands were damaged much easier meaning that after a round or two a person may not be able to throw 100% behind their shots, which helped people take less damage from punches. On the flip side of this however was that when gloves were introduced the hands stood up better and thusly lead to a higher amount of punches, which in turn has lead to a heightened number of cases of head trauma's.
At the late 1800's we saw bare knuckle boxing outlawed and the 1900's despite having little legitimacy overall saw all fights go gloved. The champion of the early 1890's was John L. Sullivan who lost the title to "Gentleman Jim", James J. Corbett. Sullivan died at the ripe age of 59 due not to boxing injuries but due to alcoholic related health problems. Corbett v Sullivan's title fight lasted for 21 rounds, which back then was the normal, though Corbett had gone to a more strategic jabbing tactic to Sullivan's bulrush tactics (hmm can I already see similarities to this Saturdays big one...?) which was starting to go one more step towards modern day boxing. Corbett also didn't die due to boxing related injuries, he passed away at the age of 67 due to liver cancer.
Corbett then passed the torch onto Bob Fitzsimmons despite being bloodied due to Corbetts' jab Fitzsimmons body punches took their toll on the bigger man (Corbett came into the ring a full stone heavier). Bob lost to one of boxing's first all American hero's in James J. Jeffries conceding the heavyweight title in the fight. However 4 years after the Jeffries fight Fitzsimmons faced off against Con Coughlin, who died the day after Bob KO'd him, which was one of the most high profile deaths of the time (1903) in the world of sport. Fitzsimmons ended up having over 80 documented fights (and a reported 350+ fights) and ended up living to the age of 54 before dying of pneumonia.
Jeffries now on top of the world's most prestigious prize retired with a record of 18-0-2 which included 14 KO's (including one of a fight that lasted a mere 55 seconds). During the second Fitzsimmons fight Jeffries face was apparently punched into a bloodied mess with a broken nose, bloodied cheeks and the proverbial crimson mask effect before landing huge shots putting Fitzsimmons down for the count. Jeffries retired undefeated and Marvin Hart fought Jack Root for the vacant title before losing it to Tommy Burns who in turn passed it onto Jack Johnson.
Johnson was the first black champion and was at one point described as the most hated man in sport. Jeffries came back from retirement to try and take the title back for the white man against the supposedly inferior black man. Johnson managed to put the first L on Jeffries record, who had not boxed in 6 years and had bloated up to over 300lb's needing to lose 100 pounds before the fight. Johnson won despite the huge racist background of the fight, with the crowd chanting racist remarks in what was to be dubbed "Fight of the Century".
Now remember that each of the former champions (Sullivan, Corbett, Burns, Hart, Johnson and Jeffries all lived to over 50, 54 being the youngest, Jeffries living to well into his 70's). This early time in boxing had been pretty low in the major injuries and the death toll was still very low, so even before the likes of brain scans boxers weren't dropping like flies, like some would have you believe, even more remarkable is the fact that Johnson had managed well over 120 fights and was also killed due to something boxing wouldn't have caused, a car crash.
Next came the Pottawatomie Giant Jess Willard, a giant of a man, who stood at 6' 6"1/2 and weighed 245 lb's (a record until Primo Carnera won the title nearly 20 years later). Willard was then dubbed "The Great White Hope" due to being the coloured Johnson (a fight Johnson claimed he took a dive in), Willard himself dropped the title to Jack Dempsey in one of the most brutal fights of the early boxing era. Dempsey was a brawler, a mauler and a hard hitting vicious animal who's ended up recording 51 KO wins. The Willard V Dempsey fight was to be a modern David and Goliath with "David" knocking down the bigger giant 7 times in the first round alone and leaving the champion looking a mess with injuries including:
several teeth knocked out
partial hearing loss in one ear
and broken ribs.
Despite these injuries he did fight twice again and lived to 86 dying in the 1960's Dempsey himself lived to 87 dying in 1983 from natural causes. Does this early day boxing seem like it was too dangerous? It most certainly sounds more vicious than the modern day heavyweights such as Ruslan Chagaev and Sultan Ibragimov are ever gonna be.
After the Willard fight boxing finally had it's high octane, exciting, champion it had longed for, rather than the skillfull mastery of Johnson or the gigantic but not brilliant Willard. Dempsey's all action style brought a new audience to boxing, and brought prestige to the fight game, which helped it secure the first million $ gate against Georges Carpentier, a fight that maybe reminiscent of the Mayweather-Hatton fight. Dempsey a brawler much like Hatton where as Carpentier was known for being quick, skilful and managing to hold a career together with huge weight flucuations (ranging by 50 pounds from the start to the end of his career). If we wish to read more into this, we'll also note that Dempsey won via a 4th round KO after Georges had broken a thumb in the second (again a parallel with "Undefeated" is that Mayweathers hands are notoriously fragile). This fight was also the first to be broadcast on radio, showing Dempsey's appeal to the average American and finally boosting boxing into the mainstream for the right reasons (as opposed to the racism aimed at Johnson).
Gene Tunney, "The fighting Marine" was to dethrone Dempsey in a fight in 1926 where Dempsey had gotten "ring rust" after having been out of the ring for 3 years doing what we now see sports stars do far too much, endorsing products, as well as making movie. Tunney who was 79-1-3 going into the fight was seen as the rank outsider, with no one really knowing just how badly Dempsey would return to boxing, losing the punching power that had made him an American idol. The fight against showing the growing appeal to boxing, had an attendance of 120,557 (the second highest sporting attendance of all time, only behind the 1950 soccer world cup finals between Brazil and Uruguay), to put this figure into perspective, it's just underneath 3 full Anfield's or over 2 full Celtic Park's . I know I'm going off tangent with the roots of boxing here, but I always feel background knowledge is a useful tool. A rematch followed in a fight we now know as "The long count fight", which was to be Dempsey's last, this fight had more interest than the first (despite a lower gate attendance) it was the first fight to generate $2 million dollars only 6 years after the Carpentier fight, with Tunney having a $1 million dollar purse (Dempsey received $½ million). This fight was one of the most controversial but also a major turning point in the rules of boxing, a rule was brought in to allow a boxer to get to his feet after a knock down, a fighter who scores the knock down is to be moved to a neutral corner allowing the other guy to get up. Apparently Dempsey didn't realise this, and the count was delayed as he waited over Tunney giving Gene a reported extra 4 seconds to get to his feet. Tunney went on to win again on points, with Dempsey retiring soon afterwards due to problems with the muscles in his left eye.
I know this has been pretty much a big man only write up until now, though I will mention another star of the sport, a young scrawny looking welsh bloke, nick named "The mighty Atom", Jimmy Wilde made his debut at the tender age of 16 fighting at fair ground boxing booths. Before making a (recorded) professional debut in 1911, Wilde's claimed of having had 800+ fights in the booths will never truly be known as to be fact or fiction, though what isn't fiction is that the "Ghost with the Hammer in his Hand" (among other names) could hit like a mule. What else isn't totally known is just how many fights Jimmy actually had, with Boxrec (usually the most accurate source for these things) saying he retired with: won 137 (KO 99) + lost 5 (KO 3) + drawn 2 = 152.
Why have I included this guy? And why don't the numbers match up? Well 8 of his fights were No Contests (also called No Decision), which easily answers the second part. The first part though is that I'd like to show how safe boxing really is, with easily over 100 fights (by everyone's records) this man guy liked to fight and often with people bigger than himself, including Pete Herman who weighed a full stone more than Wilde who lived a full life even after boxing. To again put something into perspective weight wise, it would be like a modern day Light middleweight (lets take Oscar De La Hoya) facing off against a modern day Super Middleweight (lets take the current Welsh god Joe Calzaghe). Wilde himself lived to the ripe old age of 86, not exactly an age you'd expect a 100+ fight ring veteran to live to if boxing was "too" dangerous. Also to the best of my knowledge none of Wilde's victims were ever seriously injured.
Back to the big guys, as that's the most fun to research, and their the most likely to hurt each other*. Tunney would then retire with the title, for the first time since Jeffries over 20 years previous. This sort of thing does seem to bug the boxing fraternity as they then don't have a linear champion, the championship is almost put on ice and left vacant, in this case in this case for almost 2 years (as opposed to the 10 or so months between Jeffries and Hart), until Jack Sharkey and Max Schmeling met for the first time. The fight it's self could be one of the cover up's of the millenium, or one of the most painful nights in any boxers history. Max was hit low and hard, and managed to win the title via DQ for the first and still currently only time in the heavyweight division, despite the Schmeling blood line possibly being cut short after this one shot to poor 'lil Max (who'se name changed to "poor swollen max"). The German is one of the best examples of how safe boxing really is, Schmeling was the first none american to hold the title since the British Fitzsimmons** nearly 30 years previous, Schmeling would defend his title once succesfully before rematching with Sharkey who won a hugely contreversial fight which result in the NYSAC*** barring any but "boxing experts" (sports writers, referees, judges) from broadcasting descriptions of future matches (this would have me out of a job). Some stating this was a result of the Nazi steamroller in German politics, which lead later on to a pair of fights which became world events.
Sharkey held the title until facing "The Ambling Alp" Primo Carnera, Carnera, like Willard, was a man mountain standing at 6'5"1/2 and around 260 pounds (the heaviest world chapion until Nikolay Valuev 70 years later). The "Alp's" fight previous to his title fight did see one of the rare deaths in the sport at the time (however I'm going to talk about this in more detail in a little bit) when he KO'd Earnie Schaaf. Carnera's win over Sharkey took the title back to Europe via a KO in 6 for the Italian. Carnera managed 103 fights, and lived upto the age of 61 before a mixture of his diabeties and liver dieseas brought him to the final bell. Now came one of the hardest hitters in the sports history and the guy who's career is haunted by the deaths of two major compeititors. Max Baer, who dropped Carnera 11 times before the italian could continue no longer.
Now why did I leave Schaaf as merely a page note when speaking about Carnera? Well previous to facing the Italian giant Schaff had faced Baer, "Mad Maxi" as he was known was wanting revenge for a defeat at the hands of Schaaf some time previous. Baer's power punching had been well known from a fight with Frankie Campbell (I'll again go back to this), Schaff lasted all 10 rounds of the fight, but only just, 2 seconds after the final bell Schaaf collapsed and was suffering for several minutes after the fight. Soon after the fight many friends said they'd seen a change in him, and he'd been complaining of headaches, with reports that he was showing what we'd now aknowledge as brain damage, he was to face Carnera. A single jab by Carnera in the 13th round KO'd Earnie and put him into a coma, a coma he would wake up from for a few minutes maximum before passing away. With advances in medication today he'd have never been allowed back into the ring after the beating Baer gave him, though these are different times to the 1930's. As far as Baer was concerned the death of Frankie Campbell 3 years previous bothered him hugely, where Baer had repeatedly thrown hard shots on to what any onlookers thought was an unconscious Campbell. Campbell died in hospital the following day, though during the fight Campbell is said to have mentioned that ""something feels like it snapped in my head." The referee and most of the conermen from the fight were banned afterwards due to their almost inability to know when their fighter was hurt. The two Baer related deaths are unfairly shown in the brilliant biopic of James J Braddock "Cinderella man", and what is totally missing from the movie is that Baer gave a percentage of every purse afterwards to Campbells wife and was being charged with manslaughter (the case was later dropped).
Baer, who was 1/2 jewish would go on to annoy Hitler when he beat Schmeling, before dropping the title via a hard fought and close points contest with the aforementioned Braddock (in one of the last major scenes in "Cinderella man") Braddocks heart winning the fight against Baer. This is where the politics of the time really catches up with boxing, Braddock had an offer to face Schmeling for around $25,000 or young upcoming black American for a reported £250,000 and a 10% cut of all future purses of this young blackman. This black man no other than "The Brown Bomber" himself Joe Louis. Louis had been beaten by Schmeling a year earlier in one of the sports biggest ever upsets, with odds quoted as being "10-to-1 Louis would win, 4-to-1 he would win by kayo, and 2-to-1 Schmeling wouldn't be on his feet in the seventh round."
Now with Braddock being an astute businessman (this also comes true about Schmeling incidentally) Braddock decided to face the American, rather than the German (1937, Nazi Germany etc), with Braddock knowing either way he'd likely lose. Although their was some suspicious circumstances behind the Schmeling fight falling through, despite having been arranged it was cancelled almost in the last minute.
Louis dispacthed the Cinderella man in the 8th round, despite being put down in the first himself, 3 title defenses and a year to the day that Louis won the title he would face off against the only man, who had, by that point beaten him. Max Schmeling, a fight that was broadcast by radio in both Europe and America. An American negro Versus a White German, a boxer for the Nazi youth to look upto as he was supposed to repeat the feat of 2 years previous and knock out the man of "inferior" race, a time to show German dominance to the world and the fraility of the black man. Well that was the idea behind it for Mr Hitler, who's worst nightmare was about to occur. The fight lasted 2:04 of the first round, before the German was stopped by TKO. Previous to the fight Schmeling was being portrayed by both the German media and the american media as being a Nazi himself, a ficticious tale he spent most of his life defending hiself from. The loss to a black man (who was now only the second black "World" heavyweight champion) was an ebaressment for Hitler, who then drafted Schmeling into the Luftwaffe (German Airforce) for the second world war, some say this was due soley to the defeat at the hands of Joe Louis. As apt as anyone to show the risks of boxing, Schmeling would later come through the war, and live upto the grand old age of 99 (missing out on his 100th birthday by 10 months), this despite fighting in the war and having 70 professional boxing contests.
Louis defended his title through the war and right up to his first retirement in 1949 after two successive wins over Jersey Joe Walcott, at his retirement he had a record standing at 61-1-0, the sole loss being to Schmeling, he'd reigned as champion for 23 successful title defenses over 11 years, 2 records that have never been even callenged in the division (though they have been bettered in others, in the modern day and age of multiple titles at a weight, rather than as a single undisputed champion). For the third time in the history of the heavyweight title, it had become vacant. Ezzard Charles took the mantle of the worlds best heavyweight boxer (mainly due to being unable to get a title shot at light heavyweight), and despite not being universally accepted as the worlds best until, due to financial difficulty Louis came out of retirement in 1950 and Charles beat him.
At light heavyweight tragedy had struck charles when he was facing Sam Baroudi, Baroudi had apparently given a good account of himself for the first 1/2 of the fight before Charles' vicious shots started to take their toll on the younger man, and he was KO'd, dying later from his injuries suffered at the hands of Charles. Im sorry for not being more clued up on this ring accident.
Charles lost the belt to Jersey Joe Walcott who had (as previously mentioned) twice failed to take the strap from Joe Louis. Walcott (no relation to Theo, despite the rumours the Sun has circulated) was 1-1 with Charles and now was the decider, could Charles become the first man to regain the championship?...Well no he couldn't, Walcott won a close but unananimous points decision before fighting the unbeaten rock, the unstoppable force, the power punching hero that took older fans back to the likes of Jack Dempsey, "The Brockton Blockbuster" as he was nick named, Rocky Marciano as he was popularly known (and Rocco Francis Marchegiano as he was born). Marciano who was 42-0-0 going into the fight, made it 43-0-0 with his 13th round KO of Walcott (who upto this point had been the oldest champion at the ripe old age of 37, and if Evander Holyfield gets his way, we may one day see a 70 year old world champion). The "Suzy-Q" as Marchiano dubbed it, saved him from having his 0 removed, as he'd been out boxed overall by Walcott who'd decked him in the first. A rematch was held in which Rocky decked Walcott in the first for a first round KO.
Marciano's career, like that of Baer, Fitzsimmons and Carnera was also marked by a serious injury (well several to be honest). The first major one was to Carmine Vingo, who's career Rocky ended, when Rocky's hard shots left Vingo with a brain hemorrhage and he was hospitalized in a critical condition, but recovered and (hopefully I'm not going to curse him here) will celebrate his 78th birthday in less than 3 weeks. Happy birthday Carmine. A second one, was actually to Marciano, and wasn't serious as in life threatening, but still one worth talking about, during a fight with Ezzard Charles Rocky's nose had been split****. Not broken across the top, but literally split down the middle, with his face becoming a crimson mask, the referee said it's be game over if Rocky Failed to KO Charles in that round, an act Marciano did indeed do. Further defences put Rocky to 49-0 before retiring as the unbeaten heavyweight champion, however unlike the only previous man to have done this (Jeffries some 50 or so years previous) Rocky didn't have another fight. Though rumours had spread that he was going to face the new champion Ingemar Johansson if Johansson was to beat Floyd Patterson.
I'll go back to the heavyweights in a little bit, because right now I'd like to talk about a boxing superstar who's nick name is still getting "borrowed". Sugar Ray Robinson, who had started boxing back when Joe Louis was doing his thing in the bigger division, the two had both ended up joining the army and becoming close friends due to it. In 1947 tragedy struck the career of a young Robinson, defending his World Wleterweight title (147 lbs) against Jimmy Doyle. The night before the fight Robinson (now going to be refered to simple as SRR) had dreamed of accidentally killing Doyle, he tried to pull out of the fight before being persuaded to go through with it, which he did. The dream, became a nightare reality for Doyle, who in the 8th round got caught with a shot that "...knocked Jimmy rigid..." and Doyle hit the canvas as though his heels were "hinged to the canvas". Doyle was taken to hospital but died not long after surgery to ease the pressure on his brain. SRR described Doyle's death as being "very trying".
Wisely SRR went from welterweight to middleweight (allowing him an extra 17lb's of weight), it was at this weight he would meet Jake La Motta for a 6th time, and the fight dubbed "The St Valentines Massacre". The fight ended after SRR spent 9 minutes almost, with relentless pressure, baying for blood and to stop his nemesis, trying to take "The Raging Bull" off his feet for the first time in his career. Barring the thrown fight of La Motta's against Billy Fox this was the first time Lamotta had ever been stopped, the fights between the two are covered in some aspect by the Martin Scorsese film "Raging Bull".
Whilst were on the subject of Lamotta, he defeated french great Marcel Cerdan, who like Rocky Marciano died in a plane crash, in Marciano's case it was a fair few years after his retirementm with Cerdan, it was whilst on route to face La Motta in a rematch. So maybe boxer's should refrain from planes, as them (and other motor vehicle's) seem to be a killer problem for boxers and their family's.
Anyway lets get back to the big guys, we'd just left it at Rocky's retirement, leaving the belt vacant again (much like what had happened after Jeffries, Tunney and Louis), the title remained this way for over 3 years until it was put up for grabs in the fight between "The Gentleman of Boxing" Floyd Patterson, who would go onto to defeat old Marciano foe, Archie Moore. "The Old Mongoose" could only go 5 rounds with the younger, fresher youthful Patterson, who at 21 years and 10 months became the youngest heavyweight champion. Patterson was to cave the way for future "nibble" heavyweights such as Chris "Rapid fire" Byrd in the 1990's. Ingemar Johansson finally dethroned Patterson becoming the first man to take the belt back to europe since 1934 (Primo Carnera), and becoming Sweedens first world champion boxer. The swede's reign was short lived and lasted about a year before Patterson won the rematch and the rubber match both by KO, to become the first man to regain the title. A feat Jeffries had failed to do (against Johnson), Schmeling (Louis) and both Walcott and Charles (Marciano) among others, although this reign lasted 1 successful defense before being beaten by the brute Sonny Liston. Sadly for Patterson his fast feet were no match Sonny's jackhammer like shots, with fist's like mallets, Patterson was KO'd 2:05 into the first, before attempting to recapture the title (and become the first 3 time champion) against Liston, this fight lasted just 4 seconds longer, with the same outcome.
Liston's own title reign came crashing to an end only 5 months later when a new megastar, if Jack Depsey was the first superstar of boxing, and Joe Louis was megastar I'm gonna have to be hunting down new superlative's for what Cassius Clay was to become, a man that not only outgrew boxing, but probably sport as a whole. The words used to describe him, and his effects on both politics and sport have ranged from Idol, Saviour and of course his favourite "The greatest" to Superman, and hero. Soon after beating Liston for the first time (Listen stayed on his stool at the end of the 6th) a rematch was orderd due to the odd circumstances surrounding the fight (including Clay screaming his eyes were burning and wiping them profuseley). The rematch sadly left us with more questions than answers, for the newly renamed Messiah of boxing, Muhhamad Ali who scored a hugely suspicious first round KO in a fight dubbed "The Phantom Punch Fight" which wasn't helped by the novice referee/enforcer the former heavyweight champion, Jersey Joe Walcott.
Ali kept defending the title until 1967 when Ali's political stance over Vietnam lead to him having his liscence revoked, and being banned for 3 years. The bloodiest of his defences was against British folk hero "Our 'Enry" (Henry Cooper) who had decked Ali in their first contest 3 years previous. And let me just set a point straight, and hopefully but to bed the whole split glove rumour that Henry likes us all to hear every time he's on TV, Radio or anything else, it's simply not true. The 3 minutes is nearer 2 seconds from people with the fight on video (these video's are available even if they are rare). The rematch left Henry's face a crimson mask due to a cut around his left eye, which, as boxing fans are well aware, Henry liked to do, yes, Henry is what we in the business call, "A bleeder".
With Ali in a forced exile until 1970, his then "World title" had been stripped from him just like the WBa title had a few years earlier WBA (World Boxing Association) title), as the late 60's lead to the formation of other organisations, which is where boxing it's self gets it's own serious injury, and gives it's fans headaches. So I'll try and sort it out for you all:
In 1965 the WBA stripped Ali for fighting Liston a second time and matched Ernie Terrell with former Liston Victim Eddie Machen for their vacant title, whilst Ali was the percieved world champion with the other organisations (namely the WBC-World Boxing Council).
Terrell beat Machen but lost in his third defence, against Ali. Thusly Ali was back to where he was pre-Listin II.
The forced excile made both title's vacant (the first time since Marciano's retirement that there wasn't a recognised world champion), and Ali had been forced to retire with a record of 29-0-0 (only the third time in history a heavyweight champion has "retired" without tasting defeat).
For those who can't follow simple plot story's or who have no paracetomol nearby please skip this part, or you may be the next to end up with brain damage:
Joe Frazier fought Jimmy Ellis for the vacant WBC title and for Ellis' own WBA title (which he'd won from Jerry Quarry) to allow Frazier to become the holder of both titles and await Ali's return to the ring to be the undisputed champion (much like Charles needing to defeat Louis back in the 50's).
Whilst the WBC and WBA were arguing Ali managed to pick up the NABF title from somewhere, whilst Frazier managed to lose his titles' to the monstrous George Foreman, Who had never lost this variation of the title after winning it in a fight with Gregorio Manuel Peralta after reigning champion Leotis Martin had suffered a detached retina at the hands of Sonny Liston.
Lost yet? Well I am, but I digress, with my own eye's hurting and a point still to make about Ellis (above).
Ali then manages to hold onto both titles until his first fight with Leon Spinks, who manages to nick both of them, get told off by the WBC and end up with only the WBA title due to rematching Ali.
The WBA then make history as the dumbest move in boxing history (upto that point) by literally telling Ken Norton he can just have the title, splitting it up again.
Ali regains the WBA title from spinks whilst the WBC title goes walkies and ends up in the clutches of Larry Holmes who in turn walks away from the belt to take on the newly formed IBF title (International Boxing Federation). Making even more confusion, as the titles all stay seperate for the next 10 years (despite Holmes being the recognised champion.
Now back on track, after boxing has shown even us fans can be injured by this sports own canabalistic attitude to money and politics. Jimmy Ellis was a point I said I was wanting to make, Ellis who had been in 53 professional contests, currently suffers from what is known as "dementia pugilistica". This is a neurological disorder that has often effected boxers, many of whom have been named in the article, the symptons range from shaking (similar to that suffered by Parkinsons sufferers) memory loss and has recently been closely linked to full blown Alziehmers among others with lesser cases often ending up sounding "punch drunk", which has lead to a nick name for the syndrome "Punch drunk syndrome". Boxers to have suffered have included not only Ellis, but also Dempsey, Ali (who I'm going into more detail about later due to his high profile), Patterson, modern day trainer Freddie Roach, SRR and Jerry Quarry.
This is said to occur to people who have had repeated concussions, and has been posthumously diagnosed in a number of NFL stars as well including former Steelers offensive lineman Justin Strzelczyk, who committed suicide in an automobile accident as well as Former Eagles and Cardinals player Andre Waters, who was seen as one of the hardest hitting Defensive backs in the sport. His death was suicide, apparently lead by his depression from damage to his brain due to the sport he loved. Terry Long another former Steelers player also committed suicide, by drinking anti freeze in his depressed state, that has again been linked to sporting injuries suffered whilst playing American football. Oddly a third former Steeler's player has been linked to this syndrome, Mike Webster, the HOF'er who played Centre and also played for Kansas City Chiefs, webster was suffering from a mixture of symptoms that seem to have effected many of the sufferers of this syndrom. Webster was suffering from amnesia, dementia, depression and muscle pain and was obviously damaged in the head (I mean that in the proper sense) when he delivered a rambling acceptance to his HOF induction in 1997 5 years before his eventual death in 2002.
Water's brain is said to have been the state of someone almost double his age with Alziehmers like characteristics, and it's believed that he would have been totally incapacitated in 10 years time, at the age of 54. The NFL have started studies looking into these tragedy's to try and prevent more similar cases, hopefully the NFL will share these findings with other contact sports. Whilst at the same token, the NFL has been sued by Webster's estate over retirement benefits, and doctors have said that Webster had gone through the equivalent of 25,000 car crashes in his 35 year career.
The biggest NFL star to have been brought to the media's attention with this syndrome however was 3 time MVP, Johnny Unitas, although the Legendary Coolt's player was more into the welfare of players in general rather than the brain side of things
The condition's medical name is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and is still not fully understood though it's suspected to be linked to scarring of brain tissue and even brain damage. Though it has even forced professional wrestler Christopher Nowinski to go looking into the subject deeper as he himself suffers from it, and he had requested Water's brain as well as that of former wrestling God turned Devil, Chris Benoit, who's brain has been studied by Julian Bailes who has said: "Benoit's brain was so severely damaged it resembled the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient." which has lead some to link his double homicide-suicide to It was also shown to the four retired NFL players who have suffered multiple concussions, sank into depression and harmed themselves or others.
Sorry for that huge side track away from specifically boxing for the extra information I'm sure someone will enjoy or at very least feel a little bit less worried about boxing, as it's not the only sport to suffer from CTE.
Anyway where at the turn of the 80's the heavyweight title scene is a mess, but it's the '80's who cares? We have the likes of Duran, Arguello, Pryor, Leonard, Hearns and the bald one himself Hagler fighting in the lower weights, and even tragedy on live TV, the 80's mixed the best and the worst for boxing. From both sides of the atlantic tragedies became apparently more regular, maybe it was merely that they were beggining to happen in high profile fights, maybe it was because more fights were being made, and most certainly more fights than ever were being shown, as Ali's career was winding to an end others were using his coat tail. We also saw the best American Olympic boxing team, if not just the best Olympic boxing team ever at the 1976 Olympiad, which had the fans following the guys professional carreers. The likes of Sugar Ray Leanard, Leo Randolph, Charles Mooney, Howard Davis, Michael and Leon Spinks bringing home medals kept them an audience for their pro careers with 3 or the 4 gold medalist's winning professional world titles (only Davis failed to do so, from Leonard, Davis, and the 2 Spinks').
Although rather than talking about American and about the big guys, the 80's started with the passing away of a Welshman, a little bit bigger than the one I spoke about earlier, and one whom's tragic life is still spoken about to this day, over 25 years later.'The Bionic Bantam' Johnny Owen, who never won a world title, lost his life due to his first attempt at gaining it against Lupe Pintor who KO'd Owen in the final round, where he remained, unconcious for several minutes before being taken out of the ring on a stretcher. Owen's death was never officially attributed to Pintors punches (though they were almost certainly the cause), however it was found that Owen had an unusually weak skull. People who studied law will have heard of "The thin skull rule", which before jump down my neck, I'm not saying Pintors a murderer, just pointing out that this accident is exactly that. In the modern day Owen wouldn't have been allowed to box as he would have failed a brain scan, the same scans that weren't compulsary back then, are today. A step in the right direction by the organisations, even if it did take the loss of a talented young welshman's life to make it. Owens lay in a coma for 2 months before finally passing away, at the age of 24, Owen has been honoured in his town of Merthyr Tydfil by a statue commemorating his life that was unveiled by Pintor in 2002.
Sadly Johnny Owens wouldn't be the only death of a boxer in the 1980's, sadly for boxing's image, worse was about to come, and by worse, I'm talking a lot worse. In a 1982 fight between the famed lighweight (135 lb's) brawler Ray "boom-boom" Mancini and Duk Koo Kim. Mancini's all action style had won over many boxing fans, a style he had used effectively to take the title from Arturo Frias 6 months previous via a first round KO. The second defense was against Kim, in a fight that would be the corner stone in boxing, and also one of the most painful days for fans around the world. The fight wasn't only a massive tragedy but also a tragedy that would have been avoided if modern day tests were run on Kim, who'd really struggled to make the 135 lb limit, and to make it he'd heavily dehydrated himself. The fight lasted until the 14th round when Mancini's punches took their effect on the liquid starved body of the contender, despite the high pace of the fight, it wasn't the action in the ring that all is remembered for. In the 14th round with Kim looking a spent force Mancini decked him and despite getting up the referree stopped the fight. Kim's head had apparently swollen to almost double the size and was taken to hospital where he died 5 years later. Unlike the other tragedies this one was televised live on TV, which saw the battered Korean ending up in an awful state before collapsing into a coma. Surgery on his brain couldn't save him, from the damage inflicted in the fight.
The effects of this didn't just stop here, 2 people related to the fight went on to commit suicide, with Kim's mother being the first 4 months after the fight, before the referee for the fight took his own life the following year. The effects were felt immediately after the match in other contests, such as the heavyweight title fight between Mike Weaver and Michael Dokes where the referee stopped the fight very prematurely due to the fear of another tragedy, which would have killed the sport. Mancini's career suffered massively after it with him falling into a major depression and some of his high energy style had been taken away, defending his title 4 times before 4 successive losses to end his career.
The fight was the first step by the boxing organisations (mainly the WBC) to stop future tragedies, with them leading the filed and making all their title fights 12 rounds only, as opposed to the 15 rounds that had been accepted for the previous 60+. The WBC and WBO followed suit in 1988 before the IBF joined them in 1989, this, if implemented in 1982 would probably have saved Kim's life, who took so much punishment in the 13th and 14th that his death probably occured due to these two rounds, rather than the previous 12.
The fight also lead to the NYSAC ordering an extra rope to be added to the ring to prevent boxers from falling out of the ring (although boxer still occasionally get taken out of the ring, it is a far rarer thing now than it once was).
Stringent tests were done on boxers and scans, such as electrocardiogram which measure the electrical activity of a persons heart. This was to be a huge step foreward from what it had been previously which was: "A fighter's check-ups before fights used to consist of blood pressure and heartbeat checks before 1982. Not anymore." the electrocardiogram helped monitor heart beat and see if their was any major heart problems, despite Kim's heart not being a problem in the fight, this has undoubtedly saved lives. If it was to have been used vigourously in football, it would likely have saved the lives of Marc Vivien Foe, Miklós Fehér and the Spanish international Antonio Puerta.
Many federations also brought in standing and compulsary 8 counts, which allowed a boxer to recover their senses after a knockdown rather than walk back into the fight out on their feet. Although not always needed it does also give a referee more time to assess a fighters situation.
A final rule that was brought in after the fight, was the 3 knock down rule that some organisations use (others don't) which states if a fighter is downed 3 times in a single round, the fight should be stopped via a case of TKO. If this had been taken back to the early heavyweights Jess Willard would have been saved a few teeth and bones.
Sadly this wasn't the end of boxings nightmare Steve Watt died in a British southern area title fight with Rocky Kelly due to brain damage that was found to have been majorly caused before the fight with Kelly. With brain scans not being used for such minor fights (mainly due to costs) the death could have, effectively been prevented from happening had the BBBC been as rich as the current Premier League.
However the most evil of all the tragedies of the 80's sports world in general, not just boxing, was due to the shamed boxing trainer Panama Lewis. Lewis' charge Luis Resto was facing against popular and hugely talented prospect Billy Collins, Jr, just 7 months after the Kim tragedy. Lewis' sick mind (for this part I'm not going to hold back, in fear of legal reprisal), thought it a good idea to take the padding out of Resto's glove. Despite padding originally being intended to save a fighters hand and keep fights going, they'd been developed to limit any possible injury to the recipient of punches as well, this was an example of the logic being flipped around. Resto's pad free gloves basically meant Resto's punches were basically with an "offensive weapon" (of which he was charged with possessing), after brutally beating Collins into retirement. With his career cut prematurely short Collin's fell into a deep suicide (possibly a case of CTE?) and drove off a cliff 2 years after the fight to his death. Lewis was jailed after the incidnet and banned from working in boxing (despite being able to get away with it in more obscure places).
With boxing on a high despite these tragedies, mainly due to the popularity at the middleweight areas (from lightweight to middleweight) with Duran V Leaonard, Hagler V Hearns, Hearns v Duran and Hearns v Leonard (I'm not adding the Leonard v Hagler fight as it was a farce) all being compelling viewing. British boxing was also on a high, with our own middleweights and super middleweights mixing it with the best in the world, and surfing on Lloyd Honeyghan's tidal wave after he upset the world beating Don Curry, the "Lone Star Cobra" was beaten by the "Raggamuffin man" which gave British boxing the same shot in the arm that a Hatton win in the early hours of Sunday will give it.
We had our best fighters mixing it between themselves and the best that America had to offer, this lead to two tragedies, the first of these was Michael Watson V Chris Eubank the second was Nigel Benn V Gerallad Mcclellan, neither of these were fatal but both scarred Boxing, and brought the tragedies home to British fans.
1991 was the year of Watson V Eubank II a British fight that had the type of build up we can only dream of for a domestic fight today. The first match was a close MD win for Eubank only 3 months earlier for the same title that was on the line now (WBO middleweight title), this time the tide looked like Watson was winning, with a knock down early in the 11th Eubank looked like a desperate man before landing huge shots at the end of the round and downing Watson. Watson's head bouncing off the bottom rope as he hit the canvas, causing a whiplash style effect car crash injury, and despite managing to get up and find his way to his corner, his senses weren't what they should have been. He returned for the 12 round (a decision that is often blamed for the eventual damage to Watsons brain), a round in which he took barrage after barrage of heavy hard shots before the referee stopped the fight seeing Watson in far too much trouble. What followed next lead to the BBBC being sued and needing to make changed to how they sanctioned fights, with Watson collapsing after the final bell he was in dire need of help from trained medical experts, with none being at the event Watson had to wait 30 minutes for an oxygen mask. This 30 minutes would have killed just about anyone in the world, and is said to be the longest time anyone has ever been with out oxygen and lived which pays tribute to how fit this once great athlete was, the time it took for him to recieve treatment is the root cause of his injuries. This event caused all future BBBC events to have medical teams on stand by at the Arena's at the cost of the event's promoters for both the safety of the athletes and of the general public.
Watson was to spend the next 40 days in a coma, and recieving 6 operations on his brain which left him bound in a wheelchair for several years. Although original prognosis was that he would never be able to walk and may end up spending his entire life in a bed, unable to do much at all, he's shown all medical experts were wrong. In 2003 he completed the London marathon, taking 6 days to finally complete it, showing a remarkable recovery from the state he was in 10 years previous. Watson got £1,000,000 to help pay for his medical expenses and has since grown to be a close personal friend of Eubank.
4 years after the Watson incident came Gerald McClellan's own serious injury at the hands of Nigel Benn in what still stands as beign one of the most exciting fights involving a British fighter. Despite the intensity and excitement of the fight, the fight is better remembered for the ever lasting damage to the one mean punching McClellan. In the first round Benn was was knocked out of the ring by the monsterously hard punching G-Man and it looked like Benn would lose his title to the former middleweight champion who was stepping up to 168 lb's in the first round. Benn managed to get back to his feet and into the ring, and the two traded punches like they were christmas presents for the rest of the round. The following 6 rounds made Hagler-Hearns seem like a fight that would have it's title as "the best 9 minutes of boxing ever" challenged as for 18 minutes these two warriors traded shots repeatedly, although this is often over looked by boxing historians. The 8th round resulted in Benn being put on the canvas for the second time in the fight, despite seemingly have G-man seriously wobbled, Benn looking like he was on the verge of losing was roared on by the crazy fans at ringside. The Dark Destroyers fan's were almost energising their man as the 9th round seemed to be the point where the fight changed, with Benn becoming the the more aggressive of the two and McClellan looking more and more hurt and tired. The 10th round would see McClellan take a knee early on it the round, before taking braage after barrage of shots to the head, his gum sheild almost hanging out of his mouth and his eyes blinking, almost as if he was unable to stop them. Finally McClellan took a knee again and got a 10 count, the crowd went nuts and ringside officials, cornermen and TV reporters as well as Don King jumped into the ring as McClellan went to his corner. The corner where he would finally collapse, in a scene reminiscent of the Watson fight 4 years previous, he was taken out of the ring on a stretcher and recieved oxygen (thankfully for his sake he didn't have to wait 30 minutes for this). McClellan was taken to hospital whilst in a coma and having surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain which undoubtedly saved his life, but not saving his scences. McClellan currently lives with his sisters caring for him, as he's permanently in a wheel chair, blind and about 80% deaf as well as serve memory loss. Gerald is now able to walk with a walking stick for short distance's but his sight hasn't come back, neither has his hearing.
This fight was shown on both sides of the Atlantic, by ITV in the UK and Showtime in America, which made the fight publically massive but sadly didn't let many people know enough about Geralds current state. Until recently he'd not been seen by any active boxers, with many fearing they could end up in a similar state (although recently at a dinner held in his honour he met Nigel Benn who cried when he saw him).
A final tragedy was to hit the Brtish boxing scene in that of Paul Ingle, the former IBF featherweight was defending his title against Mbulelo Botile, and was another of many cases linked to dehydration. Ingle had struggled to make the weight limit, and the fight had previously been cancelled due to this and re-arranged. Ingle had previously fought and lost to "Prince" Naseem Hamed, whom he'd knocked down before getting stopped himself, this loss wasn't anything to be ashamed by as many a fight was being destroyed by Hamed at this point. Ingle was said to have proven he was fine to trainer Steven Pollard "I asked him where he was and he replied 'I'm in Sheffield' - and then he started swearing, so I knew then that he was okay." Sadly the effects of Botile's punches and the weight loss that Ingle had put his body through had taken their toll and he too was suffering from a head injury. Paul spent several weeks in hospital and had a brain clot removed before returning to a normal life, away from boxing, which he's said to now hate.
So is boxing dangerous? As you can see their has been deaths and injuries in the sport, just as their are in all sports, with examples of NFL and football (soccer) players given in this article, but their are stats that show boxing is no more dangerous than other sports. As research by R.J. McCunney and P.K. Russo showed in their study entitled Brain Injuries in Boxing, the deaths per 100,000 competitors is low to say the least (figures taken from their work in 1984):
1. Horse racing: 128
2. Sky diving: 123
3. Hang gliding: 56
4. Mountaineering: 51
5. Scuba Diving: 11
6. Motorcycle racing: 7
7. College Football: 3
8. Professional Boxing: 1.3
So just from these sports alone, horse riding, a sport that isn't deemed as particularly dangerous has almost 100 times more deaths than boxing. Although many deaths are linked to long term damage boxers suffer, only 1 heavyweight champion in the history of the sport has died before the age of 40 (Sonny Liston, aged 38 was killed/murdered due to drugs) with the vast majority living to will into their late 60's or older. With current checks, safety regulations and on the spot medical attention boxing is among the safest of sports, with no death in a major contest since the 80's and despite deaths caused by damage to a competitor's brain it has been shown other sports suffer from this (as seen in the CTE section). Heart defects have killed footballers and accidents have killed motor racers (such as Aryton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in 1994) haven't seen these sports banned, merely them changing and adapting like boxing has to secure the safety of it's stars.
One thing that I haven't mentioned about boxing which I will give a quick note to, before letting you all get on with your life is the number of mental break downs of boxers during the 90's. 4 Major heavyweights, 3 of whom were heavy weight title holders have had major mental problems, Mike Tyson, Frank Bruno and Ike Ibeabuchi have all been questionable up top. Ibeabuchi and Tyson turning to criminal activity due to this, but the most of all of them was Oliver McCall, the Atomic Bull's infamous breakdown against Lennox Lewis in the rematch was a sign that that poor McCall needed help more than anything else ever witnessed in a boxing ring. He took round after round of punishment from Lewis with out even attempting to defending himself, whilst he was crying, a sorry site for all those watching it.
Is boxing more dangerous than other sports? No, it has among the best care for it's athletes, with more scans that almost another sport, people aren't forced to box like they once were and with on the spot care delivering attention as soon as the fight is over theirs very little left to do to stop any injuries. Accidents will always happen, in any and every sport, but the avoidable ones, are avoided in boxing, and more and more will become avoidable over time. With better trained referee's stepping in to stop a fight when one guy is looking like he's on a one way street to painsville (Peter Manfredo Jr. V Joe Calzaghe) and even with some corners willing to save their man from getting increasingly hurt, the sport will have fewer and fewer catastrophe's in the future.
Whilst doing the research for this hopefully interesting even if over long piece I've read the following quotes, all of which I wish I could have filled in, in the correct place, but haven't been able to. Hope you like.
"I'm sorry, Jimmy; I have to pick you up because you don't know how to lie down." Jack Smith To Jimmy Wilde when ending the fight against Pete Herman
"Honey, I just forgot to duck."
Jack Dempsey to his wife Estelle Taylor after the first fight with Gene Tunney.
"I can still walk around and tell the time."
Dempsey talking to the press whilst speaking about his retirement from the sport.
"'It was unfortunate, I'm awfully sorry'. said Baer. 'It even might have been you mightn't it.'" Ellie replied"
Max Baer and Ellie Campbell at the bed side of Frankie Campbell whilst he lay in a coma that he'd never recover from.
"I fought Sugar Ray so often, I almost got diabetes."
Jake Lamotta speaking about his great wars with HOF'er Sugar Ray Robinson.
""It's like being in love with a woman. She can be unfaithful, she can be mean, she can be cruel, but it doesn't matter. If you love her, you want her, even though she can do you all kinds of harm. It's the same with me and boxing. It can do me all kinds of harm but I love it.""
Floyd Patterson on his love for the sport.
"live or die"
A statement written on Duk Koo Kim's hotel lampshade before his final bout.
"More people suffer in other sports. When a racing car driver dies you don't go and reduce the speed limits do you?"
Steve Pollard, Paul Ingle's trainer after Ingles fight with Botile.
"I think in the sport's 112-year history their have only been 12 fatalities."
Mick Ryan, speaking on Amateur boxing.
* I admit this isn't specifically true, as dehydration is one of the major risks in the sport of boxing.
** Canadian Tommy Burns is american for this, as he lives in the American continent.
***New York State Athletic Committee, one of the most powerful sports comittees in america.
****http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Arena/1047/cut.jpg Rocky's split nose
For those wanting to learn more about CTE I'd advise you all to read Christopher Nowinski's book "Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis"
i think boxing is worth the risk because i think if the great boxers never boxed they will be in even more danger. all the great boxers have said they boxed to get off the streets because they did not want to die so if you ask me boxing is worth the risk for them. furthermore a reporter asked sugar ray leonard a boxing legend do you think boxing is dangerous he replied its safer than bullets flying all over the place.
boxing is a dangerous sport however rugby and football are dngerous too. boxing isnt about hurting someone, boxing is about hitting someone without being hit. May people dont know but to be a boxer you have to be very clever. clever boxers dont get hit, for example muhammad ali said I'm the greatest the worlds ever seen The heavyweight champion who came back again
My face is so pretty you don't see a scar
Which proves I'm the king of the ring by far. Ali said this when he was younger and more agile however he got parkinsons when he fought george foreman and other fighters, when he was way past his best.
inconclusion i would say boxings not a risk if you know what you are doing.
I believe boxing should not be banned. Even though i'm only 15 I still have strong views and here they are :
Boxing is a noble art. A fraction of our national sporting life. Therefore why is there such a great need for a ban? In a free society a young man should have the right to fight. Injuriges are no more common than they are in motor racing and football. Believe it or not even more individuals die of exposure each year climbing in the Scottish and Welsh highlands, how do you explain this? the british boxing board of control have done much to improve the medical attention a fighter receives both before and after a fight. Precautions have also been taken to alleviate the consequences of neurological injury.
Many believe boxing is the easy option for the "tough kids" looking for a better life. However, henry Cooper is a national hero. Should he have been prevented from what he could do best ? Of course not.
People excel in various activities and everyone has a choice whether to box or not. No-one is forces inot the ring. Boxers know the risks involved. Yes, you could get brain damage and Yes any sport can result in death. If boxing were to be banned , the sport would be driven underground where it would thrive without supervision. Instead of banning such a popular sport why not make the sport thrive and why not build on the sport to make it safer and better in many ways. To give people the chance to proceed with what they do best.
Racheal.R (South WaleS) Age.15
Is boxing worth the risk?
It is and it isn't. Let me expand on this.
Boxing is a working class sport. It is a sport of the poor man.
Boxing clubs are used in England and other countries to keep teenagers away from trouble. It gives them something to do. If you look at the professional boxers, most come from humble backgrounds. Boxing is way out for these people to a better and richer future. Only few make it out of thousands. Most boxers have a hope of winning the world title yet at the same time they know their limitations and use boxing as social contact and excercise to keep fit.
Boxing is less dangerous than media coverage it gets when boxer falls. There have been few high profile deaths due to physical beating boxer took. Look at the game overall and the statistics tell us a different story. Football is more dangerous than boxing.
The man or woman who gets injured in boxing ring for them boxing is not worth taking the risk for, sadly by the time they get injured it is too late.
Overall boxing is a very safe sport. It helps teenagers stay out of trouble and it is good physical excercise. So all in all well worth the risk.
I believe boxing is worth the risk!
Live on ITV on Saturday night at 9.45pm there is a night of boxing from the Millenium Stadium in Wales.
Wales' WBO and Ring Magazine Super Middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe defends is title for the 20th time against the runner up of the USA contender boxing series, Peter Manfredo Jr. Calzaghe is arguably one of the worlds best boxers and is the longest current reigning world champion.
On the undercard, Amir Khan the Olympic silver medallist fights Steffy Bull at lightweight.
Also on the undercard explosive Cruiserweight Enzo Maccarrinelli defends his WBO Cruiserweight title against American Bobby Gunn.
It should be an entertaining night, although I don't see any shock outcomes!
I have to say that as a big boxing fan i had to ask the same question after watching the Joe Calazage v Jeff Lacy world title match .I haven't seen such a one sided beating in a long time, if lacy wasn't the champ and didn't have such a fearsome reputation then the fight would have been stopped at the halfway point.However , i would stay that Boxing has a place and is the worth the risk.
Boxing gives young people a discipline , having to train for a match takes a great deal of dedication .Therefore giving them a focus to life which may stop them falling into the wrong crowd. I'm also a great beleiver in the fact that any sport can teach a young person the values of fair play, teamwork (depending on the sport) and determination which are useful for later life.
Amatuer boxing in particular gives a controlled environment for aggression. The sport is very well regulated as seen in both the Commonwealth and Olympic games , any sign of a fighter being hurt then the bout is stopped ,sometimes to the boxers great disgust. With all the lenghty medical requirments the British Boards of control has it's plain to see that they endevour to make boxing as safe as possible.
As boxing fans we have to accept the fact that people who criticise boxing do have a point, there is of course a danger of long term injury. Putting averything aside the aim of Boxing is to knock the other fighter uncouncious. I myself would accept that criticism but refer people to the sports injury statistics , Boxing is suprisingly low down the list with relatively low contact sports like football being higher up. I have to admit though that these statistics are usually used when a fighter has been hurt in the ring, of course i'd much rather see nobody seriously hurt and there be no need for this sort of statistics.
With a great amount of control and safety measures you can reduce risk , like with most things in life that do present an element of danger that is all you can do. I would have to say that the anti boxing lobbyists do have a point which i do respect , but i still choose to watch boxing as long as it stays controlled and hope that because of the circumstances the Calazage / Lacy fight was a one off.
Is boxing worth it in my opinion YES it is.
Firstly I know what you are all saying how could such a sport be worth it with all the things that happen to you like broken bones severe damage to most of your body. But I am going to show you that to some people that dont matter. I was never very good in school I just couldnt do it because I wasnt lets say the brightest of bulbs, and I got hit at school by another pupil for messing around with his girl I didnt retaliate he was suppose to be the hardest boy in our year and his punch didnt even hurt he made me bleed and that its. After that I went to one of the roughest estates that we knew of and I joined the boxing club there and I found myself. This was were I found that boxing was all I had that I wasnt smart and I wasnt exactly the one that every girl wanted so I joined. From there on I felt good, I still having had a chance to meet that particular boy who hit me but Im sure I will soon and I can finish off what he started.
Secondly Im not trying to promote it to everyone boy and girl out there but it teaches you a lot of things like how to fight properly also it teaches you discipline it keeps you on your toes because if you dont do what that trainer is telling you to do then you get punished either doing more exercises, the trainer coming round and punching you not hard or a clip round the ear hole or if its well bad getting thrown out of the club for good. So you learn discipline whenever its through seeing or it actually happening to you , you learn to respect each other as well. Also I think that boxing also teaches you to depend on your self and push yourself to your limits because once you are in that ring you have no one else to depend on yourself but yourself and if you lose you cant blame anyone else but yourself.
Thirdly I think its worth it because of the fame and glory of making it. Even if you fight for your club for a little while you get fame and then people get to know you as that person the one that you dont want to get into a scrap with. Most boxers forget the pain that comes along with boxing but the money that is at the end. If you are good then you are bringing in a lot of money Mike Tyson had 40 million all from his fists. I know that boxers are the real men apart from the marines and people like that etc in our society because they sacrifice a lot for other peoples enjoyment.
To round this off I am going to say that boxing is worth it because it gets you physically fit and it makes you mentally strong it teaches you discipline how to respect how to fight properly and also it teaches you that in this world you have to stay on your toes otherwise you are going to get hurt if you disagree with this comment please explain why in the comment box. A quote that my trainer gave me was Winners never quit, Quitters never Win that quote has followed me through my whole life making me drive to win or do my best at what I do because as soon as I become a quitter I will never win.
Thnx for reading hope you enjoyed my review PS sorry if I have gone a little of track.
Right hooks, uppercuts,left jabs and all these other sorts of punches that can be dished out. Sounds kinda painful actually. So why do some massive guys (and now massive girls) decide to make a career out of bashing the daylights out of another human being? Well to me boxing is just another sport. So what people get hurt - many rugby players get hurt, many footballers lose the ability to walk properly once their career is over, American footabllers get concussion many a time but you never hear then complaining. So why do we hear all this about boxing? Is it because the great Mohammed Ali suffers from Pakinson's? Well I do not mean to sound harsh but when you take up a dangerous profession, you risk harming yourself. And one thing that does annoy me about boxing debates is that the boxers themselves do not complain about the sport but its the viewers. Excuse me but isn't it the boxers who are putting themselves at risk? So whats the problem? Ok many of them get injured and there is always a possibility that this could happen but at the end of the day the individuals themselves know the risks and are willing to take them. So safety is being addressed by some people. How can you make this sport more safe? Well head pads can be used but that is deployed in amateur boxing so there will be no difference between professional boxing and amateur boxing. So I think that should be discarded. The padding on the gloves seems sufficient enough and if it gets more padded then it might begin to feel that someone is patting your head. So this is a sport that cannot be made safe as the nature of it is brutal and people who participate in it are taking risks they are willing to take them. It is unfortunate that accidents happen but they are obviously a factor that may occur in a boxer's career. So to conclude this i reckon that boxing should remain the same. Besides boxers want the money so they do
n't seem to care about what happens to them. PS Lennox Lewis is the best boxer around at the moment but I think that Mike Tyson at his prime (20 yrs old) was the greatest ever fighter
Following a bout with Mbulelo Botile on Saturday 16th December, boxer Paul Ingle lies in critical condition at Sheffield's Hallamshire hospital. Certainly our best wishes go to him, but should he be there in the first place? Ingle is not the first to suffer serious injury in the boxing ring - is it time the boxing world took major steps to address this recurring situation? And what should the steps be?