When Bernard Hopkins’ exclaimed “boxing is back” in the post fight interviews over the weekend, I for one felt the words resonate somewhere deep down inside. Although no more than a fan with an opinion, I feel part of boxing, my love of the sport in part defines me. In an age where boxing is a marginal sport, I’m ‘Dave, you know Dave, loves his boxing?’. When Hopkins spoke, I perched closer to the edge of the chair, the same way I do when an ageing champion rallies against a younger foe. Go on boxing! Stick it to him.
Although criticism of boxing is not a new phenomenon, the emergence of UFC has given the doom-merchants a publicity friendly stick to beat the oldest sports of all with. Too many champions, too many uncompetitive bouts, corruptible promoters, nefarious sanctioning bodies, old champions, too many pay per views, boxing has many ills.
Peter Wood, writing for thesweetscience.com, one of my own former haunts, suggests that for all the malignance boxing is riddled with, it is actually that ugly beauty that makes the sport what it is. Wood suggests boxing is unique in the opportunity it provides in the social and economic ghettos of the world and is the purest sport once the bell tolls. Turning boys in to men and helping all colours, creeds and religions discover the depth of their individual mettle, respect for one another and a way to express their anger in a positive way.
Boxing legitimises anger, applauds its outward expression Wood proposes. Posing the question, is boxing really such a negative occupation in a world where internalised hate and angst are blamed for so much of what is wrong with modern day society?
Quick paced and illuminated with examples of boxing’s brightest and darkest hours, the article is a must read.
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