I've been a boxing fan since my first Cassius Clay match against Sony Liston, which was literally in another century. Since then my love for the sport has never waned.Since I'm a pretty peaceful person in daily life people who know me are surprised that I like boxing so much.
Perhaps it's just "displaced and sublimated aggression," they suggest. Whatever. It's all fine with me.What I know is I do respect the one-on-one test that two super athletes go through every time they step into that ring.
That's the ultimate "moment of truth." Once you are in that ring there are no excuses. No alibis. No nothing. It's you against your body and mind against your opponent and against God and the whole world.
It's a tough moment like none other in life.And having watched that terrible Boom Boom Mancini match some twenty-odd years ago in which his Korean opponent was actually killed (Mancini left boxing after that shock), I know that this "game" is actually serious business. It's not like make-believe "professional wrestling." So that makes me respect professional boxers even more.
However, within the last 10 years some entrepreneurs came up with various "fighting" categories as an "alternative" to boxing. They figured, "hey, this is the New Rome! Give them blood, and they'll not only take it but they'll also whip out their credit cards and pay for it right on the spot!" Which is true, up to a certain point.But I can't watch these new "fighting" matches for too long in which pretty much everything goes except eye gouging. It's usually a very ugly sight that makes me feel ugly for watching it ? the kind of feeling that I never get when I'm watching a championship boxing match.After watching a boxing match I feel that I've watched something worthwhile and amazing to witness in which the better athlete won his due rewards fair and square.After watching one of these new "fighting" contests I just get depressed.
That's why I do not watch them anymore.First there was the "Strongman Contest" in which two males, whether athletes or not, were just released inside a cage. The "contest" ended when one of them gave up in a hurry. It was not pretty. I watched twice and never did it since.
Probably a lot of boxing fans reacted to the "Strongman" like I did since the "show" was canceled after a while.These days we have a new breed of "fighting-in-a-cage" violence fest in which the brawlers are at least well-trained athletes wearing leather half-gloves. The matches are a mixture of boxing, kick boxing and "back alley violence." I think head butts and eye gouging are "illegal" but the rest is fair game.Gone is the ballet-like grace of regular boxing.
Gone is the veneer of "organized sports" where a referee intervenes on all our behalf to make sure that the better athlete is determined with as little physical damage as possible to the contestants.And how do you "analyze" a brawl in which there are few accumulating advantages (like "body shots") that reveal their effects the way, let's say, a knight move reveals its long-term impact ten moves down the road in a chess game?.Probably "fighting" will survive and prosper as far as the TV and box-office gross is concerned. It will probably do well as a niche "X-sport.
" There will probably always be enough 18-to-24 year old beer-soaked males to support it as a business.And true boxing fans like me who have known the sheer power, grace and the heart of an Ali, Sugar Ray, Hagler, Benitez, Duran, Holmes, Holyfield, Frazier or Hearns will continue to worry about the health of a noble sports category that may or may not survive into the future.
.Ugur Akinci, Ph.
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By: Ugur Akinci