Am I the only person who is seeing that a positive effect can still come of the weekends boxing events?
Of course, I am referring to the slap, the water spitting and the brawling which have all overshadowed a magnificent performance by a British boxer, challenging for a (and once most prestigious) version of the Heavyweight championship of the world.
The boxing experts, governing bodies, promoters and worlds press are all onboard the band wagon, criticising and expressing their disgust at the behaviour of men who fight for a living.
Does anyone else sense just a little irony here?
Firstly, I’ll address the boxing purists, for whom I have the utmost respect. Those of you, who’s initial response to this statement will be that these men are disrespecting the sport of boxing.
Please, look beyond what you ‘expect’ from individuals who partake in this, the once noble art of pugilism. What was once considered a sport of Gentlemen, has changed along with the times.
Times change! And everything in life needs to adapt to change.
Those of you that are currently telling the world that individuals like Derek Chisora or David Haye are disrespecting and killing the sport, actually hold the key to the door that leads to it’s survival.
Let me explain.
Boxing is far removed from the sport it once was.
Lets not forget that bare fists were once seen as part of the sport. Long time ago, rounds were unheard of too. In fact, weren’t headlocks, low blows, kidney and rabbit punches all common place. At one time, the only thing that separated the sport from a street fight was the use of a rope to separate the fighters from the crowd. Years later, perhaps I’m just suggesting that the rope has moved.
Anyway, What is my point, I hear you cry? Let me ask you to consider how the industries of music, film, theatre and other sporting pursuits have evolved over the last 30 years?
Those who are considered superstars within their field have taken that acclaimed mantle through hard work and dedication they put into their profession.
However there is another aspect that must be considered in all professions, including boxing.
This is the desire of many to be constantly more outlandish and more shocking than those who have gone before, to increase publicity and hit the headlines. Now, personally speaking, it is not the manner in which I would conduct myself and neither do I think it is necessary.
Persecution, talk of lifetime bans and public outrage now looms, for the men who, lets face it are actually beating each other up for our enjoyment.
I’m not saying it should be ignored. Absolutely, there is a very fine line of what is deemed acceptable and what is not.
Consider this though. The world of wrestling entertainment have made millions of dollars from scripting the kind of thing that happened between Dereck Chisora and Vitali Klitschko (and David Haye, following the fight) and we don’t here cries of disrespect and dragging the sport into the gutter there.
Again, addressing the purists who are bound to be screaming by now about how dare I compare boxing to wrestling.
I am not. I am merely suggesting that the queensbury rules, as far as I am aware, do not define how boxers must conduct themselves out of the ring.
That seems to have been defined by the sports writers, promoters and experts who still hold the traditional values of the the noble gentlemen’s sport. For those who wish to hold onto these values, I still tip my hat. However, I’m afraid that does not really give anyone a right to define what is morally right and wrong within the sport, out of the ring. We might all like our boxers to be perfect gentlemen but perhaps it is time to accept that there are going to be some loose cannons. Some ticking time bombs. The reckless ones. I’m not asking anyone to condone or like the behaviour of some of these modern day boxers but I certainly believe there are as many people attracted to such individuals as there are wishing our boxers are gentlemen.
Of course, many will disagree, believing that this is not the kind of attention that boxing needs. This is quite possibly true, but let me ask this… How many non boxing fans know the name of Dereck Chisora now, that would, without the out of ring antics, been oblivious to his existence?
No publicity is bad publicity and all that. Even philosophically speaking, it makes sense. On one hand, we advocate, what is in this day still considered a most ungentlemanly sporting pursuit in the eyes of many. Yet only when the boxers behave in a manner considered immoral do we consider they are disrespectful. To the non-boxing following public this must indeed appear that the world of boxing has become quite an ungentlemanly sport. In reality, we have boxers who are only trying to make things more exciting for the public, like so many have done before them. Have they pushed the boundaries, yes indeed. Did it merit arrests and threat of bans, I think perhaps not.
After all, without boxers there would be no boxing!