The Hard Truth About Boxing

The boxing fever is on. Inspired by boxing icons such as Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. and Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley, boxing wannabes and amateurs sprouted like mushrooms in almost every part of the world. Some of them just wanted to have a “feel” of what boxing is like but most of them dreamt of being in the ring as a world-renowned professional boxer.

One particular country is the Philippines. As a matter of fact, some out-of-school youths have been featured in the national news being boxing addicts. Stricken by poverty, these youngsters resorted into boxing imitating their ultimate idol Manny Pacquiao. They even used poorly made gloves and would train for hours with another out-of-school youth as a coach. However, this kind of strenuous activity often strained their muscles and stressed out their young bodies in return. Unfortunately, this could lead to their destruction.

I have read and heard about the numerous advantages in boxing. As more people embrace boxing as sports or even as a hobby, I could not help but think of the possibility of even more dangerous encounters in boxing since its introduction as an official sports. It was a certain Manuel Velazquez who researched, made reports, and compiled in his collection the boxing fatalities including a careful analysis of the nature of their death. These boxing trainees, amateurs, and professionals suffered great loss and even death receiving little attention most of the time. Women boxers were also cited to have suffered major injuries in the middle of a bout or after. A number of bare-knuckle pugilists triumphed in one bout but unfortunately got deceased on the next bout as they receive strong blows and punches. However, a reasonable number of these warriors won during their final fights.

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Early 2012, a Filipino boxing pro died after sustaining head injuries and falling into a comatose. Karlo Maquinto, the undefeated 21-year-old boxer of Iloilo, Philippines fought his 9th fight when he fell during the 4th round and was immediately rushed to the hospital. After being diagnosed with brain swelling and blood clot, he died. That was the end of everything, his dreams and his family’s. He was 2nd to the late 21-year-old super bantamweight Manuel Zayas who also died of the same cause 10 years ago.

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Filipino boxers Manny Pacquiao’s and Nonito Donaire’s riveting boxing career inspired the many, but until when will these trainees and amateurs be safe? Who could spare the professional boxers from the extreme dangers they face every time they step into the ring? The world is too engrossed with the boxing champs of our time. It is time that we also pause and pray for the casualties.

The era of deadly boxing has long been gone. The London Prize Ring rules were replaced with the Marquess of Queensberry rules which is more professional, scientific, and safer. Wrestling, gouging, kicking, and hitting below the belt are now considered as fouls. However, it is no guarantee that any boxer alive today is totally safe such as the cases of the numerous boxing fatalities. One has to put in his mind that boxing isn’t just about winning and losing. It is more serious and the rules should not be taken for granted. This is the hard truth in boxing. Unless a boxer exercises extreme caution, he will never be safer.

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by Anna S Lee