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Jordan Call
Professor Devin Patten
English 1010
July 12
Ban boxing- its demeaning and dangerous
In John Hardys article he claims that boxing is dangerous, destructive to the fighters
brain and barbaric in todays civilized society. He would like to ban the brutal sport out right
and save these athletes from a life of brain trauma and neurological degradation. Where it is
very hard to argue with the concrete evidence of Dr. Hardys claim that boxing blows do damage
brain tissue, on the other hand is it really too brutal for our world and does it, in fact, demean the
athletes who have built their lives around it?
There is a lot of scientific data presented in the bulk of this article. It is viable and
backed-up by expert research. Being an expert himself it was very difficult for me to find any
logical fallacies when it came to the scientific claims he uses in persuading the audience of the
destruction head injuries cause. He describes the brain tissue as largely a soft mass but the
blood vessels within it are fibrous and strong, like wires across cheese. He goes on to explain
that a blood vessel can snap, leading to a haemorrage, or there can be microscopic tearing of
the tissue around the vessel. (Hardy) This is a gruesome description of what goes on inside the
skull during a blow.
Hardy does mention other sports besides boxing like: rugby, hockey, soccer and
American Football. He makes the claim that sportsmen who are often injured can develop

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characteristic behavior patterns as they get older. These patterns include depression, drug and
alcohol abuse, and violent tempers. All are consistent with underlying damage to the frontal
cortex He generally seems to convey his understanding that many sports come with an
occupational hazard of head injuries. The author redeems these other sports in a way by
detailing changes in their regulations to create safer experiences, and minimise head injuries.
Soccer has already done the right thing by replacing heavy leather balls with lighter plastic-
coated ones. He sheds light on the new regulations for the NFL: adding an extra layer of
padding in helmets and shoulder pads of the players, as well as having independent neurologists
at every game to assess them for signs of concussion However, he eventually hones in on
boxing specifically, and states that it is a special case. No other sport has the express goal of
causing injury to the brain. With that noted, he suggests I will be called a killjoy for
espousing the view that boxing should be banned. Then engaging we should consign this
public spectacle, as we have done public executions, to the dustbin of history. (Hardy)
The science is definitely against boxing if you are looking towards a safer alternative
when choosing a sport. However, there may be other factors correlating to these so-called
behavioral characteristics, such as: violence, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, or tempers? Is
boxing always dangerous all of the time? Do the professional boxers that have gained so much
respect from millions of their fans really feel demeaned? Is Hardy aware that, in a world full of
gun violence, street crime, war zones, and all different kinds of abuse and manipulation, he may
possibly be putting boxing under his neuro-scientific microscope?
What kind of personality does it take to become a champion or even become a contender
at an elite boxing level? It takes an overwhelming amount of dedication and hard work of

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course, and doing so you separate yourself from being ordinary. Many individuals strive for the
glory of becoming the best. Sportsman and other professionals alike can have psychological
problems before, during and after their peak. Many famous people are also violent, depressed,
and have substance abuse issues. So maybe it is not all the head trauma, maybe it is the
spotlight. Besides, if you are a boxer by profession, are you not already trained to be violent?
So why is it a surprise that they may carry this into their personal lives? It should not be a
surprise, but definitely not condoned. Many soldiers who come back from warzones have PTSD.
So perhaps the violent stimulus is the culprit. Some professional boxers come from poverty
stricken homes, like Mike Tyson, where violence and substance abuse is just a normality. What
would Mike Tysons life be like without the discipline boxing entails? He may have been worse
off without the structure. Hardy does not consider this. In Emma Vickers article about athletes
having to deal with retirement there is great information on how certain changes can affect them.
Vickers who holds a BSc and MSc in psychology explains the difficulties of one famous boxer,
Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard famously quoted, Nothing could satisfy me outside the
ring there is nothing in life that can compare to becoming a world champion, having your hand
raised in that moment of glory, with thousands, millions of people cheering you on. Leonards
struggles with retirement were well documented No light is shed on other factors for
behavioral issues by Hardy. It seems that behavioral changes are not only due to head blows
There have been leaps and bounds as far as regulations for boxing. Old boxers would
fight whomever. There were no drug tests or weigh-ins, just an all-out bare knuckle blood bath.
They did not have rounds, it just kept going as long as the fight needed to. No referee; no ring

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side doctors. These days there are many specialists who know what to look for and when to
throw in the towel if a boxer is in trouble. One of these specialists is neuro-surgeon Dr. John
Demarkas. In an article about amateur boxing and how they have dealt with concussions the
author first explains, Stopping the first concussion isnt an attainable goal, he explained.
Concussions happen all the time and with proper treatment, an athlete can recover completely.
The goal is to stop the second concussion. Then quotes Demarkas, Thats what used to be the
problem with professional boxing. You had guys who made their living boxing. Theyd get
knocked out in one bout, use a different name and fight again a few days later in another town or
in another state. The author goes on to explain the changes, Every amateur boxer has a
passport, Dr. Demakas said. Wherever they go, wherever they fight, they have to present that
passport. If theyve been injured and havent gotten their medical clearance, theyre not going
to fight (Christilaw). The sport can indeed be dangerous but let us not confused it with always
being so one-hundred percent of the time.
Now let us seen if any of these boxers who have had the unfortunate results of head
trauma really feel that the sport is demeaning. One particular person that comes to mind is
Muhammad Ali. Does Ali have any regret, did he feel that he stayed one fight too long? Here
Alis answer may surprise. He stated that he would not change anything about his career and that
his final defeat to Trevor Berbick added closure. This fight convinced him that at the age of 40,
there was nothing left. Nor does he blame Parkinsons on his boxing (Donelson). This is one
man who should feel a little bitter about being hit to the point of a neurological disease, but he
states he would not change anything about his career. Furthermore, if you understand
Parkinsons disease it is a blanket diagnosis. This means that there are many symptoms that are

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different for many sufferers. It can be caused by many different genetic and environmental
variables. Some people who never box have it, and even at a younger age than Ali when he had
his first symptoms. Look at Michael J. Fox for example. Im not say that boxing did not have a
contributing factor in the severity or time-line of Alis symptoms. The point is that there are too
many variables in life to blame all the injuries and maladies on only boxing. Ali does not sound
like he feels demeaned in anyway but glorified by his determination to still fight against any
odds, even Parkinsons.
Hardy claims that boxing is barbaric and uncivilized, but so are a myriad of other thing in
our world today. How about war? War is the cause of thousands even millions of innocent lives
perished, and innocent people do not choose to get blown up by missiles. How about banning
some of those? We are supposedly a civilized society, but we have all of these sophisticated
methods of homicide. Guns are the cause of many deaths, far more than all sporting deaths
combined. So maybe we should first ban those, or at least the ones with high capacity magazines
to start? This has me begging the question: Is our society civilized? Maybe that is the reason we
have violent sports like boxing and MMA? We are all products of the society we have been
exposed to, and how would we know anything different? So boxing will stay, because people
love to watch the mayhem. Until that changes, brutal sports like boxing and MMA will only
become more popular.
So the world is not perfect and neither is the world of boxing. At least it can help people
lead more physically fit live styles, and lots of people see benefits in that fact. People choose to
do it and it becomes any free will argument. Hardy does not see the whole picture. Perhaps
boxers should be educated at length about the risks, and the regulations be as tight as possible to

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ensure as much safety as possible. Without boxing as an outlet for aggression perhaps there
would be more street violence? At least boxers can do it in a ring where referees and doctors
supervise. Then again Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Sugar Ray
Leonard, and so many other great fighters could not give a second thought about the risks. That
is not how you become a champion. You do it by taking any risk no matter what it is, and that is
why these individuals inspire their fans. They are chiseled into history as unordinary warriors of
the canvas. Not a single MC squared, scientific formula would have stopped them from attaining
it. For that reason they will never be looked down upon by their fans. Many great individuals
have succeeded by way of great risks. That spirit is what makes boxing great, and gives fans the
motivation to push through boundaries that they were too afraid to challenge. A true champion
would rather die than be too afraid to chase his dream.

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Work Cited
Christilaw, Steve. "Concussions: Amateur Boxing Took Initiative." Spokesman.com. The
Spokesman-Review, 16 June 2013. Web. 14 July 2014.
Donelson, Tom. "Ali Book: The Soul of a Butterfly." BoxingInsider. Boxer Insider LLC, 20 Apr.
2008. Web. 14 July 2014.
Hardy, John. "Ban Boxing It's Demeaning and Dangerous." Editorial. New Scientist 12 Aug.
2013. Web. 14 July 2014
Vickers, Emma. "Life after Sport: Depression in the Retired Athlete." The Sport in Mind. The
Sport in Mind, 14 Oct. 2013. Web. 14 July 2014.