Boxing has its own colourful language that is often miss-understood, it’s also the ‘most dangerous language’ as described once by legendary sportswriter Hugh McIlvanney.
It’s a language that is difficult to understand for many, we may as well be speaking in tongues or Latin when trying to explain it.
‘Condemnant quo non intellegunt’, translated from Latin to English means, ‘They condemn that which they do not understand’
True but what a load of gibberish. Unfortunately that’s what the boxing haters hear when we try to defend it and justifiably so, especially when they hear some of the horror stories within the sport.
There’s plenty of misdemeanours within boxing; corruption, drug offenders receiving unsatisfactory punishments, deaths from injuries sustained in the ring and then there are villains that escape justice because they have some rich financial benefactor behind them that simply identifies their fighter as a “Cash cow”.
Trouble is boxing will always have a bad reputation even if those shameful problems where irradiated. Other sports have the same problems, but boxing is a different breed because of its brutality and violence.
David Remnick a magazine editor and journalist explained the fundamentals of its brutality when he said;
“Boxers go into the ring alone, nearly naked, and they succeed or fail on the basis of the most elementary criteria: their ability to give and receive pain, their will to endure their own fear.”
Boxing is a religion
Many boxers will use the expression, ‘I didn’t find boxing, boxing found me’, you would hear that same statement from someone who follows a religion and describes how they discovered god.
A high percentage of those boxers will only discover this great noble art because of some sort of turbulence in their lives. Others will have been born into the sport within a family who have a long fighting history, and some will have had both, basically it’s the same as a religion, the difference is boxing’s church is in the ring.
Understanding its origin
Back in the days of when prize fighting was classified as an affray, an assault and a riot by law, many fights went underground or even took to the sea to avoid prosecution. Laws in England became more relaxed whereas, it took a little longer for the American authorities to realise its popularity and potential for financial gain.
By the 20th century boxing became a route of the less fortunate to earn some money and gain a bad ass reputation amongst different ethnic groups.
When you look through the history of the sport you will find many of the greats were immigrants. The men who fought within a tougher backdrop often prevailed because they were fighting for something more, they were fighting to make a better life for themselves and their families. If boxing didn’t work out, then the chances are it would be a life of ducking and diving to earn a quick pound note.
Not a sport for the rich
Boxing was not a sport for the privileged, why would a wealthy man want to get bashed up for pocket money?
In the peak of his career and wealth Marvelous Marvin Hagler once said;
“It’s tough to get out of bed to do roadwork at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pyjamas.”
A far cry from that young boy that walked into the Petronelli gym with the hope of becoming a world champion. It was the beating he received at the hands of a guy he would go on to defeat twice, Dornell Wigfall that gave Hagler the motivation to become a boxer. Once you get to the top it must be hard to find that same determination again especially when the money is in the bank.
Boxing’s dark side
Believe it or not, modern day boxing hasn’t changed that much from how it used to be. Yes, the safety regulations have changed dramatically through the decades but the kind of competitors that want to get involved are still the ones that need a source of guidance and money. The alternative can be a life of crime and we all know where that path leads, eventually prison or death.
Most of the time boxing becomes a saviour but sometimes it doesn’t. It’s in these cases where we find the ‘Criminals in Boxing’.
There are so many stories that can be told and written, from Mike Tyson’s rape conviction to Charles “Kid” McCoy’s murder of Mrs. Theresa Mors but I will be investigating just five cases, the five I believe are the worst of the lot.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will release five stories about five different pugilists that went from the boxing ring to become the scum of the earth. My feature write-ups for Talkin Boxing with Billy C will leave no stone unturned as I delve into the darkest side of boxing.
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