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Thoughts on a boxing match

April 30, 2017

Last night a man aged twenty seven beat the crap out of another man fourteen years his senior. It was the kind of event you could have witnessed on a high street, outside a pub or a nightclub, anywhere in Britain on a Saturday night.

The difference was that the rules of this particular contest were designed to make sure that the loser didn’t end up in hospital brain dead. The street fight would probably also have involved knives, or, if it had happened in the United States, guns.

Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua were fighting for the “unified” world heavyweight boxing title. Unified because there are at least three rival governing bodies in boxing, each of them administered by people who make a very nice living encouraging people to beat the crap out of each other.

I don’t have any strong feelings for or against boxing per se. If people want to turn their brains into mush for cash, they should be entitled to do so, provided they’re aware that they have a very small chance of making significant money, and a very large chance of seriously damaging their health in the long term.

I also don’t have a problem with the fact that these events are typically attended by all manner of celebrities who wouldn’t last one round with a hamster, yet are thrilled by much braver people than themselves risking their lives in the ring.

But I do find it rather sad that in Britain we make such a fuss when one of our own prevails, and pictures of him are on the front pages of our national newspapers. We clearly don’t have much to celebrate at the moment beyond the spectacle of a young guy beating the crap out of an older one.

At least we should respect the courage of Klitschko and Joshua, at a time when most of those who normally dominate our headlines have never been tested, on the battlefield, the boxing ring or anywhere else.

Whether we liked them or loathed them, a couple of generations ago many of our politicians had come through war and considerable physical hardship. Might the fact that – with honourable exceptions – their modern equivalents have had no need to demonstrate physical courage be part of the reason why so many of them appear to be gutless, unprincipled nonentities in comparison?

Or am I just being absurdly nostalgic?

From → Politics, Sport, UK

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