Legitimate sport or stylized sadism?
Is there a Christian defense of boxing? I've never seen one, and I suspect there is none. I know the "sport" allows poor and underpriviledged men to escape the barrio and the ghetto. And I know that auxiliary industries surrounding boxing (pay-per-view, TV rights, Las Vegas hotels, advertisers, the prize money itself, etc) create a fair amount of jobs. These results in themselves are good things. But it also attracts the gambling crowd, is notorious for corruption, and draws the kind of throng that differ, it seems to me, only in degree from the ancient Romans who cheered gladiators as they butchering each other to death.
Unlike other rough sports where injuries are not exactly rare (hockey, rugby, football) the whole point of boxing is to inflict harm. But no other professional sport to my knowledge is required to have a physician present? To injure is to advance. In fact, the more harm the better. A knock-out has much more cachet than a mere TKO (technical knock-out). The sport is riddled with brain injuries and longterm neurological problems. Every time a fighter steps through those ropes he knows that this could happen to him.
One pro-boxing publication alphabetizes -- and chillingly rhapsodizes -- the deaths of 26 young men who who died in the ring or after a severe beating.
Oh, did I mention I enjoy watching a good boxing match? My dad was a true-blue Muhammad Ali fan and I grew up watching professional matches with him (my dad, not Mr. Ali) in the Halifax Forum. I can still remember the salt taste of peanuts in the shell, the clear ding ding of the bell, and the atmosphere of fear and excitement as the fighters' names were announced in by tuxedoed men. I'm conflicted, I admit it. I believe boxing is immoral. It's glorified human cockfighting dolled up to look presentable. But do ya think I can manage to channel surf away if a match comes on TV? Forget it. I love the fights!
When it comes to boxing, just call me the Romans 7 Man.