The History Of Boxing Is Classist And Violent, And We Should Maybe Just Do Something Else Instead
Tonight's fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao has been billed as "The Fight of the Century" (clearly by someone who doesn't realize that we have 85 years left in this century). I've never been particularly into boxing (the only thing bloody about me is my big ol' bleeding liberal heart) and I understand this match is years in the making, but I really have absolutely no interest. Part of that is my complete lack of any kind of sporty gene (I got a double dose of the theater geek gene to compensate), and part of it is my admittedly priggish attitude toward the sport. When it comes down to it, it's the only sport I can think of whose primary goal is to harm your opponent. Literally this is how it works: You're supposed to knock them out, aka, injury them in ways that could cause brain damage.
Look, I'm not saying we should legally ban boxing, but maybe we should be less enthusiastic about it as a culture. Its history is violent, exploitative, and overall pretty problematic. Because I am a nerdy killjoy, I thought it might be fun to take a look at boxing through the ages to explore why these issues are absolutely nothing new, but are, in fact, a part of its very fabric.
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