Monday, August 13, 2012

Fears about boxing should not be a gender issue

One and done. This is what columnist Linda Chavez believes needs to happen with women’s boxing.

Chavez wrote in the New York Post late last week, “Is there no evolutionary advantage in having half the population play a gentler, more nurturing role that tempers the aggressive tendencies of the other half of our species?”
I am not going to debate the essence of men and women in this post. There are far more knowledgeable scholars who have and will continue to speak on that topic.

This post is to talk about the sport of boxing.  As a former boxing editor, I enjoy the sport immensely. I take issue with the idea that women need more protection from violent sports than men. Chavez does say that perhaps the sport should be removed altogether, but the crux of her piece is that women should not be boxing.

There is no doubt that the sport has a physical, rough element. However watch a technician such as Floyd Mayweather Jr. (his out-of-the ring transgressions notwithstanding), and it is obvious why the sport is dubbed the “sweet science.”

His superior defense and movement is a joy to watch for purists. Chavdz even pointed out in her column that the objective of boxing is to hit your opponent without getting hit.

The brutality that can come with boxing does turn a lot of men and women against the sport. The brain damage that can occur from competing in the ring is definitely a major concern. Chavez was right to mention it.

But Olympic boxing is far safer than professional boxing because of the protective head gear the fighters wear. Also, there is less risk of serious injury in a three-round fight than the long 12-round bouts that people envision when it comes to pro boxing.

But what sport is not too dangerous? There are concussion problems not just in the NFL, but in hockey, too. Should women be banned from that? Mixed martial arts is violent. Should women be banned from that?

Under Chavez’s violence paradigm, maybe something should be done to soccer, as well. Abby Wambach’s black eye shows that there is some brutality in that sport.

The major quarrel I have with the column is that it wants to make everybody the same. Not all men enjoy or want to participate in rough sports or even sports in general. And not all women fit the stereotypical mold of their gender, too.

-- Steve Bien-Aime

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