HAPPY BOXING DAY
I always appreciated the former countries of the British Empire like Canada, Australia, and England itself appreciating those who go into the ring to risk life and limb in a fight.
I watched a series of Mike Tyson fights for a morning. Was he the best fighter who ever lived in his early days? He was a real killing machine. We worry about the damage to the brain caused by head injuries in football; what about boxing. Watch some of his bouts and all you can think about is chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which is the term for brain damage. We associate that with repeated blunt impacts, like head tackles in football. Did you know that 99% of all NFL players brains that were examined had CTE?
I’m sure some will suggest that it was Mohammed Ali who was the best. Well what is nice about Boxing Day is that no one boxer is chosen, we can take our pick. You like Ali then you think of him today.
You see the British were clever in just honoring all boxers. In America we used to honor just presidents Washington and Lincoln who deserved that honor; but then we changed it to honor all presidents including the likes of Clinton and Nixon, calling it Presidents Day. We have a chance to pick and choose who we like to remember. Unfortunately it diminishes the roles Washington and Lincoln played in our history. I wonder if kids will be taught about them any more. After all no reason they should because they were “old white guys.”
It’s not so important that children be taught about boxers since they don’t affect the destiny of the country. Also unlike presidents it is sometimes hard to decide who was the greatest, although Mohamamed Ali put that crown on his head. There’s one article worth reading if you are in a quandary over trying to decide between Tyson and Ali.
No matter which one of them you choose you still have to consider others to be fair. How could you possibly overlook Joe Lewis? was the greatest. Others say, “you’re only looking at the heavyweights what about the lower weight classes?”
Thinking of these guys with their skills and looking at their lives after boxing how do you escape the idea that CTE did not play a big role in their actions. Neither Ali or Lewis went out without having quite a bit of mental trouble. Poor Ali was terribly hampered; Lewis was probably not much better but his collapses were covered up attributing them to his drug use. Has any study been done on CTE in boxers? Just take the first few opponents of Mike Tyson and see how they are doing now. How is it we allow boxing to continue? Why do the United Kingdom and its former possessions celebrate such a sport?
Of course they don’t have Boxing Day because of the boxers, it is because of the boxes. You see the British who run the country wanted to celebrate Christmas fully which required their servants to be present to attend to them. So the servants worked on Christmas while those who employed them, the upper class or those of royal birth usually, could enjoy the day without any inconveniences. The day after Christmas they gave to the servants as a holiday. They would also hand to the servants boxes of goodies, mostly left overs from their feasts, that they could take home to their families to enjoy. Being for the most part what we call “good Christians” they sacrificed this one day although most servants had to be back after the lights went on to draw their baths.
So what we celebrate today is a box and not a boxer. Too bad, it would have been nice to have had a day for those ring warriors who get their brains splattered about trying to be contenders. Anyway, happy Box Day.