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mistermack

Should Boxing be Banned ?

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You might think I have a firm opinion, from the title, but I'm pulled both ways. 

I like watching boxing. (male) But there's no denying the brain damage it causes. Mohammed Ali is the prime example. You do get the odd death, but you get that in other sports, and if that was all there was it would be easier to be against a ban. But the brain damage happens to every boxer. You can't box and not take head shots. Many boxers show no sign of damage, but they definitely do suffer it, some more than others.

I'm quite concerned about Saturday's World Heavyweight Championship bout between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz. 

I've followed Joshua's career since before he became champion, and there has been a trend. He's hugely impressive, until he takes a good head shot. But once he's been nailed, he's a completely different fighter for two or three rounds. It's very unusual, but it happened in several of his bouts. Many boxers are back to full alertness in seconds, but for Joshua to be affected for two or three rounds is really unusual, and I would honestly advise him to pack it in, if he was talking to me now. You only get one shot at life, and he could be risking it more than he knows. 

I still don't know if I would ban boxing though. I hate women's boxing, I wouldn't watch it, but I wouldn't ban it unless men's boxing was banned too.

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As long as the fighters are aware of the risks and the referees and trainers primary focus is ensuring the safety of the boxers i don't see a problem. 

 

 

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Hmm personally I lean towards allowing it if no one is forced and everyone is like Prometheus says, but for me more importantly would be consistency:

If boxing would be banned, american football and rugby maybe as well should be banned and I feel like then possibly alcohol should also be banned. If other people are not allowed to practice a sport they enjoy for their own entertainment and that of others, while acknowledging the risks, then i feel that should apply to alcohol and all things in life.

But as I said, I lean to allowing most things and just letting people deal with the consequences (if people are adequately warned and have some sort of choice (not in the free-will sense but just general common language), but if we do decide to ban sports like boxing, then please lets go all the way and be consistent.

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Other sports result in more deaths.
Parachute jumping, hang gliding, bungee jumping, etc. …
Should they not be banned first ?

As for occupations that require risky behaviour, driving probably results in more deaths than many other activities.
Should we outlaw other professions that require you to drive ( salesmen, truck drivers, etc. ) ?

How about fire-fighters ? Or cops ?

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Like I said I'm pulled both ways. But I don't think you can equate boxing with Rugby or American Football. It's the sheer number of hits to the head that's the difference. There's only two boxers in the ring, not two teams of fifteen, or fifty odd (that's what it looks like anyway) in American football. Hit's to the head are not what's aimed at, and they are much fewer. Even so, soccer players in the past got dementia that was put down to heading the ball in practice. Especially in the old days, of heavier leather balls. 

If I was 18 and just going into boxing, I'd try to do it without sparring, or at least sparring involving head shots. If you could cut out the hits to the head in training, it might make the difference.

8 minutes ago, MigL said:

Other sports result in more deaths.

I'm not really arguing about deaths. I agree, deaths happen in many sports. It's brain damage I'm talking about. 

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The question comes down to this:  Should we ban X because X may lead to damage to the person who chooses to do X?  As long as the individual who chooses X is the one who faces the risk, then a free society has no moral right to ban X.

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9 minutes ago, OldChemE said:

The question comes down to this:  Should we ban X because X may lead to damage to the person who chooses to do X?  As long as the individual who chooses X is the one who faces the risk, then a free society has no moral right to ban X.

If you take that principle to the extreme, then you would get stuff that would HAVE to be banned. Like Russian Roulette shows on tv. Winner take all. 

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Boxing is already being banned by the free market. There are so many better fighting sports available today plus so many fewer viewers interested in watching them. 

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5 hours ago, OldChemE said:

The question comes down to this:  Should we ban X because X may lead to damage to the person who chooses to do X?  As long as the individual who chooses X is the one who faces the risk, then a free society has no moral right to ban X.

Like suicide? Heroin? 

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11 hours ago, OldChemE said:

The question comes down to this:  Should we ban X because X may lead to damage to the person who chooses to do X?  As long as the individual who chooses X is the one who faces the risk, then a free society has no moral right to ban X.

But in the case of boxing, the people doing the boxing aren't the only ones at risk, as they will have to be cared for by society eventually due to the potential damage they have accumulated over the years. So in that case, do we have a moral right to ban to thereby reduce the burden on people who aren't taking that risk?

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12 hours ago, Prometheus said:

As long as the fighters are aware of the risks and the referees and trainers primary focus is ensuring the safety of the boxers i don't see a problem. 

I don't think it's this simple.

Boxing, and sports in general, are activities available to kids/young adults who can't realistically make a determination about risks. We already know that even adults are generally bad at assessing risk.  

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1 minute ago, swansont said:

Boxing, and sports in general, are activities available to kids/young adults who can't realistically make a determination about risks. We already know that even adults are generally bad at assessing risk.  

That's why childrens' sports activities should be closely supervised - that determination can be made based on current evidence and measures taken to minimise risks (e.g. headgear). And if we are talking risks then the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle should also be taken into account.

 

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The issue of concussion and especially its likely association with of a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as well as other diseases is a huge topic in sports medicine right now. Much of the research is based on American football and hockey players and there is an increasing body of evidence that identify these sports as a risk factor for CTE later in life. As such, there are some voices who call for a modification of these sports for children (e.g. stopping tackling). In other sports  something similar has already been done and in US soccer, heading is banned for children under 11, for example. Whether that is enough remains to be seen. 

Obviously, the popularity of sports such as American football or hockey makes it very difficult to even consider bans. Folks have been working on better head protection, though there is evidence that helmets may actually amplify the effects. There is also a push to penalize actions that may result in head injury put it is a hugely contentious issue, balancing athlete's long-term health with huge popular entertainment.

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3 hours ago, Prometheus said:

That's why childrens' sports activities should be closely supervised

That statement should probably include qualifiers. Sports activities (in the US at least) used to lean more heavily toward a bunch of kids getting together, working out rules, working out disputes amongst themselves, with a major emphasis on 'fun'. With close supervision we lose much of that, and add boorish parental involvement. 

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we cant sanitize life.

Edited by dimreepr

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56 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Sports activities (in the US at least) used to lean more heavily toward a bunch of kids getting together, working out rules, working out disputes amongst themselves, with a major emphasis on 'fun'.

Depends what they're doing: if they having 'boxing' matches in the playground i think intervention is reasonable. If they've set up some jumpers for goalposts for a game of footy i think we can leave them to it.

 

1 hour ago, CharonY said:

In other sports  something similar has already been done and in US soccer, heading is banned for children under 11, for example.

I remember the first time i headed football as a young kid. I didn't even try again for about 10 years.

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30 minutes ago, Prometheus said:

Depends what they're doing:

Exactly. Qualifiers make your statement more realistic.

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On 12/3/2019 at 10:21 PM, Prometheus said:

As long as the fighters are aware of the risks and the referees and trainers primary focus is ensuring the safety of the boxers i don't see a problem. 

 

 

Unlike any other sport, where harm to the opponent is incidental to the process, the primary goal of boxing is to brain damage your opponent.

The euphemism they use  is "knock out".

So, if those involved want to make the "sport" safer, they have to reverse the rule; a KO should lose the match.

 

Fundamentally, this is grown men (in the ring or the audience) doing something they should have  grown out of while at school.

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3 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Unlike any other sport, where harm to the opponent is incidental to the process, the primary goal of boxing is to brain damage your opponent.

The euphemism they use  is "knock out".

So, if those involved want to make the "sport" safer, they have to reverse the rule; a KO should lose the match.

 If your concern is really the risk of damage these people are doing to themselves, then the intention behind the sport is irrelevant, only the damage it actually does.

Surprisingly hard to find stats directly comparing various sports for head injuries, but in this Japanese research judo, rugby, baseball and swimming all had higher deaths and severe disability than boxing in school aged children over a 13 year period, whereas this research finds ice hockey has the highest rate of concussion in adult  male sports, Taekwondo in adult female sports.

If you want to ban boxing you should ban swimming, rugby and baseball to be consistent, or offer additional reasons it should be banned but not the others.

 

3 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Fundamentally, this is grown men (in the ring or the audience) doing something they should have  grown out of while at school.

That's your opinion. You need a better reason than you think it's childish in order to stop consenting adults from participating in an activity - otherwise i'll have to stop playing dungeons and dragons.  And more generally, why do you get to dictate how much risk another adult should take with their health?

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18 hours ago, Prometheus said:

If your concern is really the risk of damage these people are doing to themselves, 

They don't hit themselves; they hit each other.

That's the point.

18 hours ago, Prometheus said:

That's your opinion. You need a better reason...

 

It's also the opinion of the society which expects teachers and other adults to stop kids fighting in the playground.

19 hours ago, Prometheus said:

And more generally, why do you get to dictate how much risk another adult should take with their health?

You seem not to understand that it's other peoples health they actively seek to damage.
But the answer is obvious. your point is  a strawman.

It's not my decision, but society's.

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6 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

They don't hit themselves; they hit each other.

That's the point.

So? Why does that make rugby OK even though it has a higher risk of mortality and morbidity than boxing?

 

6 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

You seem not to understand that it's other peoples health they actively seek to damage.

And you seem not to understand it is done with the consent of the other person.

 

6 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

You seem not to understand that it's other peoples health they actively seek to damage.
But the answer is obvious. your point is  a strawman.

There is a precedent for banning things have health risks (illicit drugs). There is also precedent for allowing things that have health risks (alcohol, tobacco). The question then is where we decide to draw the line. Surely the rational approach would be decide what level of risk society is willing to tolerate. In which case swimming, rugby and ice hockey would need to be banned before boxing, as the evidence i shared suggests they are more harmful.  

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28 minutes ago, Prometheus said:

So? Why does that make rugby OK even though it has a higher risk of mortality and morbidity than boxing?

I think the situation is slightly more complicated, one of the papers you listed for example seems to focus on acute injuries. However, there is increasing worry of long-term effects, specifically in professional athletes. There is also a difference in casual engagement vs competive or regular activity, age etc. 

In addition there is uneven distribution in reports for various sports as well as type of evidence. For example, there is a study on the brains of (deceased) NFL players and 110 out of 111 showed evidence of CTE (the above mentioned condition associated with concussion). But similar studies are missing for many other sports so it is not easy to rank them. Studies in the broader population generally associate athletes with ca. 5-fould higher incidence of CTE than non-athletes (and again football players with the highest incidence rate, though boxing also showed some positive association). 

If one really wanted to tackle the question from a policy and public health point of view, one would first need to define what types of outcome one wants to prevent. In addition, the dose has to be taken into account as professional sports has a higher strain than casual engagement. And finally, these risks have to be balanced against health benefits due to exercise.

That all being said, at least for professional football there is very strong evidence that athletes are at marked elevated risk at developing neurodegenerative disease. Going back to the argument of consent- it has to be informed. The NFL has historically denied any links between CTE and has been engaged in litigations surround that issue. I think the first step is not really a ban, but rather providing as as complete risk assessment as possible and provide thorough information especially to professional athletes. Only then are we really certain about the consenting adults in this case.

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10 hours ago, Prometheus said:

So? Why does that make rugby OK even though it has a higher risk of mortality and morbidity than boxing?

The difference between pharmacology and murder is intent.
Civilised societies do not judge  only on the outcome

 

 

10 hours ago, Prometheus said:

And you seem not to understand it is done with the consent of the other person.

I understand that there is consent.
I also understand that the law doesn't  always recognise consent.
"In the UK, in Operation Spanner, three men who consensually agreed to engage in consensual sadomasochism, were convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The resulting House of Lords case (R v Brown, colloquially known as "the Spanner case") ruled that consent was not a valid legal defence for wounding and actual bodily harm in the UK, except as a foreseeable incident of a lawful activity in which the person injured was participating, e.g. surgery. "
Currently "Boxing"- by the Queensbury rules" is lawful and knuckle fighting is not.

Had you checked on that before telling me I didn't understand?
 

 

10 hours ago, Prometheus said:

The question then is where we decide to draw the line. Surely the rational approach would be decide what level of risk society is willing to tolerate. In which case swimming, rugby and ice hockey would need to be banned before boxing, as the evidence i shared suggests they are more harmful.  

That sort of decision making is, essentially, what I do for a living.

You have made a common error.
You have  only got half way to the well established idea of a "risk/ benefit" analysis.

By your "logic" we should ban cars- since they kill more people than rugby.

The "benefit " of boxing is, largely, the entertainment of the people.

If the crowds were big enough, would you think it was "right" to feed Christians to the lions?
 

Edited by John Cuthber

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