By Ken Reed

When one reads about boxer Magomed Abdusalamov remaining in a coma at Roosevelt Hospital in New York after his Nov. 2nd fight with Mike Perez at Madison Square Garden, one has to ask, “What kind of society sanctions assault and battery for the public entertainment of others?”

The answer, I guess, is a country that matures and progresses very slowly. We’ve moved on from public executions and dog fighting. Things like that are now dubbed “barbaric” by society. But what’s more barbaric than allowing two people to pummel each other’s brains until one of the combatants falls unconscious?

Meanwhile, while Abdusalamov fights for his life in a hospital, the promoters that staged the fight are busy counting their obscene profits. Is there not something wrong with this picture?

Football and hockey have rightly been getting a lot of scrutiny for the brain trauma issues in their sports. But at least those sports are games that have purposes that go beyond pure violence. Boxing’s one and only purpose is to match two combatants until one of them drops to the ground unable to get up. If some fighters die (nearly 2,000 have since the 1890’s) or end up in a coma like Abdusalamov (the father of three kids, ages 8, 4 and 11 months) so be it. It’s part of the game.

Look, boxing clearly should be banned immediately. It’s gratuitous violence that feeds the worst parts of our collective character. It’s depraved and unethical and should be illegal.

Progress as a species is slow. One can only hope that we evolve more quickly to higher standards and stop taking sordid pleasure from watching two fellow human beings inflict pain on each other in a boxing ring.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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