|In light of the many events past and present that have occurred causing many fighters to put their careers as well as their lives in jeopardy, I felt it necessary to address the situation. Given the short life of a boxer's career, it's so important that they make prudent decisions that will allow them to get the most out of their career without leaving their|
professions broke, beaten and abused. Let's not get it twisted, these are human beings, not machines. We cannot just simply push a button, turn a key or flip a switch in anticipation of them performing at will and at their best. These men and women are not made of steel and computer chips devoid of emotion, but of flesh and blood that cannot simply be repaired at “Joe's machine shop.” Ask yourself these questions: how many fighters have you heard of that have ended up on the scrap pile in boxing's proverbial junkyard? How many fighter's have entered the ring well past their ability to fight an opponent who was in the prime of their boxing career, only to be humiliated, humbled and dehumanized, still holding on to a dream that has long since past?
Think about this: if a boxer has the opportunity to become undisputed in his weight class, which has never been done before, what would make him abandon a sure shot in boxing history, bringing him the accolades, opportunities, finance, fame and fights that will surely come knocking at his door, to settle for a situation that may bring a few dollars but more importantly comes with the possibility of losing everything?
Are you aware of how many fighters that get into the ring in bad health, risking their very lives against an opponent that has been training for months and that are in peak physical condition? Is it any wonder that boxers die in the ring? Why do they do this? One reason is foolish bravado (the idea that I am tough enough to do this anyway or having an unnecessary point to prove). Another silly reason is the idea or belief that has been presented that this opportunity may never come again. And one of the biggest misconceptions is the idea that the money is worth it.
This thinking is ludicrous and absurd. To me this is a no win situation for the fighter; yes he may have won the match the money and the support of the media, but in days to come, he may feel the malaise of bad health. There are endless lists of no name contenders being thrown in matches against fighters that they could not possibly defeat. They are simply there to add another "W" to their opponent’s record. These poor, forgotten contender's end up out of boxing, sometimes incapacitated, with no money and no benefits, and no hope for the future. Even the U.S. government has tried to intervene in helping this pathetic situation with no resolve.
If we are not in the position to help make a change in this situation, then the least we can do as fans and media is to give the ultimate gift of respect for all the fighters put on the line.
Katrina Walters can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org