Why I walked away from pro boxing


TIME and time again, I have broken up my romance with pro boxing following the dictate of my conscience.

The latest incidents of boxing brutalities here happened recently like the cases of boxers Karlo Maquinto, Z Gorres, and Romic Dablo.

Maquinto died after a fight last February. A few years before, Z Gorres went comatose after a bantamweight clash in Las Vegas. Just last week, Romic Dablo went into a coma and died after the third round of his fight in Zambales.

Last January 22, 2006, the office of former senator Freddie Webb called me and asked for my fearless forecast on the Manny Pacquiao and Erik Morales fight in Las Vegas.

In reply, I told Dingdong Marco, executive producer of Webb’s Saturday radio program over dzMM, that I might not be the right person to make an honest analysis of the fight since I had sort of walked away from the sport some years back because of what was happening to it. My decision  was based on moral and medical grounds, I told Marco, adding that I was simply following my conscience. I felt the boxers were being exploited and I wanted no part of it.

On moral grounds, I told Marco that I’ve had enough of sleazy and judicious promoters, frequent mismatches, put-on boxers, falsified records and rigged ratings. However, I made it very clear to him that I have no problem with sportswriters (and boxing apologists) who cover the fights for TV and their newspapers. After all, the bottom line is that pro boxing is legal in this country and in most parts of the world, except in Sweden and Norway which have abolished it.

On medical grounds, I have already written many times about the jeopardy inherent in pro boxing, citing its abuses and lack of safety measures that could leave the boxers permanently brain-damaged, disabled, or dead; the growing hostility of medical community, including renowned members of the American Medical Association and the British Medical Association; and the increasing call to ban professional boxing around the world.

Medical evidence against pro boxing is overwhelming in the Philippines. Close to 20 boxers, since 1979, have died while many more, including those unreported to the Games and Amusements Board, have suffered brain injuries.

James Tyler, brain specialist and director general of British Safety Council said that “the brain is like a blancmange, a gelatin-like rubbery pudding. Every time a blow (to the head) is struck, the brain cracks against the inside of the hard skull, and it has the effect of numbing the brain or causing permanent brain damage.”

Boxers don’t have to die to accentuate the violence and cruelty of the sport. One only has to look at the list of those who have been incapacitated for life or reduced to stuttering derelicts like the legendary heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, a victim of Parkinson’s syndrome.

“I was struck that this man (Ali), who previously was known for his glibness, was almost unintelligible,” once said Dr. Nelson Richards, president of the American Academy of Neurology.

Modesty aside, I was in the company of the late GAB chair Justiniano Montano Jr. and Rudy Salud when Jun campaigned and won to become the first Filipino and Asian president of the World Boxing Council.

I learned the ropes from higher boxing personalities which included some of the best like Hall of Famer Gabriel “Flash” Elorde and his father-in-law, Lope Sarreal Sr., who brought me to the boxing capitals of the world including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, among others. I acted, several times, as judge in international championship bouts.

  • PHtaxpayer

    Boxing is dangerous but so is car racing, flying, mountain climbing, scuba diving and biking.  But its up to the person to know what the safety rules are and follow them.  Kinda silly to leave a sport just cuz it is dangerous.  I would never do that.  To me, you are not a real sportsman if you focus on the liabilities.  Boxing is a wonderful sport, as I have just recently discovered after watching boxing matches since I was a kid and the physical benefits outweigh the risks.

    • Trollollolloll

      You don’t get your face or head punched hard every 15 seconds in car racing, flying, mountain climbing, scuba diving and biking. On the other hand, you are an idiot.

      • PHtaxpayer

        So stick to playing with your barbie doll, Troll.  No one’s asking you to get into sports.  haha

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/IS6KI2U7EDZS6D2Q7MZ3Z6CAME Lila

           boxing is really bad..

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/UETJGSVVVA6QL4IN76YG7E3MO4 Michael

        then you better play lastiko, jolen, sungka that’s far from danger or risks….GO!!!!

  • 2rey3

    I just talked to a former pro boxer who at 42 years old claims that he is not feeling well now. In boxing matches between non rated boxers especially when they campaign abroad, he told me that something hard are placed  inside their gloves which an outsider can not notice even if they see it. They did not complain because this is a common practice up to now!! He stopped in boxing early when he went TNT in Japan after a boxing match and stayed there as such for five years. He was caught by the Japanese immigration and sent back to the Philippine after spending sometime in jail.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CQAUQPFLMOXQMME2GLSK23WFOQ okidoki

    Everybody knows that BOXING is a dangerous sport. No boxer can deny that. But if you get paid tens of millions of DOLLARS, you tend to forget the deadly issues that goes with boxing. It is only TRAGIC when you get paid a pitance amount and then get beat up and become comatose and die in the process. Again, I bet you those CONCERNS are gone once a boxer is offered tens of MILLIONS of dollars to fight. Simple economics, right??

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