I wish the article below, that mentioned the best alternative is to regulate fighting, is about cockfighting.
– Gameness til the End
March 14, 2013 6:30 am • Jim Kent Journal columnist
I’ve never been a fan of boxing, inside the ring or out.
As a kid I did see a few film clips of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and the two Rockys (Marciano and Graziano), while my friend Mike and I would frequently do some “slap-boxing” in front of his house, taking turns being Jerry Quarry and Jimmy Ellis.
But I never watched or went to an actual professional fight. Seeing two grown men pummel each other until their faces were swollen, blood-soaked, ghoulish masks really didn’t interest me; perhaps because the reality of defending yourself was a constant where I grew up.
It wasn’t a particularly high-crime area or even an especially rough neighborhood for New York, such as Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant or Red Hook (where my father worked on the NYPD).
Still, getting into a fist fight on the way to, from or in school, around your block or in an alley nearby was a constant possibility. So, you learned what you could and did your best. Yet few I knew actually went looking for a fight. As in the Old West, abstention was the key to survival.
But that’s my belief.
Boxing, however, has meant big money for lots of people for many years. These days, the insatiable desire for extremes in this country has shifted that pugilistic interest to the “bare knuckles/no holds barred” displays of cage fighting.
Its growing popularity has some viewing it as the “next South Dakota gold mine” — barring the ability to cash in on oil pipelines, uranium mines, oil fields or whatever other confidence schemes, er, investment opportunities come peddling down the road.
Three Card Monte, anyone?
I don’t often find myself in agreement with Gov. Dennis Daugaard, but I do support his view on cage fighting as being “violent.” In fact, that’s beyond an understatement.
As it stands, the “sport” is very reminiscent of what regularly took place on many Brooklyn streets — and in the other city boroughs — “back in the day.” All that’s missing is the baseball bat or steel garbage can lid I was advised to use by one mentor should I encounter someone bigger than me who was picking a fight.
But, to reiterate, that was about surviving the journey home. It wasn’t about people paying to see if I’d get my head bashed in or do the same to my “opponent.”
Still, boxing has a similar history: most visible during the days of the Great Depression when street fighters would wander the country’s dark recesses looking for a quick buck in those very hard times.
True, they weren’t sanctioned boxing matches, but neither are the cage fights that have been taking place here.
The only available report on injuries in the “sport” comes from Johns Hopkins University and notes a 23.6 percent injury rate and a 3 percent concussion rate. And, of course, there have been the deaths, but “just” a few … so far.
Although my preference would be to see cage fighting banned in the state — as some municipalities have already done — the best alternate option is to regulate it through the establishment of an active commission that will actually oversee what takes place within the bloody coops.
Otherwise, we’re just talking cock-fighting — now there’s progress.