Fighter in medically induced coma after Saturday night

Discussion in 'Boxing' started by Saved_in_Blood, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Dementia pugilistica has been a recognised condition for nearly a hundred years and it is hard to argue that the risks of long term neurological damage were not at least partly understood by the medical community by the mid 70s. The boxing fraternity and the promoters in particular may have tried to keep the full extent of those findings from their stable, but I reject the idea that the dangers have only been identified in the last decade.

    But the question I've been asking has largely gone unanswered: if the fighter understand the risks, who are we to tell them they can't fight?
  2. Saved_in_Blood

    Saved_in_Blood Valued Member

    This is very true... which is why the NFL lawsuit and all of that stuff had gone on not very long ago. They just wanted it to go away and for it not to be to public. They wanted the little boys and girls watching it to be like they are watching the American dream laid out for their taking.
  3. Saved_in_Blood

    Saved_in_Blood Valued Member

    Well are the risk vs. reward percentages enough is the question. Let's take how many pro fighters are in just the U.S. or Britain, or wherever you'd like and see how many of them actually make enough to even make a living.

    We are actually the exact ones who should say they shouldn't. My reasoning? We might be the ones who have to foot the bill for them later. Right now the first Russian boxer I had put the story about's family is asking for money for his very very high and still rising, medical bills. I have no problem donating money to those who are in need, however, I think the local person who's roof is falling down because he/she doesn't have the money to fix it would be better than if this guy hadn't gotten himself hurt with "knowing the risks" don't you?
  4. Saved_in_Blood

    Saved_in_Blood Valued Member

    "Towards the end of Fight Doctor, Ferdie Pacheco's eyes-wide‑open homily to his 15 years as Muhammad Ali's physician, there is a conversation that strikes with the force of an overhand right.

    "I told Ali: 'If you ever get into the ring again, it will be without me. I really don't think you should ever fight again. You are shortening your life.'

    "He smiled sadly and nodded … and for the hundredth time murmured: 'Yeah, you're right. I think I'll hang them up.'"

    It was 30 September 1977: the morning after Ernie Shavers' screwdriver fists had corrugated Ali's body – "He hit me so hard, he shook my kinfolk back in Africa," Ali memorably claimed – but failed to wrench the heavyweight title off his waist. It would be four years before Ali retired, and another seven before the man who shook up the world was visited permanently by the terrible tremors of Parkinson's disease, but the warning signs were there back then, along with the excuses.

    As Pacheco put it in his book, published a few months after the Shavers fight: "The years of absorbing thumping body shots was costing Ali his health … but his financial need was great, and so he continued."

    Those words came to mind on Thursday night while watching the three-weights world champion James Toney lumber around a British ring at the age of 45 during Sky's Prizefighter tournament.

    It was no great surprise that the York Hall in Bethnal Green swarmed with people paying their respects to Toney, a one-time crack dealer who reformed his life when his cherished mother Shelley warned him: "You got three choices: prison, rehab or tombstone – you decide." He is one of the better fighters of the past 25 years, despite regularly surrendering his talents at the buffet table. And the East End has often had a soft spot for gangsters who love their mums.

    Toney's appearance, which bore more than a passing resemblance to the Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters, came as no particular surprise. He always hated training.

    The deeper fear for those who admire him was that his words – as they had been on Ringside the previous week – were slurred, with sentences coming out as if parts had been arbitrarily chopped. It was as if his brain was communicating in digital but his mouth was receiving in analogue.

    True, there were faint echoes of former glories in his opening bout against Matt Legg, an eight-fights novice who had boxed once in the past five years; certainly the combination that forced a stoppage was put together as easily as lines on a child's dot-to-dot. But Toney showed his age, and not much else, as he lost a messy decision in his semi-final against Jason Gavern, a 36-year-old journeyman who has now won just 25 of his 45 fights.

    And yet Toney goes on. We know why: last year it was revealed that he owed California $353,966 in back taxes. But that doesn't mean he should be allowed to keep practising his trade.

    There are those who say that Toney has passed the relevant tests. That he never spoke the language of public schools but the streets. But sometimes you don't need to have a medical licence to be troubled by what your senses tell you: Toney's speech is getting worse.

    My colleague Donald McRae, who spent several years with Toney for his award-winning book Dark Trade, has no doubts. "When I wrote the book James was clearly understandable," he says. "That's not the case now. I worry about my favourite fighter, and I worry still more when I hear him talking."

    As Donald pointed out, you can see dulled glimmers of his wit struggling to get near the surface, and the odd twinkle in his eye. "But for the most part he sounds damaged and ruined."

    Worries about Toney have little to do with ageism, as some have suggested. Bernard Hopkins continues to box and be coherent as he approaches his sixth decade. Good on him. Another old-timer, Archie Moore, wrote in his autobiography in 1960 – aged 43 – "If I didn't think I was fit to fight I would quit. I never want to defraud the business that has finally made me wealthy." He lived up to his word too.

    Toney still believes, with a stubbornness that 90 professional fights and thousands of hours of sparring is yet to beat out of him, that he is indestructible. It is clearly folly. It is time for the sport – and its interlinked city states of promoters, TV companies and licensing authorities – to stage the equivalent of an intervention. Toney should be persuaded to take his talents into training or something else. And to never box again.

    Ultimately it boils down to this: the unspoken social contract boxing has with society. Those involved in the sport know it saves a far greater number of lives than it harms, but also that the inherent and long-term dangers of people whacking lumps out of each other can only be minimized not eradicated. But can boxing really say that it has done everything it can in this case? And do we really want Toney, a witty and garrulous man with five kids, to continue his slow march into the fog?"

    Sure, who are we to tell them they shouldn't fight?
  5. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    This is something that the promotion or boxing organization needs to be covering. That or some type of insurance for fighters. I'm surprised they don't have something like that in place already?
  6. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    You can't answer the question by parroting it back to me.

    What right do you have to tell someone they can't step into the ring. You can argue for stricter medical requirements for licensing, for smaller gloves, for fewer, shorter rounds, but I think that telling people you can't box because it is dangerous is wrong.
  7. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    How are they not covered by comprehensive insurance? That's a massive failure of the system, but it's not a justification to ban boxing.
  8. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    I thought it was a must to have insurance to be a professional fighter? Not something I've looked into extensively though.

    I think everything should be done to make somebody aware the medical circumstances they potentially face (which isn't really done well) but I don't think boxing should be banned outright because of potential injury. Sure, we should do what we can to make things safer but all in all aaradia has it right . . . . you are participating in a sport where you're intentionally trying to hurt the other guy.
  9. Count Duckula

    Count Duckula Valued Member

    And a competition where headshots are less problematic, such as any of the grappling comps?
  10. Saved_in_Blood

    Saved_in_Blood Valued Member

    They should, but I don't think they do. I think all fighters should have things well explained to them before their pro debut... even amateur for that matter.
  11. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    That'll probably end up being what happens as far as martial arts go competition wise for me. My enjoyment in fighting ranges from military tactics and maneuvers to weapons to grappling. I don't NEED boxing to be happy, it was just really nice to do. Competing in boxing certainly isn't going to be a mainstream goal of mine, but it is something I do want to keep sharp even if it's just for my own knowledge with a little bit of sparring and maybe hopping on an ammy event here or there. Not happening any time soon though. :p
  12. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    On this basis you would ban

    1) Any motor sport
    2) Any contact sport
    3) Driving
    4) Sex
    5) Drinking
    6) Cheerleading
    7) Hunting
    8) Fishing

    and the list goes on..........
  13. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    If you make it to pro without understanding the risk of long term brain injury, then you're already too far gone and should be shipped off to the glue factory post haste.
  14. Saved_in_Blood

    Saved_in_Blood Valued Member

    Yeah, all of this has taken away a lot of my interests in boxing for myself. I still do love it, but for me I think that I will stay with the Hapkido and that sort of thing.
  15. Saved_in_Blood

    Saved_in_Blood Valued Member

    Motor sports has a lot more safety regulations in place
    Already discussed
    Driving... I have insurance
    Sex? Really?
    I don't drink and believe it should be regulated more or banned completely
    As far as I know, schools have insurance
    Hunting doesn't involve repeated blows to the head
    See the above

    I don't think any of the above actually have much to do with my statement, sure you can get hurt doing anything, but as already stated.. the idea here is to hurt or KO your opponent.
  16. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Who gets a traumatic brain injury during sex?! :eek:
  17. Saved_in_Blood

    Saved_in_Blood Valued Member

    I think he's doing it wrong :bang:
  18. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Statistically fishing is the most dangerous sports around with no insurance in place

    Cheerleading has the highest injury rates for no good reason other than "ra ra ra" for a team

    Sex leads to STD's and pregancies - "why should I foot the bill for someone getting pregnant who cannot afford to raise the child..."

    Skiing - lots of injuries, pure recreation with nothing else

    Mountaineering - "because it's there" seems a poor reason for risking death to some

    They have EVERYTHING to do with your point - it's none of your business how I spend my time even if I do end up costing money. There are infinitely more costs associated with the above examples, so boxing is actually CHEAPER than they are

    Everything has inhernet risk and with boxing and contact sports it is not YOUR business to tell someone that they can or cannot do a risky activity
  19. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    It's still incredibly dangerous.
    So should all sportsmen who participate in dangerous sports.
  20. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter


    The point is not the injury it is the "cost to the taxpayer" non-argument being put forth; I just picked examples that have MORE of an impact on the taxpayer (and in many cases the individual)

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