The Ethics of Boxing

by Niko Tricarico: The world of real estate has an innumerable amount of laws designed, basically, to protect human beings from their own immoral tendencies. The rules and regulations of life are put in place to act as shields from the swindler, the con artist, the thief and the unethical practices of the perpetually corrupt. Left to our own devices human beings would eat each other without remorse; a theme most famously expounded upon in William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies. And the proof of our unscrupulous nature is that we, as a people, continually endeavor to circumvent regulations and grease the pillars of our most sacred institutions with our slimy, green, polluted hands. Human beings need parents.

Boxing is an odd sport indeed. At first glance it would appear as if all the civilized rules and regulations put in place to maintain order had been torn down and a barbaric fight to the death had ensued as a result. But it is law that enables the sport of boxing to thrive. Without the referee, without the ring, without the rules and regulations, boxing would not exist. It almost seems counterproductive to have a system in place to govern a fight, but when the fight evolves into a sport, it becomes necessary.

It was the rules of the ring that Victor Ortiz so brazenly disregarded when he made the unfortunate decision to head-butt Mayweather against the ropes last night. Fouls in boxing are typically birthed out of the frustration one fighter feels in his inability to hurt his opponent and Ortiz followed suit. It was a terrible embarrassment and an inexcusable infraction, the flagrancy of which I’m still struggling to accept (at least when Bernard Hopkins head-butts his opponents he does so under the guise of throwing a punch). He might as well have wound up and kicked him in the groin.

However, the events that followed were so outlandish they actually negated the severity of the Ortiz foul. The two fighters embraced, referee Joe Cortez looked away and upon release, as they were backing away from each other, Mayweather let loose with a vicious left hook/straight right combination that left Ortiz in a bewildered heap on the canvas. What Mayweather did, though technically within the rules, was worse than the head-butt because it came at the end of an apology. This is boxing. It is a sport and as such there should be followed inside the ring a code of conduct. At this point I find myself struggling to understand the psyche of a fighter who can find solace in a win that was obtained in such an unethical manner. Many supporters are echoing Mayweather’s post fight sentiments of, “Protect yourself at all times.” I have read smatterings of enthusiasts remarking upon the fact that Ortiz should have had his hands up…that the fight had continued and Mayweather was within his right to attack. And that is true. He was within his right under the rules of the sport of boxing, but Floyd would have benefited from a more honorable victory than the despicable nature in which he won. He won…but so what? What did this victory prove? It was not won with skill, but instead callous chicanery. Is the sport of boxing predicated around the notion of finding loopholes in the system? This isn’t the financial industry and as such, honor should take precedence. Are we to believe that the style in which Mayweather won was of worth and value? Is honor even important?

What is important to me is that Mayweather once again revealed himself to be an unapologetic opportunist, a perfidious pugilist and an irrational egomaniac with absolutely no class. The shame of it all is that Mayweather looked fantastic through the first three rounds. He was not running, but instead walking Ortiz down. He was fast, accurate and impressive. It could have been a great fight, but instead it devolved into a controversial mess. Mayweather has worked hard his entire career to cast himself as the villain. I believe he has finally solidified his status and can wear his dark, corroded crown with pride. But we mustn’t forget Ortiz. Because in the end, it is actually both men that should be ashamed of themselves.

So now we look ahead to a dream fight with Pacquiao, provided that he gets by Marquez. The line in the sand has been drawn and colors have never been clearer. If that fight ever happens I’ll be rooting for Pacquiao, but betting on Mayweather.

Article posted on 19.09.2011

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