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Thread: When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

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    When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

    Prominent boxing writer William Dettloff has argued that whenever there's a question about a boxer's suitability, one should err on the side of personal freedom: "In a free society, a competent adult has the inherent right to determine what is for him an acceptable level of risk."

    Dr. Margaret Goodman, a neurologist and former Nevada ringside physician, disagrees. Dr. Goodman writes that "diminished skill is often a harbinger of brain damage" and that there are tests today that can identify the symptoms of incipient dementia.

    Dr. Goodman also takes exception to the idea that it's wrong to deny a fighter who shows signs of ring damage the right to earn a living. "He can go out and earn a living in many other ways," she says.

    That makes sense to me. Everyday we read about workers being "denied a right to earn a living" when their employer goes bankrupt or downsizes.

    As for my opinion, perhaps the Holmes-Ali promotion wasn't sordid, but I believe it was unconscionable to let Ali fight again (he had one more fight, against Trevor Berbick). Likewise, it was shameful that Jerry Quarry was permitted to compete at age 47 after a 9-year absence.

    Of course, then you have freaks of nature like George Foreman and Bernard Hopkins. Or how about Saoul Mamby who went 10 rounds at age 60?

    One could say that Mamby's comeback was pointless. He lost to a fighter with a 6-21-1 record and even if he had won it wasn't as if he was going to become a legitimate contender once again. But if it brought him some personal satisfaction, should we have denied him the pleasure? You tell me.

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    Re: When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

    I believe that if a boxer can pass the Pre-fight physical including an MRI Brain scan then it is his choice to compete or not.

    If a fighter has a medical problem then no way. So yes in some cases a boxer can be forced to retire due to medical reasons. If a guy gets 10 losses in a row he might just be a professional "TBA" opponent like the boxers Gary Russell fought against.So its up to the commission and the medical tests.

    Someone should take Goodman's license away for a year and tell her she can just do something else

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    Re: When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

    I will be chiming in on this topic after my final gym session of the day. Saoul Mamby was licensed--and fought--in New York State--before, during and after my term of office.

    Writer Dettloff could not be further off base with his thought on the licensing process.

    I'll tell you why in a few hours.

    -Randy G.

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    Re: When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

    Quote Originally Posted by deepwater2 View Post
    I believe that if a boxer can pass the Pre-fight physical including an MRI Brain scan then it is his choice to compete or not.

    If a fighter has a medical problem then no way. So yes in some cases a boxer can be forced to retire due to medical reasons. If a guy gets 10 losses in a row he might just be a professional "TBA" opponent like the boxers Gary Russell fought against.So its up to the commission and the medical tests.

    Someone should take Goodman's license away for a year and tell her she can just do something else
    Completely agree.

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    Re: When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

    I would never dis Dr. Goodman. I believe she has been a force for good in boxing. But I love deepwater2's snarky comment.

    For the record, Dr. Goodman had this to say about denying a boxer a license to fight for medical reasons: :"I always say I am not denying your right to earn a living....you can earn a living many other ways."

    Deepwater2 says, and I'm paraphrasing here, that Dr. Goodman wouldn't think that way if she lost her license to practice medicine and was forced to seek other employment. Yes, Dr. Goodman is a bright and very well-educated woman and would have no problem finding a well-paying, even cushy job. But retired boxers, with very few exceptions, have limited employment opportunities. So to imbue Ms. Goodman with the proper degree of empathy, we would compel her to spend her sabbatical waiting tables or some such, perhaps working as a hotel maid or on an assembly line.

    But here's the counter-argument: If a man chooses a career that will end while he still has most of his life in front of him, then he ought to have enough common sense to acquire another skill. It's not as if training for a fight is an all-consuming endeavor, at least not when the next fight is far down the road.

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    Re: When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

    Quote Originally Posted by ArneK. View Post
    I would never dis Dr. Goodman. I believe she has been a force for good in boxing. But I love deepwater2's snarky comment.

    For the record, Dr. Goodman had this to say about denying a boxer a license to fight for medical reasons: :"I always say I am not denying your right to earn a living....you can earn a living many other ways."

    Deepwater2 says, and I'm paraphrasing here, that Dr. Goodman wouldn't think that way if she lost her license to practice medicine and was forced to seek other employment. Yes, Dr. Goodman is a bright and very well-educated woman and would have no problem finding a well-paying, even cushy job. But retired boxers, with very few exceptions, have limited employment opportunities. So to imbue Ms. Goodman with the proper degree of empathy, we would compel her to spend her sabbatical waiting tables or some such, perhaps working as a hotel maid or on an assembly line.

    But here's the counter-argument: If a man chooses a career that will end while he still has most of his life in front of him, then he ought to have enough common sense to acquire another skill. It's not as if training for a fight is an all-consuming endeavor, at least not when the next fight is far down the road.
    That depends on what you want. Do you want to be the best or do you want to be in hospital? If you want the latter, then sure go try learn some more trades. If you want to win, then you dedicate yourself to boxing. Eat, sleep, and drink boxing. Even in your dreams you should be boxing.

    You get out what you put in, being a professional prize fighter isn't a part time endeavour...

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    Re: When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

    Quote Originally Posted by deepwater2 View Post
    I believe that if a boxer can pass the Pre-fight physical including an MRI Brain scan then it is his choice to compete or not.

    If a fighter has a medical problem then no way. So yes in some cases a boxer can be forced to retire due to medical reasons. If a guy gets 10 losses in a row he might just be a professional "TBA" opponent like the boxers Gary Russell fought against.So its up to the commission and the medical tests.

    Someone should take Goodman's license away for a year and tell her she can just do something else
    I second this

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    Re: When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

    I'm riding shotgun with D2. Dr. Goodman should just stick to testing for "roids and PEDs." That junk destroys and cripple more pugs than punches will ever do. How many fighters have and are dying premature because of "dat syet?" Especially that "Tales From the Crypt" "Grorm." Holla!

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    Re: When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

    At some point, some fighters get a brain with black holes like a swiss cheeze. Granting them a license is condemning them to some more and bigger black holes and, essentially, a future - not to distant - were they barely can take care of themselves. The question isn't if they should be forced to retire, but when.

    Boxing isn't like most professions, and shouldn't be compared to average jobs or careers. This is a business where your brain is systematically pounded upon and broken down, bit by bit - and the more affected, the worse decisions you take. 'Some more years with minor concussions week after week? Sure, why not.'

    Detloffs piece about the 'competent adult' with an 'inherent right to determine what is for him an acceptable level of risk' is a load of bs, an excuse to not interfere because in the 'free market' we are all supposed to be, yeah, competent, which translates to: if you end up disabled, don't come complaining and beg for help cause, well, you were a competent adult that made a rational choice - so ---- yourself and leave us more fortunate ones alone. It's your own fault.

    If the boxing society don't look out for its own, as its own is often men from meager conditions, that would be - and is - the ultimate betrayal.

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    Re: When Should a Boxer be Forced to Retire - If Ever ??

    Those who choose to get in the ring are fully aware of the risks of getting in the ring. They make their living in this sport and as some have pointed out the reason fighters go on well past their best days is that they know no other way to make a living. Is it right to take that away from them if they are fully aware of the risks going forward? Its not always so easy for them to go out and start making a living doing something else just like that.

    Okay that said, this is a dangerous sport of course. Athletes in this sport arent' chasing golf balls around a course. They are taking punches to the head and many times very hard punches to the head. Add this to what I stated above and this makes for some very difficult decisions that have to be made correctly. One one hand, you don't want to take away someone's right to make a living. But on the other hand, there comes a point where you have to protect someone from some potentially very serious damage.

    As such, the question on when to and when not to license a fighter in my opinion is not a cut and dry black and white answer. A physical and a brain scan may not be good enough. There are other factors and I think each fighter needs to be examined on an individual basis.

    I know this is probably not the answer we want to here. It has to be cut and dry and of course commissions don't want to hear this because of legal ramifications. A fighter may say "Well I passed the same tests as others but am not being granted a license. I am suing."

    But it is the truth. Let me ask this...Should a 45 year old fighter who passes a physical and routine brain scan with a 10-15 record, has not fought in a more than a year after having been and has knocked out 5 consecutive times be given the same treatment as a 21 year old turning pro who has also passed a physical and routine brain scan? How about a fighter who say had blood clots discovered on his brain after a fight but want to continue his career be subject to the same exact medical licensing procedures as others?

    My point here is all licenses should be looked at on an individual basis and not granted on just cut and dry rules.

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