Sweet Science Or Carnal Cruelty?

I have been a fan of boxing for as long as I can remember. I think there is nothing more basic in sport then the idea of two people, evenly matched, with nothing but their will and desire, going face to face to determine who is better. I also treasure the time my grandfather spent with me watching the best matches of the 60’s and 70’s.

That being said, I am finding it more and more difficult to watch professional boxing. It makes me a little queasy, giving me that “something’s not right” feeling.

Professional boxers pound each other resulting in bloody faces, bruised bodies, and damaged vital organs. The long-term ill effects on their central nervous systems has been medically documented and proven — post concussion syndrome is a common thing when the goal is to concuss the opponent into submission.

According to the Journal of Combative Sport, 1,465 boxers have died in the ring — including Duk Koo Kim, whom I watched receive a relentless beating at the hands of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini in 1982.

As a follower of the Prince of Peace, should I be tolerating, let alone cheering on, this needless cruelty?

That feeling in my stomach is telling me NO. I am not alone in this feeling: a leading Roman Catholic magazine has denounced boxing, calling the sport merciless, inhuman and in violation of church teachings.

Heavenly Father, God of peace,
Look with kindness upon your servant.
Abolish from my heart and mind,
Acts of violence and cruelty.

Instruct my mind and teach my heart anew,
Make me an instrument of your purpose.
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light and
where there is sadness, joy.

I ask this through Christ our Lord.