A new trend has swept the boxing world and has drawn millions of new viewers from all around the globe. Athletes of different professional sports have started to step into the ring and the public can’t get enough of it. A famous bout between Jake Paul and Nate Robinson seems to have sparked this trend, as many athletes were embarrassed by Robinson’s lack of performance after he was completely knocked out and laid on the ground unconscious for several seconds. Although this trend is loved by fans, it is extremely dangerous for the athletes participating, and it needs to stop before someone suffers lifelong injuries.
On Saturday, September 10, 2022, Adrian Peterson fought Le’Veon Bell in a boxing exhibition match which ended with Bell winning by knockout. Nick Young also had a fight of his own, ending with Young falling through the ropes in defeat. These knockouts are exciting for fans, but they can lead to a variety of symptoms for the victim, ranging from small headaches all the way to cerebral bleeding and even death. The greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali, suffered many concussions and unnoticed head trauma throughout his career, and many doctors believe this contributed to his development of Parkinson’s disease.
Sure, most of these NFL and NBA athletes do not plan on boxing for years, but life-changing injuries can happen in a single fight, as was the case for Puerto Rican boxer, Prichard Colon. In 2015, Colon was an immensely talented boxing prospect who was 16-0 in professional fights to start his young career. In his 17th fight, he suffered many hits to the head including some to the back of his head. After losing the fight, he started to become dizzy in the locker room, he threw up and collapsed. Colon was rushed to the hospital where he underwent surgery and finally slipped into a coma for 221 consecutive days. Colon woke up in a vegetative state, paralyzed, and mentally disabled. Colon was a very handsome, outgoing, and successful young man, and after a single fight, his entire life was taken away from him.
Boxing is not a sport you simply do for fun. Boxers put their lives on the line every time they step in the ring, and quite frankly, the sport of boxing is being disrespected by athletes who believe they can do it without the years of proper training required to defend themselves. Not to mention, many NFL athletes regularly suffer concussions. They already have a history of brain trauma and there is undeniable evidence that many veterans are at risk of developing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, commonly referred to as CTE.
Although this trend was started by Jake Paul, Paul is not at fault for these other athletes stepping into the ring. In fact, Paul is actually a great example of how someone should approach the sport of boxing! He has been training for years, his first fight was in 2018 and he had been training for months prior. He has been matched with easy opponents with only a slight increase in competition every step of the way. He is being nurtured into the sport in a way that limits his risk of injury and puts him on the safe route to success.
When NFL and NBA players decide to have exhibition fights, the goal is primarily to obtain money, glory, and to have some fun along the way. The most fundamental rule of boxing is incredibly simple. Hit and don’t get hit. This motto is a staple in the training of the sport. Yet, when someone is simply training for money and fun, this is not what they’re taught. They focus on only the beginning of the phrase. “Hit.” The athletes prioritize putting on a show, and they really only know how to beat the hell out of each other. This gung-ho mentality is what’s going to lead to severe injuries amongst these athletes, and it’s not a matter of “if,” but “when.” Our beloved sports stars go through enough injuries throughout their careers, and as fans, it pains us to see them suffer. Let’s end this trend before irreversible damage is caused.