Blood On Our Hands

Ironically, rules to prevent blood from appearing on our hands, put blood on our hands.

Somewhere along the line, someone gave me the impression that boxing gloves made boxing safer. I learned to look down on ignorant ancestors or lowlifes who boxed with bare-knuckles. But in fact, we’ve known for a century that gloves make boxing far more dangerous:

The Marquess of Queensberry rules [requiring boxing gloves] took off not because society viewed the new sport as more civilised than the old, but because fights conducted under the new guidelines attracted more spectators. Audiences wanted to see repeated blows to the head and dramatic knockouts.

By contrast,… “In 100 years of bare-knuckle fighting in the United States, which terminated around 1897 … there wasn’t a single ring fatality.” Today, there are three or four every year in the US, and around 15 per cent of professional fighters suffer some form of permanent brain damage during their career. … A return to bare knuckles would be bloodier and less acceptable to mass television audiences, but one has to ask whether wheelchairs and life-support machines are any easier on one’s conscience.

Imagine proposing to your friends that they attend a bloody bare-knuckles fight, or mentioning to them that you had done so. I expect that for most folks, doing so would risk more social shame than for glove boxing. But why, if glove boxing is more dangerous?

Yes, perhaps most folks don’t know glove boxing hurts more, but how could such easily understood info of such wide relevance remain hidden for so long? It seems hard to escape the conclusion that we just don’t want to know.

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