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Boxing: A reflection of old racism in a modern setting

Boxing was once a sport followed by Kings in many regions of the world, it was considered a sport in the most natural basic form. Survival of the fittest, two men face off against each other with only their fists and heart as their weapons. Boxing has always been kept at a distance by the upper crust throughout history who enjoyed it's barbaric nature for the moment but rarely something they actually ever cared about it beyond the event of the spectacle they watched. Anyone who has ever taken the time to study the history of boxing knows that it has been riddled with racism in many ways, even back when newspapers first started covering the sport racist terminology and imagery was used in reference to negro and fighters of non Caucasian descent. This same practice went on for decades until media decided to tone it down and evolve to gain a larger audience. So this would lead one to think that racism in the sport of boxing is now minimal, but you would be wrong.

It isn't hard at all to find racism inserted into many facets of the sport today from the fans, to the marketing, to the way some fighters get talked about. A sport that at it's core has always been more of a plebeian form of entertainment continues to still insert it's ignorance to this very day. For a long time the top fighters in the world were American boxers, the vast majority of dominant world class boxers were African Americans who used the sport to propel themselves from all walks of life to larger than life celebrities. This was justification for all of the hardships the legend Jack Johnson endured en-route to becoming the first Heavy Weight champion in the world. Johnson's achievement opened a door that we have not looked back from and it served to slowly bridge the gap between the races who are fan of the sport for the decades that came. One would think that with all the documentation on Johnson's struggles people would come to appreciate that a man of any race could take himself from the gutter of any corner of the world and carve his path to greatness on a road paved with fists and much bloodshed. One would think.

The last twenty years have given us the emergence of some amazing fighters from many regions of the planet. Fighters from the congo, fighters from Russia, fighters from some of the most ill stricken and poverty stricken locations you can imagine. One would think that these guys would be embraced with open arms for the same reason that made guys like Johnson, Dempsey, to name a few amazing heroes. The reality more often than not these fighters are torn down by fans for some of the most ridiculous reasons you can imagine. Taking a week to sit back and browse the most popular of boxing news sites can give you a general idea of what I mean. There are tiers of acceptance for boxers, in many cases it's fans who identify to someone based on their race, followed by what country they originate from, followed by their personality, followed by their fight style. Why is the fight style the final marker and not the first? It seems that the old adage of "Stick to your kind" is well and alive in boxing over a hundred years after Johnson made his historical climb to the top of the sport. That doesn't mean all boxing fans are like this but a large number of them are and many aren't the least bit shy about making this painfully obvious, many will openly admit this if asked. I'm pretty sure some of them might even read this article and call it "bullshit". Then there is the crowd of boxing fans who just love the sport and love the story of coming from the bottom to the top without any bias whatsoever. Those fans get stuck in the middle of mud slinging fights that can easily be seen on any number of Floyd vs Manny articles.

As a boxing fan i've done everything in my power to find a single site that doesn't have this problem, let me tell you that finding a site of pure boxing discussion without the homering and racial undertones is extremely hard. It gets old reading about how Golovkin should fight Ward because he's some how a coward, despite the fact both men have different ambitions and fight in different divisions. It gets old watching former foreign Olympians and fantastic amateur fighters get ripped to shreds as if they are somehow less special than our  own home grown ones. It get old watching one guy tear down Floyd Mayweather get trashed for being flashy only to see you go praise a hispanic fighter who is doing practically the same but on a considerably smaller budget. The chicken eating, vodka drinking , dog eating insults get old to legit boxing fans. I wish boxing fans took a pause for a moment and reflected on the vast majority of commentary they publicly list on boards across the internet and tried to understand how it reflects. There are classes of fighters based on talent and that is the only benchmark we are to judge these men on, at the end of the day a race, a complexion, a personality does not win a fight. Heart, Strategy, Dedication, Love for the craft, Respect for the craft, and level of opposition makes a fighter great.

I know the world has expected to boxing fans to be some of the dumbest individuals on the planet, it doesn't mean we have to act like it. This is a sport where even the biggest of rivals meet each other in the center of the ring and embrace each other after the match has ended. If two men who beat the crap out of each other can show respect and appreciation for each other why can't we as boxing fans move beyond our own prejudices and embrace every fighter the same way? It's time some fans start being honest with themselves and realize this may actually apply to them even if they haven't been self aware before. The same blatant racists didn't think a hundred years later the world would view them as despicable for comments made over boxing, yet they do. A hundred years from now someone will be looking at your comments and thinking the same thing we think of those people one hundred years ago. Whether black, white, asian, purple, green, tall, skinny, fat, long, short....it doesn't matter a fighter wins or loses just like any other man when the results are in, he bleeds like any other man when the fight is on, he strives to come out on top like any other man, and we as boxing fans need to respect that without prejudice or bias.

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