Monday, March 31, 2014

Should Christians Watch or Be Part of Boxing?


cc from flickr.com
Boxing is a brutal sport where two people, generally men, are trying to hurt each other by hitting each other in the head or body. The harder and more a boxer can hit his opponent the better chance he has to win the fight. Yet, although the objective can't be considered a good thing, the process to get to that goal is definitely a sweet science. Still, as a born again believer in Jesus Christ, I wonder: should I watch boxing?

I learned how to box when I was about 22 years old, and fought in three amateur bouts in about a years time. I won all three and then hung up the gloves, thinking why would I want to get hit in the head all the time. That was my choice, and that seems like a sensible one to me. Yet, those who choose to continue fighting and become professionals even, this is a sensible choice as well, at least they are consenting. What I'm saying is it's a fighters choice to box, so this is a good argument about seeing it as morally acceptable to God.

cc from en.wikipedia.org
I can't see Jesus wanting to go to a fight though, and in fact the sport is sort of a place where the elites like to come and watch the bigger name fighters beat each other up. Although, I do think the majority of the sports fans are regular people from the poor. Just like the fighters themselves are mostly from the street of hard knocks, and are not some spoiled rich kids. That is part of the reason why I like boxing, I'll explain.


Boxing is a unique sport, where two individuals face off and give it their best shot with all they have to beat each other up. There is no place to hide in a ring, although some boxers like Mayweather continually try to find a place to hide. Boxing is a place where two men strip down their egos and false pretense and bare their soul, show what they are really made of at the core. And after the fight is over, their reactions to either winning or losing also shows a lot about them. Some fighters are bad losers, and some are bad winners, but every one of them usually ends up getting beat, except the rare fighters like Marciano and Mayweather (not yet at least). Boxing is about the least pretentious sport there is.



Fans of boxing know that the athletic ability and special ability a fighter shows is something special we can't discount. The best part of the ring is the heart that fighters show, this can bring out the best of our humanity watching someone who is brave and fearless in the face of utter chaos. That we can have a camera near the ring and watch nearby in the seats is a unique way for the sociologist in me to study the humanity in us all. A fan never knows what they will see in the ring, but every time it's a great anticipation and show of the human character in the raw.

I know this sounds like a boxing fan who is simply talking up boxing, but I guess what I'm saying is even though I am a born-again Christian, I like to watch boxing. Now, I don't think it needs to be obsessed about and watched all the time, or put above our Bible, family, or ministry time, but every once in a while I think it teaches us something positive about humanity. Not only that, but it gives thousands of kids a reason to stay out of trouble and learn how to defend themselves in a fallen world full of violence.

I can't tell you that Boxing exudes Christian values, yet I can't tell you that it is a sin to watch boxing, or be a boxer. God allows us free will to choose what we want to do in our lives. Whatever job we do, we have to make sure Jesus is first, and to use our work for the Lord in a Biblical way.



My favorite boxers are the ones who love Jesus too. And I find that there is more famous boxers who love Jesus than famous athletes in other sports. They are not perfect people, and sometimes far from it, but they are the type who need Jesus and know it. They are the kind of people who came from nothing and have gained so much through boxing, and they simply want to give thanks to Jesus. Some of my favorite Christian boxers are Tapia, Holyfield, and Buster Douglas.




Maybe God will convict me that watching boxing isn't a good thing, but as for now I watch it every once in awhile and enjoy the passion and bravery these fighters display. I have a lot of respect for them and enjoy the science of the sport itself, as it is much more intricate than seems. Unfortunately there has been many deaths because of boxing, and many boxers have brain injuries which affect them negatively in their older years. That fact makes me wonder if it is a good thing, but we have to remember it is their choice to fight knowing the dangers. Everything we do in life has dangers, and so we can point out that so many taxi drivers die every year, but that doesn't make driving a taxi a sin. What do you think? More on boxing later.  

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