Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 21, No. 8. 2nd July, 1958
Boxing Bloodbath — Gore in their Minds
Gore in their Minds
"The Crowd did what it could to help: "Git nasty," it yelled and the boxers complied."— ("Salient", 30th May, 1957.)
It is my thesis that in the above quotation lies the backbone of the present disrepute of boxing as a sport. This is not to deny that boxing at the moment isn't at a low "sporting" ebb. Public figures, especially among the medical profession, have for several decades now made pointed remarks as to the barbaric nature of this sport. It is the purpose of this article to shift the blame for this from the participants to where it belongs—the spectators.
It all starts at the top and worked its way down—even regretably to the level of University boxing. Professional boxers work to earn their living. In order to accomplish their simple objective of a living they are forced to "please the public" (witness the alteration of the Rugby laws since 1945 in the attempt to make the game a "spectator game"). Now the catch! The primitive, barbaric public, not content to see a highly skilled bout demand what rarely flows in their own bodies—red blood. Their demented bellowing brings forth a natural response from the finance-wise participants. And so it goes on—at first only the lesser trained boxers indulged in this slugging but as the public gets drawn from science to slugging so do the number of boxers. Where it all started is hard to assess but the fact remains that the public of today is not satisfied with anything that doesn't produce blood and a fighting, brawling, scrapping picture of boxing is or rather has become traditional and has permeated even the Inter-University boxing contests. This is a more serious fact than is appreciated at first glance due to the fact that the University has a fairly high reputation in other sports for their "sporting" attitude.
What can you—the potential audience for the Winter Tournament contest—do about the unhappy state of affairs. A worthwhile tradition in many colleges which is usually regarded at the time as an unnatural restriction is that there is to be silence during the bout and applause is restricted to the conclusion of the bout. Perhaps this is going a little too far but the refraining-from-screaming, hysterical comments during the bout would be appreciated by the participants and those interested in raising the level of boxing.
I have no doubt whatsoever that students will continue to yell for a bloodbath but, remember, those of you that do—it is not the participants that are spoiling the sport, but You, you thickhead, irresponsible, dumb oaf.
Retiring Sports Editor.