3 Myths About Amateur Boxing

The sweet science of boxing has been misread more than The Catcher In the Rye. What follows is a look at three common misbeliefs and misunderstandings about amateur boxing.

Myth #1: A boxing match is a fight. 

Boxing's physicality can be misleading. Moreover, ordinary parlance has turned a bout into a fight, a match into a fight, and boxing into fighting. Nonetheless, there are consequential distinctions between the two. 

A fight displays an individual or several individuals lacking self control.

A bout is a display of phenomenal self control.

It consists of two competitors in the heat of a physical exchange channeling their passion and adrenaline into a laser-like focus on winning while always respecting the basic rules.

These rules draw a sharp and dramatic distinction between fighting and boxing:

  • Boxers do not hit an opponent who is down
  • Boxers do not hit below the belt
  • Boxers do not use weapons
  • Boxers respect one another both during and after each bout.

Myth #2: Boxing is just two guys just trying to knock each other unconscious.

Like in any sport, an injured competitor will not be permitted to continue and thus loses the match. If a competitor is concussed, then he or she is not permitted to continue. This is a basic safety rule built into soccer and football alike. However, "knockouts" and "stoppages" are most often the result of an official stopping a match before someone is seriously injured, not the result of an actual serious injury.

Myth #3: Boxing makes people dumb.

Boxers, jockeys and football players alike, many former athletes suffer physically or mentally from a lifetime of physicality. However, this fate is no more of a forgone conclusion for an amateur boxer than a child actor growing up to be a drug addict or a child basketball player becoming a spoiled millionaire.

Amateur boxers have gone on to become successful promoters, singers, actors, broadcasters, writers and millionaire indoor grill salesmen. Those who have some experience inside the ring include President Theodore Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Ernest Hemingway, and U.S. Senators John McCain and Harry Reid.

With the help of USA Boxing Foundation, more young women and young men will find both opportunity and discipline within the sweet science of boxing. 



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Bill Barner is a former certified “USA Boxing” Judge, Referee, and Trainer. He is a former sparring partner for several amateur and professional fighters and currently practices criminal and immigration law in South Florida for BarnerRossen PA. He has appeared in The Ring Magazine, Bleacher Report, VOICE Magazine, Youngstown Vindicator, and is a regular contributor to East Side Boxing.

He can be reached at barner@barnerrossen.com or on Twitter @BarnerBill.