By Sean Pollock (http://ukcboxing.blogspot.com/)
Age is a ticking time-bomb that can catch a fighter up at anytime and explode into a disastrous, possibly dangerous night in the ring. ‘Becoming old overnight’ is the saying and it can happen to any seasoned fighter against a young, hungry opponent. On the other hand men like George Foreman can fight onto 48- proving the last things to go are your heart and punch. An aging boxer will lose his legs, eyes and reflexes but they can still deliver that crucial knockout blow if their legs can take them close enough to land it.
So, why do these old boxers continue fighting? Being an adrenalin-fuelled sport, fighters often talk of missing the ‘buzz’ of combat when they finally hang-up their gloves; some fighters miss this rush so much they are tempted into ill-advised comebacks. There is also the former cynosure of all eyes’ ego and the now lack of attention they so craved in their primes which draws them back into the limelight. Of course, fighters are not solely motivated by a lack of thrills, sadly they also return for financial reasons and there are an abundance of veteran heavyweights striving for one final shot at a giant payday. Evander Holyfield being a prime example of a former champion racing against time, hoping to employ his rapidly diminishing skills to battle the taxman.
There have been reports of numerous fighters making comebacks and many fighters returning to lace up the gloves at their own peril. Eric Morales, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones…should they even be considering still fighting? There was even bizarre reports of ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson making an almost freak show homecoming to his beloved sport. It’s a sad reality that once loved sports icons are still applying their trade when over the hill- whilst the Jones Vs Hopkins bout may look great on a poster, but regrettably it was 10 years too late.
Do us fight fans really want to see our boxing heroes back in the ring for our own nostalgia? I personally don’t think these fighters have much left to offer, ‘haven’t you peaked yet?’ I suppose the right-hand that landed on Michael Moorer’s chin- that went on to sell plenty of grilling machines- shows us there is something left within the old warriors…but they can also come up short and be a shell of their former selves, Muhammad Ali for example.
I think we should encourage retirement from boxers when it is clear they should not be fighting on. Either way, good luck to the comeback kings, and lets hope they don’t get a painful souvenir that they should of retired or stayed retired, when is enough, enough?
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