Lace Em Up: Raising Awareness in Boxing

By H. Davis

Boxing is, without a doubt, a tough and physical sport that’s for sure. It’s a sport that requires both respect, and discipline; which could be the reason why it’s used as a metaphor for life so often. You get knocked down, but you get back up and continue to fight. The problem is, however, gaining respect from your opponents and viewers is always easier said than done.

Believe it or not, a professional boxing match doesn’t end when the bell rings. When a boxer enters the ring, they’re fighting for much more than what we see on television. In some cases, they’re fighting to support their family or fighting to escape poverty. Every fighter has a story or a “why,” which creates a deeper meaning behind two individuals punching one another.

The one question I’ve always asked myself throughout it all was, “Where does it all begin?” and honestly, the answer still isn’t clear. Boxing, like most sports, contains a variety of different components working together in order to make the sport what it is today. Aside from the boxer themselves, a training crew, for example, is one of the most important components in the sport.

To begin with, it seems like the only time we see the training crew is either before the fight, or after. But to be completely honest, a fighter has no chance of winning the match without the proper training, making the relationship between the boxer and trainers unbreakable.

“What all does a training crew have to deal with?” you ask.

Typically, the training crew is heavily involved in the boxer’s life both inside and outside the ring. When a fighter isn’t competing, they’re training for the next match. Simple, right? In most cases, however, trainers deal with injuries like temporomandibular joint disorder, or (TMJ), an injury to the main joint of the jaw, concussions, broken bones and of course, dislocated shoulders. They’re also responsible for making sure the fighter is in good health, both mentally and physically, making their job even more strenuous.

Saved By The Bell (Fighting Against Society)

No, not the television show, saved by the bell is an idiom meaning to be rescued at the last minute from a sticky situation. While there’s a widely-held belief that the origin of the phrase dates back to the 17th century, when individuals feared of being buried alive, coffins were equipped with bells to save anyone to save any such unlucky person, it’s actually, you guessed it, a boxing term referring to a losing fighter being “saved” by a bell that signals the end of the round. But what happens when a fighter is up against the media? A platform that contains millions if not billions of contributors and spectators. What are they to do then?

That’s just what fighters and trainers are faced with every time they step into the ring. There are numerous ways the media influences our judgement on life, celebrities, controversial news, and even sports. For a boxer, this could mean losing a fight and witnessing the media release a hailstorm of false theories and speculations which could cause fighters to lash out; resulting in the boxer gaining unwanted attention from fans of the sport.

Although this tactic might seem logical at first, it actually does more harm than good and would almost certainly jeopardize the boxer’s reputation. By now you’re probably thinking that fighters have managers to deal with situations like this, and you’re right, they do. But since boxers spend the majority of their time with trainers, it’s only make sense for them to turn to the training crew first before consulting with their manager.

In the end, a training crew not only teaches fighters how to survive in the ring, they also teach warriors (boxers) defense skills against the cruel and harsh public.

Groggy

The word we know as meaning sleepy or out of it originally meant “intoxicated,” comes from grog, an old-timey alcoholic beverage. Groggy in boxing terms, however, was used to refer to someone who was “dazed,” meaning weakened in a fight, hence staggering, shaky, and unsteady.

When fighters are injured during a boxing match and too stubborn to quit, it’s not only up to the referee to stop the match. The training crew is also held accountable and expected to intervene in order to prevent further injury. In this case, the training crew, like the referee, must recognize the signs that signals whether or not a boxer and continue the match. Despite what everyone might have to say during a match, a fighter’s safety should always be a concern in the sport of boxing.

Common Injuries Trainers Should Be Aware Of:
Jaw & Facial Injuries. Punching impact to a fighter’s jaw can cause jaw, nose or facial fractures.
Concussions. Punch impact has the ability to shake the brain, which can occur during any blow to the head or blows to the body that cause the head to move back and forth rapidly.
Head and Wrist Injuries. From a trainer’s point of view, your boxer’s hand and wrist are vulnerable to impact injuries.
Ankle, Knee & Leg Injuries. Lower limb injuries can occur with overuse (stress fractures, tendonitis) to the ankle and knee joint.
Cuts & Bruises. Cuts and bruises are the most common type of boxing injuries. These injuries occur from contact an opponent glove or head.
Kidney Damage. Blows to the kidney are illegal at all levels of boxing. A hard blow to the kidney, however, can result in kidney failure which can be fatal.

By way of example, let’s assume that a fighter sustains an injury called a stress fracture during a match. This injury creates tiny cracks in the bone caused by repetitive application of force to a bone that isn’t strong enough. Let’s also assume that you (the reader), are a part of a training crew. You’ve recognized the signs, and got your fighter back on the track to recovery. Your job is done, right? Wrong. As the trainer, you’re also responsible for making sure the fighter is doing everything in their power to speed up the recovery process. In the world of boxing, sponsorships and endorsements are important to a fighter’s career, reputation, and most importantly, their finance. If a fighter is out too long, he/she could miss the opportunity to gain a big contract from companies like Nike, Adidas, or Gatorade.

Now that time is working against both of you, you have to manage training your fighter while at the same time nursing his/her injury, on top of making sure they don’t re-injure the already hairline fractured bone. Oh, and don’t forget to check the drugs your fighter is prescribed since some drugs have the ability to cause more harm to the body slowing the healing process down.

Is the pressure closing in on you?

Just remember next time, this is what the professional boxing training crew goes through at times.

Down For The Count and Hanging Up The Gloves

In the world of boxing, a fighter’s success all comes down to the skills and tactics taught by trainers. However, when those skill sets and tactics no longer work for winning fights, a fighter, along with the training crew, will have to do one of two things.

Withdraw. There will be times a fighter will have to make one of the hardest decision of their career and walk away from their training crew. Since reputation is everything in this sport having someone in your corner that could hurt your esteem in the public’s eye is never a good thing.

Giving in. When your body tells you it’s time, as a fighter, you have to listen. After years of damage and taking blows, the body at some point and time will eventually succumb to all the hits, it’s taken over the course of a fighter’s boxing career. Although the decision is never an easy one for boxers, it could save their lives and prevent their body from further injury.

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”Jack Dempsey

herman

H. Davis

H. Davis is taking full advantage of the nice sunny weather outside. You can find him out playing football, hiking up a trail, or cheering on the Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at @Davish241. Thanks!

References:
www.emergencydentistsusa.com/tmd-temporomandibular-disorder/
mentalfloss.com/article/63958/15-common-phrases-come-boxing
www.paulsonandnace.com/west-virginia/medical-malpractice/dangerous-drugs/#main
physioworks.com.au/Injuries-Conditions/Activities/boxing-injuries