Thursday, November 05, 2009


Former world heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali (a.k.a. Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.) must be painfully asking himself if the fame and fortune he had reaped in the many years as a prized boxer are worth the condition he is in now.

Ali is a broken man afflicted with strong uncontrollable body tremors, blurred speech and lack of coordination of body functions. He has what is known as Parkinson's Disease.

A medical report had said that, as shown in a cat scan, powerful blows to Ali's head from powerful boxers like Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes and George Foreman had caused neurons in his brain to "drop out." A radiologist said that the same condition afflicts more than 50 percent of boxers with over 20 bouts.

Ali's sad case gives support to critics of the sport of boxing who have urged that it be scrapped especially among the youth since it is barbaric, degrading to human dignity and encourages violence. A good example here is Chavit Singson, a widely-known supporter and patron of Manny Pacquiao, the former beating up his girlfriend black and blue. But this was a mis-match.

I recall the case of another black heavyweight champion Joe Louis who attained fame and fortune like Ali did, but died a poor man in a flea-infested flop-house after he was fired from his post as a bouncer in some honky-tonk joint. These poor boxers, mostly blacks and latinos, are exploited by mostly white promoters and agents who luxuriate in posh retirement in Miami and Mexico while their wards end up punch-drunk in charity homes. Better we keep a tight watch on Freddie Roach. He could be living up to his surname.

In our country, boxing is big business. It even sends a mob of our congressmen to fight venues like Las Vegas, all expenses paid for by Filipino taxpayers. Time for re-examination of our values.

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