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For The Love Of Boxing


For the Love of Boxing

by Jaime K. Pimentel

I love going to the fights. It doesn't really matter who's on. I just love to watch boxing: the way fighters psyche each other, test each other. The slam-bang action and the atmosphere.

And I enjoy watching the fights even better in the company of Bugsy, especially when he's betting on the other guy. Bugsy's a poor judge of character, and he always ends up buying me a few drinks for lack of talent at picking winners.

But that's at pro boxing nights.

It's a different story having Bugsy come to amateur boxing tournaments, which I love even more. Amateur night is boxing at its finest, I reckon, but Bugsy just doesn't appreciate the difference between the pros and the amateur game.

''Hey, why is the ref applying the count when Dougie hasn't gone down?'' he'd yell at me.

''Ref's giving Dougie a standing count. It's amateur boxing, Bugsy.''

''And now the ref's pulling Dougie aside ~ for what infringement, chrissakes?''

''Dougie's ducking too dangerously low, Bugsy.''

''Now what?! Why's the ref stopping the fight in the middle of the second round when neither of them are hurt?''

''Dougie's outclassed, so the ref's decided the kid's had enough for one night. It's amateur boxing, Bugsy.''

Bout after bout, I'm there explaining to my companion the differences between professional and amateur boxing rules. And he's arguing with me about pros being more exciting to watch because there's more blood on the floor.

Ah, there's the rub. Amateur rules are meant first and foremost to protect the combatants from injury, whereas pro rules are designed primarily to entertain the paying public.

This explains why amateurs wear 10-ounce gloves at competitions and the pros 6 or 8-ounce gloves. Why amateurs wear headguards and the pros don't. Why amateur bouts are either three rounds of three minutes each or five rounds of two minutes each, whereas pro bouts are between four rounds of three minutes each and 12 rounds of three minutes each.

Whereas amateurs in difficulty at all jurisdictions are given a 'standing count' to recover, in the pros the 'standing count' does not exist except in some jurisdictions. If an amateur boxer is unable to defend himself sufficiently, the referee rules him 'outclassed' and stops the bout.

An amateur bout is stopped when a boxer suffers excessive bleeding, a cut eye or swelling around the eye. Not so in the pros.

Amateur boxing enforces 21 foul rules, whereas pro boxing has less than 10 foul rules and, in practice, referees tend to be lenient about them

These are some of the reasons why professional boxing referees and judges are not permitted to officiate at amateur boxing tournaments. They are accustomed to different rules.

I've tried getting Bugsy up to speed on these things, but have you ever bothered to explain RAM and gigabytes to a big tattooed brickie in a bar?

That said, I think I'll continue bringing Bugsy with me to the fights. I'd feel something was missing without Bugsy there to throw questions at me like a teacher and me coming up with answers like his 'A' student.

I love going to the fights.

Jaime K. Pimentel

Now a Sydney-based journalist and sub-editor with Fairfax, Jaime has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a master's in Advertising and Newspaper Management, and formerly lectured in Journalism.

Jaime is also a boxing gold medallist, and has officiated Amateur boxing as both a referee and a judge in both Australia and the Philippines.

Jaime Pimentel
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