The Beltline: Coming to terms with knowing your favorite boxer was a drug hoax

Whether participant or spectator, a relationship with boxing requires a certain amount of illusion, the kind usually mastered by a stuntman or footballer’s wife. This requires the ability to ignore the signs. This requires the ability to always find a ray of hope.

From a boxer’s point of view, they must delude themselves into thinking that they are invincible, infallible and will never become one of the boxers who, despite the history of the sport and all the available evidence, are either injured by it, broken by it Gone, or sad. killed by it. In order to train, and focus, and then put everything together at night, they must suspend disbelief and, over time, master the art of lying to themselves and everyone around them. Must become an expert.

Likewise, for those who watch these combats and call it sports or entertainment, we must put aside the reality of what we are actually watching and instead focus on those two things: sports, entertainment. If, after all, we were unable to deceive ourselves in this way, and suspended our own disbelief, we would stop seeing people fight after the first serious injury or death in the ring. Or maybe, who knows, we’ll investigate the first sign of performance-enhancing drugs in a sport in which the primary goal is to knock an opponent unconscious.

We don’t tap out in those moments, it says a lot about us, and a lot about the game. The game, most durable and persistent, has developed a habit over the years that it rubs hard against each black eye, stuffing petroleum jelly into each of its wounds, then to appear at once as good as new. The storm is over and a new fight is needed to be sold. Yet it is we, who return, who have the greater ability to distance ourselves from it and remind ourselves that a sport in which human beings are hitting each other over the head is perhaps the healthiest and most Not more productive. Yet, we see again and again. We watch fights the weekend after a serious injury or death. And we watch fights involving boxers who we know have definitely failed performance-enhancing drug tests and are therefore, by anyone’s measure, always. are unreliable, stigmatized and dangerous.

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We see, I think, because we are obsessed and obsessed with every way who calls boxing their profession. Besides, we look, because frankly, what’s the alternative? To No Watch? To watch cricket instead? perish the thought. Despite the risk involved, and regardless of how many drugs the contestants have taken, a fight is still a fight at the end of the day and we all love fights, or so we are told.

The promoters say that if you just focus on the fight, everything will be fine. In fact, I find myself these days writing fight reports of a boxer who has failed a PED test and pretending that this information is somehow less relevant than the belt at stake. Again and again, while writing these reports, I am attempting to express some sort of appreciation for this particular fighter’s latest performance and victory, a task made even more difficult when the fighter in question is widely celebrated and achieving great things in sports.

What is the correct course of action in that situation? Do we completely ignore PED violations and just let bygones be bygones? Or do we brazenly mention it, thus undermining his recent victory? Admittedly, I’m partial to the latter approach as opposed to the former, but it doesn’t make me proud or satisfied in any way whenever I employ it. It’s just an unwanted reminder that many of the great feats we see in sports today, and have seen in years past, are spoiled by an asterisk and a “yes but…” line written somewhere in the small print.

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Worse, there is now too much mystery surrounding boxers’ diets and training camps for us to suspend our disbelief as we await the first bell. For me, the introduction before any so-called superfight is, sadly, “Okay, so which one of these boxers is clean?” As it was when I was young and dumb, “Okay then, which one of these boxers is going to win?”

I think, it has a lot to do with growing up and gaining insight and experience in the game, more so than it is a result of the game revealing its green screen due to its inefficiency with regard to PEDs. (Or maybe, in truth, it’s a bit of both.) Certainly, though, with greater knowledge of performance-enhancing drugs and a growing number of failed trials, we’ve all been exposed to the dirtiest of sports in recent years. have to come to terms with Incognito and admit, however painful it may be, that the boxers we grew up admiring were on fight night, not the lean, mean and clean fighting machines we’ve been led to believe. Now more educated, and with sharper eyes and expensive telescopes, we have a better idea these days of what we see, and what we saw, and as a result it is hard to continue to see so much smoke and pretend there is no fire. Somewhere burning The smoke may get in your eyes and the smell on your clothes, yet at least, in 2023, we know the reason why.

Let’s face it, we’ve all had someone we deeply admired, tricked us with their actions, and worse, permanently demonized another human being in order to get rich and stay ahead of the competition. Took the risk of harm. But after all, what have we done with this knowledge or doubt? We sat and watched. we celebrated. We believed in him and the dream.

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Then one day we woke up.

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