Into a ‘sanitized’ environment

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Conrad M. Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

When Conor McGregor steps into the ring against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on August 26, he will realize as the rounds drag one that he is fighting in a “sanitized” environment where the health of boxers are somehow looked after, no matter how brutal boxing still is.

The sanitized boxing rules will definitely work in favor of Mayweather, and boxers of today should be very thankful that much has been done to make their sport less dangerous and more appealing to the public.

The numerous deaths in the ring necessitated various sanctioning organizations of the sport to: reduce the number of rounds for championship bouts to 12 from 15; institute the standing eight count and the standing knockdown rule; allow the referee to stop the fight; and create more weight classes.

Also, the three knockdown rule, or the referee stopping the fight if a boxer gets knocked down three times in a round, became an option in most championship fights.


If those rules were not put into place, maybe, just maybe, more ring deaths would have occurred in the last two decades or more retired boxers would be spending their remaining years in wheelchairs or with crutches. The late Muhammad Ali comes into mind, because he was one of the last heavyweights to fight 15-round championship matches and when the standing knockdown rule was almost non-existent.

However, there is one drawback to reducing the duration of championship bouts to 12 from 15; that meant the protagonists need not conserve their energies in the middle rounds to be competitive in the last five rounds. And how many start-to-end slugfests have we seen in boxing in recent years and today? And I wonder if those who took part in those start-to-end slug fests would still have their mental faculties intact once they reach old age.

As for mixed martial arts (MMA), some sanitation had been done in the past two decades that include: creation of more weight divisions; use of padded gloves; and instituting the round system. During the first years of MMA, it was common to see matches between 170-pound and 250-pound in a fight lasting one lengthy round.

Part of MMA’s appeal today comes from its being more primal and closer to real-world fighting. Or it is definitely more violent compared to boxing.

So there is really no question that McGregor definitely beats Mayweather in a street fight or in the octagon, but how will he figure in the ring where the rules have been “sanitized.”

What I am saying is McGregor just can’t say he can knock out Mayweather in one or two rounds, because very skilled boxers are willing to give away the first few rounds just to figure out holes in their game. Roughing up in boxing is allowed up to a certain point, but McGregor will find out that he just cannot impose his strength in a crude manner in the ring as the fight drags on, because that might also sap his strength. And naturally, will the referee allow McGregor to get away with rough housing?

From McGregor’s latest training footages, especially his sparring with Paulie Malignaggi, I believe he has his mind set to fighting in the ring. But what will happen once he finds himself in a frustrating situation because he could not land more punches on Mayweather? The American can even use the ropes to his advantage, meaning McGregor just cannot “pin” Mayweather on the ropes to land barrages and haymakers?

Then there’s the battle lasting 12 rounds. Hmmm, that is actually ad advantage for McGregor because fighting 15 rounds would be grueling for those stepping into the ring for the first time.

So who wins on August 26? Let’s just wait.

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