Simon Kelner: An ugly face-off that highlights fight game hypocrisy

Kelner's view

Share
Related Topics

I went to a boxing match and a fight broke out. Not, you would have to say, the sort of news that would make the national bulletins, but the unscripted brawl following a world title fight last weekend has caused a stir.

It sparked a discussion on Radio 4's Today, during which James Naughtie used a word I'd never heard before. Remembering a similar incident from the past (believe it or not, this was not the first time boxers had been badly behaved after taking their gloves off) he referred to a "rammy". This, it turns out, is Scottish slang for "a noisy disturbance or free-for-all", and I am grateful to the locquacious Mr Naughtie for both expanding my vocabulary and generally elevating the tone of the discourse.

At the press conference after Saturday's contest in Munich, two British heavyweights – one of whom had just been defeated in the ring, while the other was there as a television "reporter" – traded insults and then a few blows.

There was a proper kerfuffle (a term in wider use) and an accusation that someone had been hit with a glass. I know, it's a long time since a fight between two British boxers has excited such interest, but the indignation in the days since strikes me as just a little confected. The scenes were thought to be "ugly, horrible and disgraceful" by Frank Warren, a man who has made his fortune out of promoting boxing and who, it is safe to assume, would be a beneficiary if the two fighters involved – Dereck Chisora and David Haye – could be persuaded to put their shorts on and continue their disagreement within the confines of an actual boxing ring. There has been much talk about how the sport has been brought into disrepute and even more about how the fundamental aspect of boxing is the way it instills discipline in its participants. I fail to see how it is different from almost any other sport in this regard. In fact, I thought that what separates boxing from other sports is the fact that it's the only one whose object is to render your opponent unconscious. You may gather from all this that I'm not a fan, but neither do I support those who opportunistically – and ludicrously – have used this melée to renew calls for boxing to be banned. (But then, I'm against the banning of any consensual adult activity.)

In many years as a sports journalist, I never went to a boxing contest. I can admire the athleticism, courage and skill of the fighters and I can fully understand the romanticism that attends this most atavistic of pursuits, but I don't like all the nonsense that surrounds the fight game: the crowds baying for blood, the exploitative promoters and managers, the hangers-on and the groupies, and, yes, the exaggerated outrage that follows a "rammy" like this latest one, which has already had the best part of a million hits on YouTube.

It may be bad for the sport's image, but I'm certain it's not bad for business.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Dom Joly owns a pig. That thinks it's a dog.  

I'll bow out. Let Wilbur, the pig that thinks it's a dog, bring home the bacon

Dom Joly
 

Forget charging by the page - with books, heart matters more than heft

Katy Guest
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'