Letter: Ali's fate strips boxing of excuses

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The Independent Online
Ali's fate strips boxing of excuses

Sir: Your remarkable review of When we were kings (15 May) and today's article about sporting giants (20 May) are the most emphatic and dramatic indictments yet of the "sport" of boxing. Today Muhammad Ali, a heroic Titan of post-war decades, is a shambling incoherent ruin of a man.

It would be amazing if this young ex-boxer's Parkinson's disease, an affliction of the elderly, were a coincidence. On the other hand, signs of Parkinsonism are very common in ex-boxers since they are part of the syndrome of brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head.

What further evidence do we need before the civilised world brushes aside the casuistic excuses for this most ignoble industry and bans boxing for good?

TONY VAN DEN BERGH

former inspector of the British Boxing Board of Control

HELEN GRANT MD, FRCP

retired Neuropathologist

London NW3

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