Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ban the Doctor not the Boxer


Recently, Bombo Radyo – Dagupan asked my stand on the call of some quarters for the total ban of amateur boxing in the provincial and regional games participated by students in public and private schools.
Protective Gears for Amateur Boxers
The call, I said, is like swathing a fly with a sledge hammer.
“You kill boxing in these categories; you kill our chances to get medals in the Olympic,” I hissed in a phone patch.
The death of 16 year-old Jonas Joshua Garcia who fell in a coma in a boxing match organized by the Department of Education (DepEd) at the Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association in Iba, Zambales was an exception. The doctor commissioned by the DepEd in that competition should be investigated for negligence or incompetence and if found guilty should be given corresponding sanctions by the DepEd and the Philippine Regulatory Commission.
Why kill the sport that give us global honor in Manny Pacquiao and others when it was the fault of school officials who did not observe due diligence?

Medical Guidelines in Boxing
As we know DepEd amateur boxing rules dictate, just like those rules in the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines, that before a pug boxes he first contacted the school’s physician (1) to obtain a thorough physical examination, (2) to assure that no pre-existing medical conditions exist that would pose an unusual risk to the participant, and (3) obtain independent medical advice concerning the short and long-term risks of participation.
We should not rash to condemn boxing as a killer contact sport. Is Tae Kwan Do, Wrestling, Wushu, or arnis  contact sports too? Then son of a gun, they should be banned too!

Boxing is No. 23 Less Dangerous Sport
Despite the obvious risks involved in any contact sport, a U.S National Safety Council accident report ranked amateur boxing 23rd on its list of injury-producing sports and rated it the safest of all contact sports ...safer than football, wrestling, gymnastics and in-line skating.
 According to Cantu, Boxing and Medicine, Human Kinetics Illinois, studies say that amateur boxing's fatality rate is 1.3 fatalities per 100,000 participants.   Compare this to the fatality rates for college football (3), scuba diving (11), mountaineering (51) and sky-diving (123).
Geez whiz if that should be the cases then we should ban too mountaineering and sky- diving since they kill more people than boxing if that kind of argument was the Raison d'etre (main reason) of those Filipino and foreign skeptics.

Protective Guidelines in Amateur Boxing
 Before a child is given a green light by the doctor to box the following rules guide him :
(1)          Amateurs box 3 and 4 round bouts, not 12 round bouts as in the professional or pros; (2)  Amateurs box 2 minute rounds, not 3 minute rounds as in the pros; (3)  Amateurs use 10 and 12 ounce shock-absorbing gloves in competition.  Pros use 6 and 8 ounce shock-transmitting gloves; (4) Amateurs wear headgear to protect ears, forehead and cheekbones.  Headgear is prohibited in pro boxing; (5)  Amateurs wear jerseys during bouts, to prevent gloves from transferring sweat to the opponent's eyes; (6)  Referees in amateur bouts make liberal use of the "standing 8 count" to protect boxers.  The standing 8 count gives the referee time to assess the ability of a boxer to defend himself or herself after a hit or knockdown.  Up to three standing 8s can be administered to a given boxer without the bout being stopped (unless in the same round).  This encourages liberal use of the standing 8.   Referees also have the power to stop a bout anytime they feel a boxer is overmatched -- before the boxer gets hurt or knocked down; (7)  Amateur boxers must undergo a medical exam by a licensed medical doctor both before and after each bout. Physicians performing these exams have the right to "restrict" boxers, i.e. prevent them from sparring and fighting for 30, 60, 90 or even 180 days following suspected concussions or other injuries; (8)  Amateurs are matched up according to THREE criteria to assure fairness -- weight, age AND experience level; (9)  Any one of 10 different people can stop a bout at any time -- the referee, the ring doctor, either boxer, either boxer's corner man, the judges and the sanction holder (event host).
The purpose of these is to protect the child against the repetitive concussion that can result to brain dysfunction (so-called "punch-drunk syndrome") and possible neurological deficits and Parkinsonism later in life. These conditions are well-documented among some professional boxers and many professional football players.

Injustice to cite Muhammad Ali for the ban
And that’s where we have to discuss here the fate of the greatest champion of all times Muhammad Ali whose slur and other demeanor from Parkinson diseases have disturbed a lot of folks every time they saw him in public.
It is almost certain that Parkinson’s syndrome inflicted Ali. But we could not compare the state of Ali to Little Juan de la Cruz who fights in the amateur league.
According to USA Boxing, Inc. Ali fought 105 amateur and Olympic bouts (100-5) and 61 professional bouts (56-5) during his career.  That is the equivalent of a staggering 600 amateur bouts in terms of total ring time.  Moreover, Ali fought the best amateurs in six Golden Gloves tournaments, four national Golden Gloves and AAU tournaments, and in the 1960 Olympic Games.  Finally, he fought for 21 years against the heaviest punchers of this planet (that could shame those pity-patter bitching punchin’ heavy weight pugs today)  like the monster hitter George Foreman (whose right riveting upper cut power saw Joe Fraizer jerked up by half-foot from the dais before he was knocked out cold in the 2nd Round. You Mayweather and Pacquiao fans and apologists go and check, pronto, this phenomenon at YouTube for you to confirm) perennial nemesis Joe Frazier,Sonny Liston, Ken Norton and Leon Spinks.   

Amateur Boxing  has Short Rounds
Amateur careers, on the other hand, tend to be very short. Few reach open division level and, of those who do, few reach national competition. Indeed, among the active boxers in most in Indiana and Kentucky clubs in  the U.S, the average experience level is less than 2 years with the club and less than 24 total minutes in the ring.   
That’s why 8th world division champions Manny Pacquiao beg that reasons prevail among the advocates of the ban that it is not an answer.
“The answer isn’t to cancel boxing. This is where we get fighters for the Olympics. We just have to take the proper precautions,” he said in a television interview.
Oh by the way, recently I was at the residence of spouses Jun Calaguio and the former Imelda Alba at Brgy. Gabon, Calasiao with their pretty and sultry Hong Kong Chinese female band singers. Imelda, a town mate in Mindanao, has been making raves and waves in Hong Kong’s exclusive club singing pop and jazz to V.I.Ps there like former president Bill Clinton, actors Bruce Willis and Nicolas Cage, King Hussein of Jordan, to name a few.
Son of a gun, she got pictures with these folks rubbing shoulders with her at her FaceBook’s account.
Imelda Alba Calaguio (extreme left) of Gabon, Calasiao
 struts her singing prowess with her two Chinese Hong-kong
band mates  in the place.

“Those who patronize our club are exclusive members only who paid U.S $44 thousand membership fee,” she told me in a huddle.
Imelda told me she owned some of the instruments used by some members of the famous Bossing Band that performs at the Mint Club in Dagupan City.
“Two of the members there are my brother-in-laws,” she said.
Imelda’s husband Jun plays the keyboard while her father in law plays like Kenny G the saxophone in Hong Kong.
 I and Imelda strutted our pieces too with the Bossing Band there led by its amiable manager-drummer Robert Erfe-Mejia.
I told Robert that I was a frustrated wannabe rock singer until column writing caught me he he.
“Pag hindi ako umalis sa Mindanao, siguro kumakanta ako sa mga lamayan (wake) doon as my livelihood,” I jocularly told Robert who was given a high-end (forgot the brand name) drummer sticks by the Calaguio couples.
Imelda and Jun Calaguio although they are in Hong Kong still oversee the famous perennial Calaguio Orchestra in Pangasinan that caters to fiesta all over Pangasinan.
“I spent more than P4 million for the instruments alone of the orchestra to be competitive in the business,” Imelda told me.

(You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too

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