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Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 28, 2014 Boxing, is it Worth it? "Boxing is my guilty pleasure." Jack Newfield "Boxing is the red-light district of sports." Jimmy Cannon Magomed Abdulsalamov From the time of Cain and Abel to the present day people have been drawn to the spectacle of two men, and now women, punching each other. After school fights, two winos going at it, angry driv- ers duking it out all draw a crowd: The sight of two people trying to inflict harm on each other .has always fascinated humans. Starting with the ancient Romans, man has turned it into a sport where contestants are matched up and follow some set of rules for the battle. Spectators gather, pay money, cheer for their favorite, and derive pleasure from this spectacle. Why are we so intrigued by this sight? What is it in watching two people in the act of trying to inflict serious harm on each other that we find pleasure in? Make no mistake, I love boxing and always have. It has been a part of my life since I was very young. I can go' on about the skills a good fighter must develop to be able to survive in the ring, about the self-discipline it requires, how it forces you to deal with your inner fears and doubts. I could list hun- dreds of examples of young men who were destined for a life of crime and early deaths were it not for boxing. I could even argue that those who have suffered brain dam- age from taking too many blows are still better off because they had their moments of glory, and those moments were worth the price considering where their lives would have gone if they had never gone into a boxing gym. Good argu- ments all, but I would like to consider those who do not get into the ring, the ones who derive their pleasure from just watching the fights. The object of boxing is to inflict physical harm on your opponent. No other sport has this as its main goal. Oh, tance of a bout. A boxer can. lose every round of a fight and still pull out a victory with one well landed punch with just seconds remain- ing. It is exciting, but it is also brutal. A knockout is when someone is put into a coma from a blow. It's as close to death as a human being can come. This past Friday night on the ESPN fights they ran a piece about Magomed Abdusalmov, the Russian boxer who suffered serious Magomed, wife Bakanay, and children. there is certainly plenty of physical damage being in- flicted on one another by the contestants in a sport such as football, and the incidents of brain trauma appear to be more prevalent on the grid- iron than in boxing, but it can still be argued those in- juries are not intentional, a point I would take issue with. However, there is no getting around the fact that boxers who are seriously injured have been hurt because that is the whole point of the sport. In other sports when an athlete is carried off the field, it is considered an acci- dent. In boxing, it is expected. Often, I stress I am a devo- tee of old school boxing, and I feel somehow a bit above the viciousness that occurs in the ring because I enjoy the finer points of the sport. It is true that I really enjoy watching two smart boxers in a battle where they move well and avoid punches. I love watching the physi- cal chess that takes place between a couple of well- schooled athletes who know how to feint and parry. The Manly Art of Self Defense is how I like to think of boxing, but I am also quick to jump out of my seat at the sight of the sudden knock out. Unlike any other sport, box- ing can end at any time within the scheduled dis- head trauma in a bout tele- vised on HBO back in No- vember. Fans are still talk- ing about what a great fight it was and the courage dis- played by the Russian. I watched that bout and was sickened by how it was al- lowed to continue when Mago was so hurt and by the fact that a doctor never stepped into the ring to ex- amine him during the bout. I was further upset when I heard how he was told to take a cab to the hospital after the fight, even though there was an ambulance at the arena. Now, months later, it is being reported that he may never leave his "bed, that he has extensive brain damage and is ruined for life. He has a wife and small children who are left to fend for themselves. Box- ing is a sport and sport is entertainment. Boxers go into the ring under their own free will. Some of them die. Some of them suffer serious brain injuries. They know that is part of the risk they take. We know that too. Does that make us culpable? Is it worth having our fellow human beings put them- selves at such risk in order for us to have an evening's entertainment? I don't know the answer, but I wrestle with the question and my conscience. CITY GOLF COURSES OPEN APRIL 5 "r" The City of Boston's two municipal golf courses -- the William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park in Dorchester and the George Wright Golf Course in Hyde Park -- will be fully open for business on Saturday, April 5% weather permitting (please call golf courses for availability). Both courses feature full pro shops, con- cessions, cart rentals, and lessons for all ages. Golfers can access information on rates, season permits, and tournaments at www.cityoJbostongolf.com where they can also register for monthly giveaways, online news, and specials. Immediate course updates can be followed on Twitter @FranklinParkGC and @GeorgeWrightGC. He came into the press conference room as he always has, without a smile on his face and without a trace of the satisfaction that was cours- ing through the locker room at that moment. For you see, what had just taken place was no ordinary moment for Brad Stevens and the 2013-2014 Boston Celtics. Just a few minutes earlier they had exited the famed parquet floor after claiming a 101-96 victory over the two- time defending NBA Cham- pion Miami Heat. What's more the win meant the C's had captured the regular season three-game series from the Heat by a 2-1 count. Way back in early November Jeff Green had scored 24 points and five three pointers, including the game winning trey with less than a second left, as the C's downed Miami 111-110 on its home court in Florida. A rematch in the Sunshine State in January didn't go so well, with the C's losing 93-86. No matter. On this mid-March night the Celtics reigned supreme, a bit of brightness in an otherwise gray basketball landscape that had seemed to define them of late. "Guys made shots," noted Stevens as he enters the stretch run of his first season with the Celtics. We were nine for 27 at the end of the first quarter and we were down 12. Then we hit 60 per- cent of our shots the rest of the way. That's why we won the game." Sure, one can point to the fact that Heat star LeBron James sat this one out due to back spasms but that didn't take away how the Celtics felt about the victory. The coach paid compli- ments to his staff, in particu- lar to assistant Ron Adams who had worked with Avery Bradley-- the C's guard who led all scorers with 23 points and fired in a career high six three-pointers in the contest. "I can't say enough about our staff because it's not easy to be whatever we are record wise. The staff and players' attitudes have been very good and very much on the same page with regard to getting better every day. I would ven- ture to say that's unique." Sometimes, at the end of a rainy, cloudy day one notices that the sun may peek out for a moment near sunset -- thereby offering a hint of a better tomorrow. Such a moment occurred for the Celtics back on March 19 th. It seemed that there was excitement in the Garden once" again, an atmosphere that harkened back to the Pierce-Garnett-Allen era and for an older generation of fans, to the time of Bird, Parish and McHale. The moment offered hope that the dismal days of the present may indeed be tran- sitory and that the brightness of the past may come forth once again to illuminate the future. ONE GREAT GAME -- The Blades and a young fan cheer on the Bruins at TD Garden as the Bruins vs. the Montreal Canadiens on March 24, 2014. (Photo by Rosario Scabin, Ross Photography) pace always picks "up when the Montreal Canadiens come to town and the most recent contest against the Habs was no exception. Al- though Montreal would even- tually prevail via a shootout by a 2-1 margin in the March 24  matchup, it was probably the best home game of the 2013-2014 regular season. While the Bruins have clinched a playoff berth, their overall goal is to finish with the most points in the league, giving them home ice advan- tage through all potential four rounds of the playoffs. Thus, although the setback ended the B's impressive 12-game winning streak, the point they gained in the extended game put them one point ahead of Western Con- ference leader St. Louis in the overall points race. The contest was hard fought throughout, with the teams dueling through not only a five-minute skat- ing overtime but also past the normal three rounds of the shootout. It wasn't until the fourth round that the Canadiens won on a g0al by center Alex Galchenyuk. REPEAT AFTER ME -- That may be the new slogan for UMass-Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. All the sophomore net- minder did in the recent Hockey East Tournament at the Garden was simply repeat many of his feats of 2013 as the River Hawks captured their second consecutive HE crown by downing UNH 4-0. The victory vaulted Helle- buyck into a lofty status in Hockey East history. Going back to last year, he became the first goalie in conference history to notch shutouts in consecutive HE Tournament title games. He also won the Tourna- ment MVP award for the sec- ond straight year after he be- came the first goalie to record shutouts in both the semi- final and title contests. The River Hawks had beaten Notre Dame 4-0 one night earlier. Going into the NCAA Tour- nament, Hellebuyck is one (Continued on Page 14)