Monday, January 9, 2012

Important Things to Know About Professional Boxing

Boxing, also called the "sweet science" by its admirers, is a centuries-old sport that showcases the talents and skills required in hand-to-hand combat. It is a simple sport that was easily accessible for many throughout the years, and today is still a popular sport in many impoverished neighborhoods. Although boxing's popularity has waned in recent years, it is still a multimillion-dollar industry that enjoys a loyal fan base.
Early forms of boxing have existed since the time of ancient Rome and Greece, when pugilists would fight with only leather taped on to their hands. These gruesome fights could often be deadly. It wasn't until 1681 that a boxing match resembling today's sport took place -- this occurred in Britain, when the Duke of Albemarle arranged a match between his butcher and his butler. The first rules were laid out in 1743 by Jack Boughton, who published the parameters for the sport in response to killing an opponent in 1741, according to history published at the University of Florida. Though popularity for the sport continued to grow over time, professional boxing didn't come into being until 1927, when the National Boxing Association was formed as the first sanctioning boxing league.
Modern-Day Boxing
Boxing in the modern day involves much more than just the fights themselves. Sponsorships, pay-per-view contracts, media exposure and other elements have altered the course of the sport, and in some ways hurt it, by preventing the ideal match-ups between world-class talent from occurring at the optimum times. Still, a championship fight can earns tens of millions of dollars through pay-per-view sales. Proponents of boxing appreciate the sport's timeless nature -- boxing rewards a mastery of classic combat skills much more than innovation and development of the sport. The sport's consistency has become one of its most cherished qualities.
Boxing matches are composed of rounds, each of which is three minutes long. The number of rounds in a fight may vary -- 12 rounds is customary for a championship fight, but non-championship bouts may feature fewer rounds. In between each round is a one-minute rest period where the fighters may return to their corners and receive coaching and medical attention to close open wounds. Three objective judges score the fight based on their view of the performance. If no knockout occurs by the end of the last round, the judges' scorecards determine the fight. If, however, a fighter is knocked down and remains down for 20 seconds, that fighter is declared the loser of the fight. Referees are the only individuals allowed to call a fight or stop the contest in the event of a serious injury. Professional boxers are required to wear padded gloves and mouthguards to reduce the risk of a blunt trauma injury, and fighters are not allowed to deliver a punch when the opponent's mouthguard is out of his mouth. Punches must also be delivered above the belt line -- low punches can result in a points deduction or even a loss if too many illegal punches are thrown. Fighters are not allowed to hit one another with any part of the body other than the padded gloves.
Like many professional sports, boxing requires athletes to undergo performance-enhancing drug testing after fights to make sure their performance was not illegally aided. Additionally, weight classes are established to keep fighters within an general weight range of each other, minimizing any benefit derived from having more weight than an opponent. In some high-profile boxing matches, contracts are often negotiated between competing parties to determine the exact procedure for performance-enhancing drug testing. However, if the fight is sanctioned by a professional boxing league, these regulations are made in addition to the baseline regulations required by the league.

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