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Presidents Column  |  March 2017
POSTED ON MARCH 28, 2017.
BY: WBF PRESIDENT HOWARD GOLDBERG.
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COLUMN   Photo: World Boxing Federation (WBF) President Howard Goldberg.
 
 

When an uninformed boxing wannabe expert called me screaming about the fact that we are allowing Francois Botha at 48 years of age to fight Uwe Hueck, I had to take a deep breath and explain to the person that this is a charity exhibition fight to raise funds for boxing gyms in Khayelisha, Cape Town which have minimum of poor equipment.

Once calmed, the person enthusiastically endorsed the fight saying that more fighters should be doing charity exhibitions and give back to the sport that gave them so much.

So, yes, firstly we need to thank, commend and congratulate Uwe and Francois for doing what they are doing, but then the question made me think somewhat. When is the right age to call it quits in boxing? Of course it depends on many factors such as genes, longevity, fitness, punishment taken over the years, slowing down of reflexes, not taking punches as well as one might have years before and many more.

I remember as a former school headmaster debating a similar issue. Does one set an age limit or does the headmaster determine the quality of the teacher irrespective of age? Roy Jones, Bernard Hopkins, George Foreman and even Francois Botha fought past the age where they should have stopped, or did they?

Of course it is difficult to simply hang up one's gloves and move away from adoring fans, mega adrenalin, potential paydays and the flashing lights of fame, but I think that the answer should lie with the honesty of a fighter with himself.

One knows deep down when enough is enough, and coupled with the medical staff in boxing and the boxing commissions, one would hope that sanity prevails and fighters retire timeously rather than becoming death statistics.

So is there a definitive age to stop boxing probably not. Is there scientific proof of taking enough punishment to warrant fighters retiring getting close but still probably not. Are commissions expert enough to decide when to renew a boxer's license or not again close but not definitive.

The answer is simple: Common sense, the advice of close friends, and one's family's wishes. Those should be the deciding factors.

What do you think?

Until next time, keep boxing.

Howard Goldberg

PRESIDENT: World Boxing Federation

 

 
  
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