Practically everyone has done it or been guilty of it at some point in their lives. Sitting back and criticizing other people’s actions or minimizing their successes has become a part of human nature. What used to take the form of idle gossip or barber shop banter has expanded to epic proportions. With the advent of the internet, social media and the blogosphere, the world has more critics and self-appointed experts than ever before.
These days it’s easy and enticing for a keyboard warrior, where you can be heard and seen, but not touched, to spout off an endless rant of negative criticism. Whether it’s justified, factual or just a bunch of opinionated hot air thousands of readers worldwide are willing and able (not necessarily qualified) to chime in. The allure of becoming an obnoxious, somewhat autonomous boxing commentator is intoxicatingly powerful and more prevalent than ever before. It may also be more damaging.
It’s odd that Facebook posters and posers will line up to bash the sport of boxing at every opportunity and still call themselves fans. They’ll do it under the disguise of “I’m just drawing attention to what is wrong with boxing so it will change” – when that’s seldom the case. Most are doing it because they fancy themselves as experts. They profess to know what’s best and possess insights beyond what the mere boxing mortal can see. The fact is they can’t DO so they criticize and tear down fights, fighters and the sport in general to make themselves feel better. “Not me!” they reply defensively, “I’m just calling it like I see it”. Really…or are you calling it like you feel it, led by your emotions, not fact.
The fact is you don’t have to love all fighters. You don’t have to think they’re all good, just because they’re in the ring, but there is a level of respect they should be afforded. After all, they do make up this sport. Let’s face it, without challengers, champions and chumps alike, the framework of all that boxing is and how it works, wouldn’t happen. The sport needs good fighters, great fighters and frankly, it needs the “tomato cans” too. Boxing has always had them and they’re one of the reasons great fighters become great.
When it all comes down to it, it’s easy to criticize. It requires no knowledge, no experience or even any rational thought. It only requires an opinion. In reality, it’s only when you walk a mile in another person’s shoes or get a sense of their personal experiences that you can fully realize what it’s like and what it takes to be a fighter. Unless you’ve ducked through those ropes at least once, unless you’ve been in the boxing ring, it’s hard to really understand what’s going on in the head and the heart of those athletes. That’s not to say you can’t understand boxing, be fully knowledgeable about the sport, have an opinion and “get it”, but there’s nothing on earth exactly like standing across from an opponent when and where it really counts…inside of a boxing ring, in front of a crowd and in a real fight. Imagining it while you sit in front of your home computer just isn’t the same.
Maybe if you love the sport, it’s time to start looking for the good, reporting the positive and reserving your judgment for the haters, not the participants. At the end of the day, at the final bell, a fighter’s sacrifice deserves thanks, not criticism. Boxing needs more fans and fewer critics. Which one are you?