Women's Olympic Boxing Will Be Just Like the Men's... Unwatchable

The International Olympic Committee yesterday added women’s boxing to the program for the 2012 Olympics, thereby guaranteeing that one of the world’s most glorious and time-honored combat sports will be profaned as a humiliating farce for both genders at the London Games.

To this point, only men have had the honor of participating in the suckfest known as "Olympic boxing." But equality for all, innit? Ladies, please step right up and get ready to say, "hey, this sucks!"

Last summer during the Athens Games, I wrote a piece here at TSB titled "It May Be Time to Eliminate Olympic Boxing" and, though as a dedicated boxing fan it pained me to no end, I was dead serious on that count.

The history of boxing at the Olympics is long and righteous. De La Hoya. Evander Holyfield. Ray Leonard. Ali, Frazier and Foreman. All great champions borne of Olympic glory.

But the tepid imitation of the sport that has evolved over the past four Olympics, saddled with a seemingly arbitrary scoring system that in its very design rewards bad boxing (or just as often the gods of chance), should no longer be tolerated, not for men, not for women and not for bloody zebras either. Many of the boxing matches that I saw at the Beijing Olympics would have been better decided by the flip of a coin than they were by the judges' "scores." It was an abomination so extreme that even the dedicated boxing announcer, Teddy Atlas, was left with no choice but to denounce the whole tournament as "outrageous" on NBC.

Other than some Australian doctors and former British Olympian and current WBA light welterweight champ Amir Khan, the general take on the addition of women’s boxing to the Olympic program is one of celebration, which strikes me as the product of a collective act of forgetting. At the 2008 Games, Olympic boxing was one prolonged kidney punch to the honor of the sweet science, a daily insult to the athletes involved and a smear on the sport's reputation around the world. And unless some wholesale reinvention of the rulebook is enacted (and none is being planned so far as I know), we can expect nothing but more of the same in London.

Thus, count me among those who are opposed to women’s boxing at the Olympics, entirely due to the fact that I’m opposed to boxing at the Olympics in its current form. I’m all for equality between the sexes, but at the same time, I think celebrating the addition of women to an enterprise that is so irreparably flawed is misplaced glee, to put it mildly. You have indeed come a long way, baby, but I hesitate to call it progress when you’re granted the right to climb aboard a sinking ship.

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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