A boxer named Maxim Dadashev died today in Maryland. I’m not a fan of the sport but I’ve seen a lot of fights from my youth. It used to be that boxing was a big deal in America. There was a televised boxing card every Friday night. Men like Muhammad Ali were national figures. But as brutal as the sport is, it is rare for a boxer to die in the ring or of injuries from a fight.
So this news shook me up in a strange way. Yes, it’s sad for the dead boxer and his family. It shakes up the public. It must linger in the back of the minds of the boxers and their trainers.
But we’re forgetting an important actor in the drama. The boxer who won the match, Subriel Matias. What is to become of him? There’s really only one of two ways he can go. Back away from the death or head toward it. If he backs away that will increase the pressure that must already be on him to quit. People will surely reason that no sport is worth the ultimate price that a man can pay.
The other choice is that he embraces it. He can now positively assert that he is so savage a fighter that he beat an opponent to death. His matches will now draw special attention from the morbidly curious. Will this cause his opponents fear and dread? It should.
Death as a result of boxing is a risk that all boxers know and understand. Even though a man died, the death at the hands of the winner is not a chargeable offense. Those are the rules of the game.
So where will our winner Subriel Matias go from here? We’ll just have to see…