Blogs & Opinion


Ed Robinson:

To box or not box?

The show must go on... and usually does

Ed Robinson Posted 28th October 2011 view comments

Ed Robinson is Sky boxing's roving and ringside reporter, one of the most respected faces in the domestic game.

Every week Ed heads out and about to talk to the men making the news in and out of the ring and now he will be bringing us a behind-the-scenes blog here on skysports.com.

From world champions to amateur wannabes looking at London 2012, he will be bringing you regular updates from the world of boxing...

Friday, October 28th

When Frankie Gavin walked away from his fight in Manchester this week it provoked a storm. On the boxing forums it seems that everyone has a strong opinion on the issue. Many are quick to condemn while others are more sympathetic to a man who obviously has serious personal issues.

Under pressure: the show couldn't go on for Frankie Gavin

Under pressure: the show couldn't go on for Frankie Gavin

Some argue that in all aspects of life we all just have to get on with the job at hand, regardless of distractions.

Others maintain that the most important consideration should, of course, be Gavin's health and his safety. There's also the issue of Gavin letting the fans, his promoter and his trainer down and the damage he will have done to his reputation.

The physical strains of boxing simply can't match the psychological ones. The mental pressures must be immense for a much-hyped prospect like Gavin. Being a boxer is a strong identity, a definition of their being. All anyone talks to a top boxer about is boxing - and their next fight.

Ed Robinson
Quotes of the week

To box or not to box - it's a topical issue at the moment after Nathan Cleverly confessed to going through with his defence against Tony Bellew despite a serious rib injury. Cleverly went on to win but only after Bellew had apparently broken his hand during the fight.

It paid off for Cleverly, not so for Audley Harrison who admitted on Ringside this week the problems that he had with his shoulder ahead of his grudge match with David Haye. Or then for Haye taking on Wladimir Klitschko with a broken toe. Not that either injury was necessarily a deciding factor in the outcomes of their respective fights.

No fighter ever goes into a contest in perfect physical shape, training is too gruelling not to pick up niggles and recurring injuries. And every fighter is braced to pick up more damage during the night - cuts, swellings, bruises are all an intrinsic part of the pain game.

Psychological

Muhammad Ali finished a 12-rounder with Ken Norton despite a broken jaw, Arthur Abraham's face was hideously distorted after 12 rounds with Edison Miranda, who broke his jaw and then head butted him. But the physical strains simply can't match the psychological ones.

The mental pressures must be immense for a much-hyped prospect like Gavin. Being a boxer is a strong identity, a definition of their being. All anyone talks to a top boxer about is boxing - and their next fight.

They're always either training or recovering from training. They can never switch off because weight is their obsession. Even an escapist trip to the cinema is fraught with the sound of popcorn being eaten all around them! Top fighters have almost inevitably put their soul into the sport so failing is a pretty bleak option.

Then there's the media demands and the weight of expectation. Added to all that, despite the bravado, no-one really knows how they will react in a new and deeply stressful situation. There's always the anxiety of the unknown. They are proud men basically risking humiliation in front of everyone they care about.

If, on top of all of that Gavin has some other major problems then I can see why it tipped him over the edge. Perhaps he was right to pull out of the fight, perhaps not - but it's difficult not to feel some sympathy for Frankie.

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