Boxing is a sport that adds years to lives without extending them, that both glosses over and emphasizes the fact that getting punched in the head is bad for you. Admittedly, the study of brain trauma is a new and underdeveloped field, and it is still unclear whether the majority of the cognitive deficits that are associated with blunt head blows result from the physical trauma itself, or the brain responding to this trauma. Those deficits, however, are undeniable—even obvious—in boxing. Boxing can chuck a man out of his prime like a bouncer, dumping him on the curb, where balance, coordination, cognition and speech get lost in the gathering crowd. This is what is happening when a fighter gets old before our eyes. This is the ugly side of growing old in a bloodsport—the side that counts in dog years, that places asterisks next to ages and question marks on futures.
Read FALLOUT: On Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao on The Cruelest Sport.