Before the first sparring session can even begin, a lot of prep work still needs to be done. For any boxer just starting out, this will take months. But those with special gifts of championship-winning and Olympian proportions could be in the ring within weeks. For many years, in the professional arena, the modern day Spartans have been putting their bodies on the line without essential boxing headgears. The consequences of this have reached historic proportions. The most famous case is that of arguably the greatest professional boxer of all time, the great, the one and only, dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee, he of rumble in the jungle fame (and just ask old Mr. George Foreman about this one) and the one who vainly loved to remind all those who would listen that he was the greatest of them all, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Muhammad Ali.
I am the greatest! This is one of the many legends that the former Cassius Clay was famous for. At the time of writing, he died a year or so ago. The saying goes that he died from Parkinson’s disease. The argument is that this was as a consequence of long years of the famous man allowing his head to be cracked open by some of the fiercest and most feared boxers of all time. Mr. Foreman was one of them. Legendary Cuban, Teofilo Stevens was not. There is another argument that says this man could have turned out to be better than Ali had he turned pro.
He did have one thing in common with Ali. He won Olympic gold in the heavyweight category of the boxing discipline. And pleasingly, Mr. Stevens was wearing headgear. This remains a standard rule of the Olympic equivalent of boxing. All young boxers going into this sport for the first time should not allow their macho comrades to tease them and influence them otherwise. In keeping your head together for this sport, it takes more than a man to always wear the headgear. Make sure you do this before you head off for your first sparring session. And if your coach has told you otherwise, you’d best be looking for another gym.
It goes without saying that boxing is a dangerous sport. Without headgear, you put yourself and your life at risk. And have you not noticed when watching pro boxers on TV sparring, even Ali did this; they were always wearing the headgear. The irony was in the detail when they fought tooth and nail and for big purses without headgear. All things considered, Muhammad Ali still managed to lead a long and inspiring life. But much younger and quite anonymous boxers were not so fortunate. Do the right thing and put boxing headgears on the top of your shopping list first time round. There’s more than enough online info to help you punch above your weight.