Even boxers have to watch what they say about upcoming opponents these days. IBF super middleweight champion Carl Froch found that out firsthand on Wednesday.
On Saturday night, if I have to, I will kill this f***. Sorry about the language, but I will kill him.
It sounds brutal, it sounds horrible, but this is what it means to me. I'm going to leave it in the ring. And when I'm smashing his face in, I am going to go for the kill. I am going to go for the finish.
@carl_froch Says he wants to kill me - thats not very polite :))— Mikkel Kessler (@MikkelKessler) May 22, 2013
For years it always seemed boxers could do and say things that athletes in other sports couldn't, especially in the name of pre-fight hype. British Boxing Control reminded Froch that times have changed.
What started with charming rhymes from Muhammad Ali like "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" and "Moore [Archie] in four" has escalated to the consumption of human children, racial slurs and threats of in-ring murder.
No one should take these types of comments seriously. Everyone should know to file such barbs in the harmless negativity folder in their brains.
However, there are always a handful of people in the world whose filters are broken. Because of those people, we must all watch what we say—even fighters.
Froch has apologized for his comments, but he can't take them back. Should he even be asked to?
I'm sorry if my comments yesterday offended anyone. This fight means so much to me & emotions are running high. See you at the weigh in.— Carl Froch (@Carl_Froch) May 23, 2013
If by some unfortunate happenstance, Froch was to stop Kessler and seriously hurt him beyond a normal boxing injury, some genius might say, "He said he was going to kill him, looks like he almost did."
While that would be preposterous, it would make Froch's statement even more regrettable and embarrassing.
How do you feel about Froch's comments?
This is one of the more harmless forms of technically inappropriate pre-fight trash talk. Were Froch's comments a little over the top? Sure, but this isn't exactly figure skating.
In almost every way, boxing is violent. A major aspect of the sport is to hurt the opponent. This is part of the reason why fans love it.
Apologizing for violent trash talk in boxing is like Red Lobster apologizing for serving seafood. To quote Russell Crowe from Gladiator: "Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?"
Overreacting to violent comments from violent athletes within the context of the sport is a little weird.
However, I do understand the sensitivity behind racial comments. Obviously, the motive behind trash talk is to get under an opponent's skin. One quick way to do that is by attacking someone's heritage or ethnicity.
Call me old-fashioned, but this is never OK.
Because some things transcend the context in which they're said. When Danny Garcia's father, Angel Garcia made racially insensitive remarks about Amir Khan, it became hard to distinguish whether or not these are Garcia's true feelings about people of Pakistani heritage.
Caution: Both videos contain potentially offensive language.
When Floyd Mayweather Jr. made equally inappropriate comments about Manny Pacquiao's heritage, it made him look like a racist. This isn't the WWE; a boxer can't claim to be in character like Jack Swagger.
Are Mayweather and Garcia guilty of this trait?
We can't say for certain, but it sure sounds like it after you hear or read those comments. That is especially the case if the reader or viewer belongs to one of the targeted ethnic groups.
While I take issue to these racial comments, someone may take equal issue with Froch's "killer" comments. Perhaps what he said hits close to home with some.
Because you never know someone's situation, background or sensitivity, athletes can't throw caution to the wind. We don't belong to a society where disregarding the feelings of others is encouraged.
That's true, even to a fault sometimes.
For a long time, boxing and boxers operated by different rules. But that time is over.
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