Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Death Should Bring an End to 'Live Boxing'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Death Should Bring an End to 'Live Boxing'

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

The block letters on the sign in front of Club Liquid and the Crazy Horse Saloon remained unchanged yesterday morning.


A few days earlier, it might have been possible to drive down Philips Highway, see that first line and chuckle about the choice of words. Live boxing? Is that like the strip joints that advertise "live nude dancers"? As opposed to what? Dead nude dancers?

Only on this muggy morning, it wasn't even remotely amusing.

It was only sad and chilling.

Nelson Land, 23, died Monday at Shands Jacksonville. He passed away three days after going to Club Liquid and, just for fun, getting into a ring for "Fight Night."

As Land's family grieves, the questions pile up. Should the fight have been stopped before he took a punch to the chin in the third round? Or, even more important, should it have even started?

The State Attorney's Office is investigating. But even if it decides that no laws were broken, the question will remain. As William Safire once said, "The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right."

The argument for holding these bouts is simple. Nobody stops people from bungee jumping, or skydiving, or going on Survivor and losing so much weight that their ribs practically pop through their skin. If somebody wants to get into a ring and fight, shouldn't they be able to do so?

If they scribble their name on a four-page waiver form, don't they know what they're getting into?

Maybe. But even in the most carefully regulated environment, boxing can and does lead to death. And although we don't know a lot of the details about what happened last Friday, one thing jumps out.

Fighting starts at 11 p.m.

This form of boxing isn't about showcasing local amateur talent. It isn't even like a Toughman Contest or some charity boxing tournament. …

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