Why Boxing Is Tough
Anyone who has put on boxing gloves to do a class, workout, or even to hit the heavy bag can attest to the difficulty and stamina it takes to box. The standard three-minute round sounds like a short duration, but many of the longest moments of my life have occurred during those three minutes while boxing.
Even thirty seconds can be a deceiving. Try punching with all-out speed and power on a heavy bag for a thirty second sprint and you’ll know what I am talking about. Add in the variable of someone punching you while you’re trying to punch and you’ll understand why boxing is the most difficult sport.
In its analysis, ESPN took ten different athletic categories and ranked each category with a scale of zero to a hundred in degree of difficulty. The categories included every imaginable facet of athleticism from speed and power to hand-eye coordination. The aforementioned golf scored a respectable and understandable 6.38 on analytic aptitude, but a paltry 1.63 in the speed category. The big three were all in the top ten of the toughest sports – football at third, basketball at fourth, and baseball at ninth.
But boxing took the cake with high scores across the board. From power to durability, boxing is one tough sport according to the experts. However, it isn’t just the typical athletic variables that make boxing hard. Yes, it takes incredible endurance and strength to box, but more than anything, it takes nerve. According to ESPN, this was boxing’s most pronounced athletic category – nerve, or the ability to overcome fear. When it comes to nerve, boxing scored an 8.88 average, among the top four of all sports.
Fear and the Ability to Face It
There are a lot of tough sports out there. Golf seems so hard that I have wanted to break every club in my bag while on the course. I remember football practices back in the day that made me want to throw up. Wrestling is as rigorous as it gets in terms of its grueling conditioning.
Still, the sheer mental and physical exhaustion in a boxing ring is indescribable, even at the amateur level. It’s not just physical exhaustion, but also the mental concentration required in boxing. It’s the willingness to confront not only your opponent, but also your own fear. That reason, fear, as ESPN indirectly pointed out, is the reason more than any other that boxing is the most difficult sport. Nothing drains you and creates exhaustion like fear.