Saturday night saw one of the biggest events in Boxing this year, a fight between Daivd Haye and Audley Harrison for the heavyweight title of the world. Boxing has in the recent past been accused of becoming a farce with all the differing variations of titles, many die-hards would say it devalues the sport, but the promoters ensured that this was a big fight. Despite many seeing Harrison as an opponent unworthy of the current champion Haye as was proven by the final result, the pre-fight buzz was huge.
Boxing is as much about promotion as it is about the actual fight in the ring, a fight is judged as much by it’s power at the box office as the technical skill of the two fighters. Boxers being paid millions for their time in the ring must create as much of a “buzz” as possible to maximise their match day purses. With Harrison on the bill many thought this fight would be hard to sell, however the promoters managed to make it a sell out. All the 22,000 seats at the M.E.N in Manchester were filled combined with an estimated 700,000 sky subscribers paying £14.95 each just to see the fight, the revenue in the UK alone was massive.
The atmosphere around the fight titled “Best of Enemies” began building ever since the event was officially announced on 7th September 2010. David Haye set the tone by commenting that the fight would be “as one-sided as a gang rape”. The comment caused dismay even amongst those accustomed to the insults that surround pre-fight build ups. Haye was unrepentant, sensing the opportunity to cash in on the increased media coverage he continued “Wait until you see the fight, and then you will understand what that comment was all about”.
Haye is not the only one to have crossed the line of decency in the Boxing world – who can forget Mike Tyson offering to “eat” Lennox Lewis’s children in the build up to their world title bout in 2000. The bigger the rivalry the more vulgar the insults seem to get and they are not limited to the fighters alone. Earlier this year Floyd Mayweather Sr, father of Welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr referred to one of his son’s main rivals Manny Pacquiao as a “little Filipino midget”.
Promoters and the media use these outbursts to add a little ‘edge’ to the fight, it is the best marketing tool they could hope for. There is nothing like a personal insult to get the adrenaline of a boxer and his fans pumping. And of course the box office tills ringing.
The acceptance and promotion of the pre-fight antics that exist in Boxing allow vulgarity to spread to the rest of society. With this comes the total disregard for the feelings and respect for others and a kind of dominating ‘win-at-all-costs’ attitude. This can be seen being manifested in the prevalence of a bullying culture whether that be in the work place, schools or society as a whole. Some may call it ‘survival of the fittest’ but it is the very opposite of civility. When people in the public eye don’t think twice about degrading others then there should be little surprise that respect for others is now a fading memory for society in the West.
The values of Islam take a different view of formulating relationships between members of society. Relationships are built upon respect, dignity and honour for all, Muslim and non-Muslim. So it is the very opposite to the very kind of vulgarity that the West now uses to sell its entertainment to the masses.
Mohammad (saw) warned against the looseness of the tongue and the spreading of slander, he (saw) said: “When man wakes up in the morning each day, all parts of the body warn the tongue saying, ‘Fear God as regards us for we are at your mercy; if you are upright, we will be upright and if you are crooked, we become crooked.’” (At-Tirmidhee)