Jack Young’s Boxing Idea Isn’t as Stupid as it Sounds

No doubt by now you’ve  heard about Baltimore Mayor Jack Young’s latest idea:

The day after a teenager was killed and four others were injured in shootings in Baltimore, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young suggested an unconventional approach to preventing gun violence.

Mediation is one option to settle disputes that might otherwise erupt into the shootings plaguing the city, he said. Another alternative? Lace up some boxing gloves and slug it out, the mayor suggested.

“If they want to really settle them, we can have them down at the Civic Center [now called Royal Farms Arena], put a boxing ring up, let them go and box it out, those kind of things,” Young said. “[May] the best man win, and the beef should be over. Those are some kinds of things I’m thinking about, and hoping that we can get these people to put these guns down.”

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The idea has been ridiculed on social media, ridiculed by the Baltimore Sun, and ridiculed by national media, among others.

But the idea isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds.

I certainly do not share the optimism that Young has that this is going to solve all of Baltimore’s beefs. I do not think there is a magic recuperative power in boxing that is going to turn those interested in settling their issues with guns into people who are willing to settle their differences in the ring. This is not going to be a panacea.

But it does provide an interesting look at boxing for those who may have other avenues closed to them. There will be some folks who are able to get out their aggression with a pair of gloves on. There will be some who would benefit from the structure of a boxing training program. Those who show an aptitude for it may be able to gain opportunities from amateur boxing or even be good enough to box professionally one day. And for those who are successful there, pro boxing can bring life-changing money.

That kind of structure, even if they’re never good at it, can dramatically change somebody’s life.

Young’s boxing idea has drawn a great deal of ridicule, especially from conservatives. But it’s a lot more productive than another gun buyback program, more gun restrictions or the usual lip service that Democratic city leaders come up with.

If Young can convince the private sector to help to make this work, it’s worth giving boxing a chance.

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