Warning: Late-afternoon rant ahead.

Watching one of those movie-trailer television commercials on Monday (I mean, a TV commercial projected on the big screen, not a movie trailer on television), I finally reached the breaking point.

The commercial was for The Apprentice and The Contender. I’m not fond of The Apprentice, because it seems to reward dog-eat-dog behavior. But I won’t touch The Contender with a ten-foot pole.

I want boxing to go away.

Yes, I liked Million Dollar Baby, but not because it was about boxing. Boxing continues to get the glamour treatment in film and on television, and any questions about the ethics of it as a sport seem to get stifled.

I don’t understand how we can defend allowing people to train themselves to get in a ring and beat the snot out of each other and call it “sports.” To me, it’s just glorified beastliness. It reduces us to sheer animal instinct and divorces us from conscience and care. Sure, Muhammed Ali had some admirable turns in his career, and yes, his comeback triumph was a sight to behold and a masterful flourish of strategy. But still, when it comes down to it, the goal is to beat the other guy into submission. Where’s the humanity in that?

So, I don’t see the appeal in Ron Howard’s upcoming Cinderella Man. I don’t see the appeal of a nation finding inspiration in the sight of one of their own, a father, a husband, getting in the ring and smashing somebody else to prove that he won’t let the bastards get him down.

And yet, I can already smell the Oscar nominations.

Jamie Foxx wants to play Mike Tyson, and I can only guess that the film will find some way to make him a sympathetic character, when I think the guy should be locked up.

What do you think? Am I missing something? Is there something beautiful about boxing that I need to understand before I go suffer through Cinderella Man in a couple of weeks?

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