Opinion: Is Fighting Being Dumbed Down?

It would be most ungentlemanly to comment on the ass of the guy on the far right

I got into a fight last night. Alas, not the hand-to-hand combat kind, though that was my intention. Smear some young Turk’s blood across my knuckles, drink his fear like some ethereal digestif, all that. After an excellent evening with the Royal Dragoon Guards we cleared away the tables to engage in some after-dinner boxing. Now, imagine the look on my face when I was handed an absurd pair of gloves with the thickness of a winter coat! Naturally I informed my hosts that these wouldn’t be necessary. Apparently, this was not an option.

Gentlemen, allow me to inform you of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules for boxing.

John Douglas, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, has seen fit to suggest a new set of rules for boxing, not letting the truth that this most noble of games dates back to the Ancient Greeks slow him down a jot.

If a boxing fan were to sit down with the intention of reading this rules in their entireity, I guarantee you will instead find yourself pacing the room some half-way through, percolating with rage like some great coffee pot. It is staggering. Rounds are to be just three minutes long? No wrestling allowed? Gloves are to be worn? No seconds or any other person are allowed in the ring? No blows below the belt? And I’ve saved the best for last- “A man on one knee is considered down and if struck is entitled to the stakes.”

Clearly the Marquess seeks a sport that he’ll be able to partake in without the risk of darkening his aristocratic complexion with a bruise. He would like a game that will be welcoming to amateurs. A safe game, that has been, without question, dumbed down. Perhaps if Sir. Douglas seeks a more accessible form of combat, he should have invented rules that allow him to fight children, starting with his own.

Or maybe I am underestimating Sir. Douglas. It is within the realms of possibility that he paces his manor each night, wondering why he can’t talk to the boxers. Perhaps the Queensberry rules are merely a first step.

The true awfulness of this business is that these Queensberry rules are already being adopted throughout the country. Where now, for bareknuckle fighters? Where shall we find our thrills?

I’ll tell you where. Ten years from now we will have been forced into the East End of London, where we shall be expected to brawl with the drunkards and roustabouts. I tell you, I don’t know what fighting is coming to.

It’s been a slow week for video games.


  1. Njordsk says:

    Please may tommorow come really fast

    • Justoffscreen says:

      Yes! Perhaps in this “world of tomorrow” such stringent and needless rules will be abolished once more! Surely it cannot become any more ridiculous in our removal from actual combat than we are in this present day.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Justoffscreen. Arise. For you are now Sir JustOffScreen.


    • Bhazor says:

      Brother of Sir Not-appearing-in-this-film.

    • McDan says:

      Cousin of Sir Who-was-that-guy-just-then?-I-swear-I-saw-him-play-a-different-character-earlier.

  2. President Weasel says:

    Irony of ironies, the padded gloves make the sport more dangerous by allowing each combatant to empunchenate the brainal area with far more force than was previously possible with their weak and fragile fists.

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      Joshua says:

      This. Many people often shout ‘dumded down’ for whatever reason whenever a rule is changed. Often, this rule usually makes the game better, but they shout just the same.

    • gorgol says:

      I recall a boxing enthusiast stating that the gloves are not for the protection of heads, but for the protection of hands.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Absurd. I’m sure that before long the dumbing down brigade will be arguing for leather padding and regular pipe smoking breaks for rugby players in the hope that they will make the game a more exciting spectacle for the lower classes.

    • Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

      That isnt ironic, its what was intended.
      You had bareknuckle boxers going 15 rounds ending in a draw, as you were liable to break your hand on someones head. Gloves protect hands, allowing the head to become a target again, making the fights better.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      gorgol: you’re right, they do protect the hands, which have far more delicate bones than the skull.

      Also: headguards increase the chance of brain damage.

  3. Robert says:

    It’s the consoles, I’ll tell you!

    • McDan says:

      The rogues and scoundrels that they are!

    • gorgol says:

      What are these consoles you speak of? Some new fangled invention?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      It’s a town in the vicinity of Corinth. Notorious ragamuffins.


    • gorgol says:

      Greeks, Consoles you say? Causing problems eh? I say we bring true civilisation to those reprobates like we have done to so many other parts of the world. They must be stopped before they get out of hand! Why, next these hooligans from Console will be cause for concern for our champions of law and order, the Police Constables (PCs for short), corrupting and eroding our glorious empire! If they are not stopped they might end up taking over the world and turning it into a bedlam void of principle or virtue! No I say, no!

    • Namos says:

      I thought the consuls were Roman.

    • alh_p says:

      ahem, need master Namos be reminded of the larcenery of the Romans? Were intelectual property also part of our classical descendance, the Hellenes might yet receive the credit due for their exemplary gumption.

  4. Vague-rant says:

    I imagine anything would be dumbed down after repeated blows to the head.

    • cjlr says:

      Indeed – I have attempted several times to contact those running fights, to impress upon them the medical dangers of such. Why, a blow to the head can, if severe enough, completely alter its shape! And such, as you know, phrenologically speaking, may suffice to alter a man’s entire person. I cannot disallow the possibility of an improvement in nature being made, but my experience tells that the majority of cases result in changes very much for the worse.

    • Temple to Tei says:


      Simply the best idea ever.
      I tried.
      It did not work. Don’t let that put you off though I probably just needed a bigger hammer.

    • droid says:

      Indeed, the most difficult aspect of Retrophrenology is that most of the Noble and Good alterations of mental nature require increased outward protrusions at precise locations, rather than the inward deflections that are much more likely to be the result of the hammer.

      Good sir, I hope you were not attempting self-experimentation.

  5. bowl of snakes says:

    is this a new facebook game?

    • Meneth says:

      What is this book of faces you speak of, sir?

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I have heard legend among #booksellers that James Audubon once recorded all the phonetics of various birds tweeting sounds by describing them in just a brief sentence or two, but the manuscript draft was lost.

    • amishmonster says:

      Perhaps he refers to the recently updated register of Appearances, Interests, & Taxable Propertyes, the Domesday Facebook.

  6. Sarlix says:

    I can only echo the above statements to be true of fact. Furthermore, such stringent and unnecessary rules have found their way into our popular video games. Only yesterday I was playing the much anticipated Monocle Face Biff III. And to my utter dismay you can no longer freely punch your fellow man in the upper cranium. No. All blows have been restricted and augmented with much padding. Such restrictions can only serve to ruin the fun for us all.

  7. m3metix says:

    “Or maybe I am underestimating Sir. Douglas. It is within the realms of possibility that he paces his manor each night, wondering why he can’t talk to the boxers.”

    This made the article worthwhile.

  8. The Tupper says:

    My fellow correspondents, a brief ‘Word To the Wise’:

    Place your wagers on the Coloured fellow.

  9. Perjoss says:

    I remember the good old days when it was perfectly normal to have a few pints and then after a disagreement or 2 end up in a bit of a punch up. Worst that would happen is a lost tooth and some bruising, but you’d easily live to drink and fight another day. These days people are afraid to take a punch on the chin and just carry knives instead :(

    come to think of it i can easily compare this to the ultra combo system of SFIV on the 3DS, where instead of quarter-circling the stick twice and hitting all three punch buttons, now all you have to do is tap the screen…

    dumbed down indeed!

  10. Soon says:

    Of course, he then went on a quite mad rampage. Knocking out the gentlemen referee to steal his fine hat, then killing twenty and seven spectators before the bobbies arrived to apprehend him. My young lad and I were covered in blood as we raised a cheer for each man that fell to the cobblestones. Was a fine day.

  11. The Tupper says:

    Truth be told, I’m rather enchanted with these ‘punching gloves’ as I believe they’re to be named.

    Allows a chap to properly grapple without too much scratching. One can really get one’s arms right round the other fellow in a manly embrace.

    • Sarlix says:

      Enchanted you may be, Sir. But these ‘punching gloves’ can make a single fight run for an unfathomable 12 rounds. Gone will be the quick and exhilarating 1 or 2 rounds of fisticuffs, allowing the the finer Gentleman to retire back to the Diogenes Club in good speed. If you want to spend the better part of an hour watching a ‘manly embrace’ I suggest you start to associated yourself with the street urchins and vagabonds that often adorn the back street clubs of ill repute. I bid you a good day, Sir.

    • The Tupper says:

      Mr Sarlix:

      In your haste to cast aspersions on my hitherto-unquestioned moral standing, you ignored one vital facet: I ALREADY spend many…many…evenings in the ‘lesser travelled’ parts of both Whitechapel and Clerkenwell. I see it as my task to give a helping hand, as it were, to the many young ruffians and twinkle-eyed tearaways who, but for the want of a shiny new bob, would charm the wings off an angel.

  12. Al Ewing says:

    Balderdash and trumpery!

    Why, only yesterday I myself enjoyed a fight with one gross of able-bodied men, a fight I had previously set to ‘very hard’ mode by encouraging my fellow combatants to punch me very hard. Naturally, I won the day, for my skill at fisticuffs is comm3ndable.

    To those weaklings who are incapable of following my example and desire to have the sport of fighting remade to resemble nothing so much as the novelty india-rubber-tipped sword-canes popularised by the proud firm of Nerf & Sons, I simply say: learn to play, sirs! Learn to play!

    • The Tupper says:

      Mr Ewing.
      I commend you not only on your pugilistic prowess, but also your logographic and lexicological lucidity. Perhaps, once my gout clears up, we could have a manly square up together?
      I imagine the sight of your oiled pectoralis majoris and, no doubt, slender thighs glistening in the fading sunlight of a warm summer’s afternoon would be quite the thing.

    • Sarlix says:

      My above suspicion seems to have been well directed Mr Tupper. It seems you are less interested in physical violence than rather embracing your fellow man in acts of vulgarity. I would advice Mr Ewing to not oblige you in any sort of ‘square up’ lest he be stricken and taken advantage of.

    • Al Ewing says:

      Such talk, sir, will only elicit one response from me, that being to laugh out loud and liken you, using the language of the working classes, to a cigarette. Furthermore, sir, I plan to pen said rejoinder entirely in the upper case.

    • The Tupper says:

      Gad! The sheer calumny!

      The damn swine near called me a pansy!

      I, sir, have been traduced and hereby DEMAND satisfaction.
      Meet me on Hampstead Heath, tonight at sundown. Marquess of Queensbury rules bedamned! Instead, bare torsos and Grecian thongs shall be the attire, as advocated by the classicists.
      No seconds.

    • Al Ewing says:

      Sir, I decline your invitation to fisticuffs, for while you are obviously new to the fistic arts you have nonetheless racked up a suspicious order of victories – including against foes who thought themselves hidden safely behind waist-high fences and thus immune from assault.

      You have clearly made recent purchase of a mechanical punching-aid from J.P. Aimbot & Co., in contravention of all common decency. Shame, sir! Shame!

  13. Guerr3ro says:

    Fucking casuals ruining fighting.

  14. Alex Bakke says:

    My research has led me to believe that the previously-honourable act of boxing is being dumbed down because of piracy on the barbary coast.

    But of what importance does piracy near the African continent have on rugged fist-skirmishes’ I hear you ask? A study recently published by the Daily Mail has reported that 95% of all 4 people in the room at the time polled believed that Bareknuckle boxing was heretofore inherently more dangerous than piracy (Leading to the popular phrase “Piracy is much easier than dental costs following a lost argument with another gentleman’s fist, international busy-bodies be damned!”), and thus began the steady brain-drain (As opposed to the sudden brain drain, previously only witnessed in fights of the very strongest) of promising boxers.

    Piracy is now being considered by the book-men as a ‘lost boxing opportunity’, despite many fine wordsmiths (Such as Johannes Strider and Quentin Smythe) showing the world that this is not the case.

    Cads and bounders, the lot of them.

    • magichicken says:

      Ah, but should the Marquess of Queensberry be uncompensated for his laborious work? Imagine, good sir, that a Barbary pirate would have the gall to copy a fine English boxing match. Then suppose he share it with fellow knaves? The creator would reap no benefit and be deprived his just income, while good-standing gentlemen would be blamed for the improper dissemination.

  15. Sirbolt says:

    Modern boxing gloves are indeed manufactured to protect the braincases of the pugilists and make for some quite silly matches lasting much longer than would be necessary if they were smaller. They thus increase the jolting of the brain leading to more damage in the long run. If you would compare those to the gloves used in the mixed martial arts you’d see quite the difference, i assure you.

  16. The Army of None says:

    What manner of weak willed men would want TALKING in their fighting sports?

  17. TheFatDM says:

    It may be a slow week for gaming news, but it’s a good week to display the reasons why RPS is being read.

  18. Pijama says:

    The Royal Dragoons? PAH. Bunch of PANSIES.

    The Royal Artillery at least gets free whisky!

    • Tssha says:

      That could explain their aim during the Crimean war. I say good fellows, the enemy is a bit further ahead!

  19. Stranglove says:

    Could one not see this as an advance towards more civilised disputes between gentlemen? Are us British not at the forefront of modern civilisation, do we not dictate what is good and proper in the grand realm of the British empire, setting the bar upon which other, lesser powers attempt to build on? Surely this civilised form of such a barbaric sport is only proper for such a majestic empire?

    My personal opinion is that only rogues and vagabonds are likely to stick to the old regulations of ‘proper’ boxing, wheras Queensberry’s rules will be the ones on which sporting and fair boxing will be built. The possibilities of modern boxing can only be expanded further by these marvellous rules and regulations. Mark my word, this is the dawn of a new era of sport.

    Naturally, urchin baiting is still the greatest sport known to mankind, but boxing is by far superior to other forms of entertainment, and I can only see this as an advancement towards a more exciting and profitable sport!

    In other news, It has come to my attention that the Japanese empire has adopted the Gregorian calender, a step towards a more civilised nature of these barbaric brutes?

    • Daiv says:

      I do believe Queensbury intends for his “Rules” to apply only to gentlemen. The common-folk can and should still dash out each others’ head-milk with their fists.
      I hope he turns his fine mind to the noble sport of urchin-baiting, though. I have quite a fine stable of urchins which I keep starved and lean to make their humors vigorous. A leech a day is a fine method for preventing the build-up of vapours in their blood.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Hear hear sir, I dare say that we as civilized men of God ought to be promoting Mr. Queensburys more genteel discourse of fisticuffs amongst the Gentry. The good book teaches us that the body is a temple, and as obedient children of God it is our duty to be stewards of that most readily disturbed shrine. It is for this purpose I consume a draught of laudanum thrice daily to support the intestinals.

      Naturally, stovepiping some hirsuite porter in a backalley is all good fun and should be encouraged, but for true gentlemens boxing I believe Queensbury has the right rub.

      Friar John P. Popperton

  20. jrod says:

    Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is where its at… and it keeps me from catching a severe case of gamer’s ass

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Sir, an Art whose whole existence is bent toward the cuddling of one opponent until he gives up may hardly be called an Art at all.

  21. Outright Villainy says:

    I for one, am most outrageously appalled at these newfangled “rules” of which you speak. Where will the variety go in our most noble of pastimes? Surely all fights will now be the same!

    And enclosing all bouts of fisticuffs to a quadrangled ring? What fun is the same location over and over? Why, in my day, I’d fight among alien invaders, noble foxes of whom could speak our tongue, and even a moustachioed man who could leap 5 times his height in a single bound, and would literally crush a man with his heel by falling on him from a great height!

    Though perhaps these odd visions were a result of the strange mushrooms this moustachioed man gave me…

  22. Daiv says:

    Was this the first known example of encoloning?

    The sequel to Boxing should be Boxing 2, not Boxing: Marquess of Queensbury Rules.

    • Grygus says:

      I think it was beaten to the punch by such examples as:

      Troy X: Equus: The Final Chapter
      Socrates 2: Plato Rising
      Rome .6K: Constantinople

    • Fwiffo says:

      I do gladly fear for a time that permits such brazen use of numerals in nomenclature!

      I do believe a derivative work would be entitled Boxing the Second.

  23. Mman says:

    Who cares? Boxing was nothing but a tech-demo anyway.

  24. Binman88 says:

    I didn’t know Freddie Mercury boxed!

  25. Gazanator101 says:

    I’m from the East End, so bring it on Quinns. You can throw the first punch if you like.

  26. jymkata says:

    I’m not at all certain about this new ‘boxing’ to do, but I hear that Queensberry’s son, Alfred Douglas (Bosie to his friends) is a rather dishy gent.

  27. oceanclub says:

    Fetch me my trousers at once! No, not those. Those are my time travel trousers.
    No, those are my tea trousers That’s it! Those ones. My fighting trousers!

  28. Starky says:


  29. pipman3000 says:

    fighting has always been dumbed down since they banned knives.

    you can’t even eat parts of your opponent any more!

  30. Dawngreeter says:

    This is all happening because of piracy.

  31. Wixard says:

    I have spotted the gentleman on the left who does not engage as the others in digesting the spectacle of combat!

    It would be most unfortunate to comment upon the mans backside who stands just to the right.

  32. Jason Moyer says:

    Good sirs, I dare say the respected gentleman has indeed telegraphed this one in, rightly so.

  33. Antsy says:

    By Gad this is rum! I recall one of my regiments Colour Sergeants . He would stand in the middle of Lahore and punch natives for fifteen hours at a stretch! I cannot believe the blighters would have had one ounce of respect for the man if he’d had to soften his blows with confounded gloves. Bloody outrageous! I imagine they will now expect our erstwhile schoolboys to tickle the new boys rather than administer the sound beatings they deserve.

    This will be the end of the empire I tell you. THE END! Now….wheres my brandy?

  34. Schmung says:

    The RPS comments should henceforth (for the good of the inter tubes) be conducted entirely the hazily remembered style of the late 19th century thus elevating all discourse on gaming to a right and proper level as befitting such a noble art.

  35. Bob says:

    Hey! I thought the first rule of Fight Club was…..
    There’s obviously a boxer rebellion happening here.

  36. Quaib says:

    Ass? It seems that even amongst the most esteemed publications and gentlemen the devilish influence of the wild English who do not bow to the Queen of the Northern Americas penetrates.
    I must raise my voice in clamourous complaint, gentlemen. I urge you not to fall prey to these filthy barbarians from across the seas who fancy themselves a civilisation, and even to have a higher claim on the English tongue than the scholars of Oxford, the Queen, and the English people!