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Opinion: Is Fighting Being Dumbed Down?

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.

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About the Author
Quintin Smith avatar

Quintin Smith

Former Staff Writer

Quinns was one of the first writers to join Rock Paper Shotgun after its founding in 2007, and he stayed with the site until 2011 (though he carried on writing freelance articles well beyond that). These days, you can find him talking about tabletop board games over on Shut Up And Sit Down, or doing proper grown-up journalism with the folks at People Make Games.