Originally Posted by Stonehands89
This may be a matter of follow-up. I think that more fighters back then were forgotten. 1930 (when some of the pioneers were getting up there in age) wasn't exactly the communication age and people then were preoccupied with more immediate concerns back then.
The simple fact of increasing life expectancy and advances in diagnostic technology may also be a factor in heightened awareness of these issues. I strongly suspect though, that the far more painfully damaging impact of smaller gloves, boxers who didn't wear mouthpieces, or headgear in training, or the fact that smaller gloves made bodypunching a more viable tactic, or the absence of protective cups in earlier days, all resulted in individual punches being far more potentially damaging and painful, automatically assuring the development of hypervigilant defensive habits, which in turn helped safeguard against the risk of developing significant brain damage.
Individual hard punches don't harm human neurology as much a steady accumulation of blows. When boxers are wearing headgear in training, mouthpieces, protective cups, and spar against others who are wearing oversized and softly padded pillows on their hands for gloves, then there will be a greater tendency to evolve the habit of merely accepting a punch, instead of committing to a dedicated effort to avoid getting hit, and you're not supposed to get hit!!!! If an aspiring boxer can't progress to the point where he can defend himself adequately in sparring, without wearing any of these accoutrements, and be tough enough to forego them successfully in sparring, then he probably shouldn't be allowed to compete. Boxing is not a glorified macho pillowfight. (At least not quite yet, despite the efforts of emasulating and malignant reformers to castrate the very essence of boxing.)