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Old 06-16-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
The Funny Man 7
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Default Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

We often focus on the physical wounds that boxers suffer during their careers and after retirement. But the sport clearly takes a major phsychological toll, not just getting punched, but also the money woes, the pressures of fame, fear of losing, being abandoned by fans, and lust for long gone glory. Who were some fighters who lost their mental health to boxing?

I recall reading that Ad Wolgast spent the last decade of his life thinking he was training for a bout with Joe Gans, something like twenty years after Gans had passed away.

Terry McGovern suffered about a dozen differant nervous breakdowns, including several violent episodes directed at his family.

I met Gerry Cooney at the IBHOF. I'm glad the guy has his money still becausse talking with him it was clear that the guy has some kind of awful inferiority complex/self esteem issues probably from a combination of his abusive father, the Holmes loss, and the unwanted pressure of being a 'white hope'.

Any others?
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

Machen
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

Cassius Clay appeared to be insane leading up to the first Liston fight.
It could have been an act, or maybe not.
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

Kid McCoy
Bruce Curry
Oliver McCall
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

I agree with your points about certain physical and/or psychological aspects of boxing possibly leading to mental illness. I think it's a great question. The types of mental illness caused by brain trauma and stress respectively will differ. Stress related disorders will generally be more treatable because with brain trauma there can be actual physical damage to the brain. By "more treatable" I mean more receptive to pharmaceutical interventions. The other thing to keep in mind is that mental illness appears in a certain percentage of the population. To find out if boxers are more prone to mental illness, a study could determine if that percentage is higher in boxers than it is in the general population.
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

Frank Bruno has had issues with mental illness. It may not be totally boxing related, but I cannot help but think, boxing has not helped his mental well being.

Sadly in recent times we have lost Tapia and Arguello due to the illness. Tapia's was not caused by boxing, indeed the sport may of helped his mental health, but Arguello's probably was related to his participation in the sport.

Mr President also had well known mental problems.
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

Ike is a great shout, because in retrospect it seems obvious that the Tua bout took him to a very dark place, which exacerbated a what looked like a predisposition to bipolar or something.
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Funny Man 7 View Post
We often focus on the physical wounds that boxers suffer during their careers and after retirement. But the sport clearly takes a major phsychological toll, not just getting punched, but also the money woes, the pressures of fame, fear of losing, being abandoned by fans, and lust for long gone glory. Who were some fighters who lost their mental health to boxing?

I recall reading that Ad Wolgast spent the last decade of his life thinking he was training for a bout with Joe Gans, something like twenty years after Gans had passed away.

Terry McGovern suffered about a dozen differant nervous breakdowns, including several violent episodes directed at his family.

I met Gerry Cooney at the IBHOF. I'm glad the guy has his money still becausse talking with him it was clear that the guy has some kind of awful inferiority complex/self esteem issues probably from a combination of his abusive father, the Holmes loss, and the unwanted pressure of being a 'white hope'.

Any others?
According 2 yourself Gerry Cooney is surprisingly mentally healthy , he is being realistic about himself .
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

the effects of brain injury on mental health in general are ridiculous. curious where this thread takes us...
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Funny Man 7 View Post
We often focus on the physical wounds that boxers suffer during their careers and after retirement. But the sport clearly takes a major phsychological toll, not just getting punched, but also the money woes, the pressures of fame, fear of losing, being abandoned by fans, and lust for long gone glory. Who were some fighters who lost their mental health to boxing?

I recall reading that Ad Wolgast spent the last decade of his life thinking he was training for a bout with Joe Gans, something like twenty years after Gans had passed away.

Terry McGovern suffered about a dozen differant nervous breakdowns, including several violent episodes directed at his family.

I met Gerry Cooney at the IBHOF. I'm glad the guy has his money still becausse talking with him it was clear that the guy has some kind of awful inferiority complex/self esteem issues probably from a combination of his abusive father, the Holmes loss, and the unwanted pressure of being a 'white hope'.

Any others?
Ad Wolgast is a good shout (think the Eagles song 'Hotel California' was about the mental institution he lived out his life in) - plus Battling Nelson went the same - quite poignant when you think about the torture they went through together in the ring - (can anyone confirm whether they were in the same institution together? A friend of mine thought he'd read that somewhere but I think he's wrong?).

Another one was Johnny Honey Boy Bratton crushingly sad story his

Oh and Kirkland Laing is in a secure place now I think
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

Yeah Johnny Bratton that's another tragedy. Damn shame.

I think we need to face the fact that we're all here because we watch and truly love a sport which often inflicts irrevocable damage to even its greatest practicioners.

Joe Louis is another example. It was his drug abuse but also the pressure of his reign as champion which took him to that ugly place. I have an old Nat Fleischer RIng encyclopedia where Ray Arcel makes a moving description of how the fearful fact that somewhere, someday would come to wrest away his title stuck with him after his prime and contributed to his mental decline.
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

Randy Turpin too; in a tragic death, thankfully his daughter survived.
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

Edwin Valero was clearly psychotic probably caused by his brain injury after that motorcycle accident.
Oliver Mcall was ill.
Frank Bruno was/is also ill.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:26 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

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Originally Posted by orriray59 View Post
Louis is a great shout. He thought that the government was constantly trying to get him. Sad, really sad.
He may have been right. The conduct of the IRS in Joe's case was outrageous.


Mike Tyson had to have mental problems.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:39 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cases of Mental Illness in Boxers?

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Originally Posted by TBooze View Post
Frank Bruno has had issues with mental illness. It may not be totally boxing related, but I cannot help but think, boxing has not helped his mental well being.

Sadly in recent times we have lost Tapia and Arguello due to the illness. Tapia's was not caused by boxing, indeed the sport may of helped his mental health, but Arguello's probably was related to his participation in the sport.

Mr President also had well known mental problems.


arguello was assasinated wasnt he?
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