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October 10, 1986

Boxing, Personal Freedom and the Right of Lions to Christians-Reply

Author Affiliations

The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center

JAMA. 1986;256(14):1895. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380140065020

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In Reply.—  The position of John Stuart Mill that the state should only interfere in the activities of consenting adults when they pose a threat of harm to an innocent victim is an extreme position in that it would seem to justify such things as duels to the death. However, nowadays dueling with pistols has been outlawed, and dueling with swords has been reduced to fencing with blunted weapons and adequate defensive padding on the participants.Mill's position, restated in the context of our times, might be that the state should only resort to banning the activities of an adult when there is no other way to reduce to acceptable levels the risk of serious injury or death to someone else.In the case of boxing, I believe that the sport can be made sufficiently safe by appropriate regulation, including periodic medical examination of the participants as is currently being