SBD/13/Sports Society

BOXING WORLD REACTS TO NEWS OF HIV POSITIVE TOMMY MORRISON

     The news that heavyweight Tommy Morrison has tested HIV
positive has the boxing world taking a look at the way the
disease -- and other medical issues -- are handled.
     MEDICAL WARNINGS:  Dr. Russell Stumacher, Chief of
Infectious Disease at Philadelphia's Graduate Hospital, said
because of the amount of bleeding and close contact, the chances
of transmitting HIV in boxing is "significantly greater" than in
other sports like basketball, and said even front-row boxing
patrons could be at risk ("SportsCenter, ESPN, 2/12).  Dr.
Jonathan Zenilman, of Johns Hopkins, notes there is no data
available on the transmission of the virus in an athletic
setting.  But he added, "Boxing creates a problem because there's
so much blood splashing about."  Morrison was tested before a
fight in NV, the only major boxing state that requires an HIV
test.  Testing is required nationwide in Britain.  NJ State
Boxing Commissioner Larry Hazzard said yesterday, while he is
forbidden to test boxers under the state's confidentiality laws,
he started the practice some years ago of requiring refs and
cornermen to wear rubber gloves (Gerald Eskenazi, N.Y. TIMES,
2/13).  OR, WA and AZ are the other states requiring testing
(WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/13).  CA Athletic Commission Chair Bill
Eastman said he has been trying to get legislation passed for
three years requiring HIV tests, but "every time it comes up, the
politicians scatter like cockroaches under a light" (L.A. TIMES,
2/13).  In Boston, Richard Knox notes boxing commissions can
require pre-match HIV tests for pros, but that does not address
the risks to sparring outside official matches or to amateurs
(BOSTON GLOBE, 2/13).
     RING REAX:  Bob Arum:  "Certain groups, like for example the
gay rights groups, would oppose testing in boxing for fighters
for the HIV virus.  That's insane"  ("Sports Tonight," CNN,
2/12).  George Foreman, citing "lifestyles" as a reason HIV could
spread in boxing:  "The ring is safe, really.  But it's what's
going on outside the ring that we have to make safer"
("SportsCenter," 2/12).
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