LAST week Kick-off had the pleasure of sitting ringside to watch Tim Tszyu's bout with tough fighting Irishman Dennis Hogan in Newcastle.
Like just about every one of Tszyu's previous bouts, Hogan was tipped to be his biggest challenge yet. Once again, as he's making a habit of doing, the world title-bound gun made it look easy.
So easy, Hogan's cornerman Stephen Edwards threw in the towel with their man still on his feet, but not for long. What was interesting to hear was the discussion around it.
In years not too long ago, it may have been decried as an "early stoppage" or accompanied by all that outdated warrior code "let him go out on his shield" rhetoric. It's typically from people who've never been in a fighter's corner and, certainly, never in a ring.
In a story that did the rounds afterwards, it was clear Edwards feared that backlash. He went and asked trusted voices if he'd done the right thing. The verdict was unanimous - yes.
He saw what Jeff Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton failed to see in his fighter's bout with Tsyzu in September last year. He couldn't see what the rest of us could - it ceases to be a fight when it's no longer competitive.
The balance between barbarism and humanity in a sport whose primary goal is to seperate a rival from his consciousness is a difficult one to strike.
The discussion following that stoppage indicated that there is a greater understanding of the line between admiring a fighter's willingness to engage in the brutality and simply using them up in the interests of our own bloodlust.
In the past people may have expected Hogan to go out on his shield. These days, we are happier to see him walk out on his own two feet.
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It very much applies to rugby league - as brutal a game as it gets. Unlike boxing, the rules don't dictate it be so, but it is. It's what we all need to understand as the conversation around concussion evolves in our game.
The general ''we need to take more precautions'' approach was easy enough to swallow in the beginning.
It was a positive leap from the old days of your columnist's youth where montages of players with the 'wobbly boot on' were played over three stooges music. It's not a criticism, we just didn't know then what we do now.
The challenge is when it confronts us and asks us to surrender aspects of the game we love. Kick-off was among the many who decried the ban of the shoulder charge, 'game's going soft' and all the rest.
We don't miss it now. A look back through YouTube clips and you wonder how we didn't see it for what it was then. I guess we just didn't know what we do now.
On the weekend viewers, commentators, fellow players ... we all cringed and wondered how on earth Lachlan Lewis was allowed to stay on the park after he was knocked senseless against the Rabbitohs.
We'll give the trainer concerned the benefit of the doubt, perhaps hope he wasn't privy to the view we all had of it. But the discussions show we're talking it more seriously.
In the end that's not much to ask of ourselves.
It becomes more confronting for us when we see players like Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner, still young in relative terms, wrestling with retirement over repeated head knocks. When more of our favourite players retire young - in big games, Origins and grand finals - when our pet players are brought from the park and take no further part because we're taking it seriously.
You'd better believe as we learn more and more about concussion, rules and approaches will change like they did with the shoulder charge.
There's every chance more things we love about the game will be taken from us. But, when you look at what players put themselves through every week for our entertainment, we already take more than enough as it is.