Now Entering the Ring: Marc J. Kahn, MD, MBA

Peterman-Prosser Professor of Medicine in the Section of Hematology/Medical Oncology at Tulane University School of Medicine

When did your interest in boxing start?

I have followed the sport since I was a kid. I would watch the Gillette Friday Night Fights on a small black-and-white TV with my dad. I started boxing in a gym about three years ago.

How often do you train?

I go to the gym to box about three or four times a week. I took a few lessons to get started, but I mainly learned from the folks at the gym.

The gym where I box is really a “down-and-dirty” place with no running water, heating, or air conditioning. All types of men and women
work out in the gym, so it represents a nice cross section of the people of New Orleans. When I first started, a rather intimidating man with obvious prison tattoos approached me. Turns out, he wanted to help me throw my right, telling me that my right “was looking pretty
ridiculous!”

What drew you to boxing? Do you participate in any other sports?

Boxing is one of the original “blood sports,” and there is no greater show of human strength and vitality. Boxing is pure in strength and human form and represents mankind’s oldest forms of competition. I don’t like kickboxing and ultimate fighting because they lack the
finesse and style of the classic sport.

I do participate in other sports. About 14 years ago, I was morbidly obese and made the decision to start running. After losing 80 pounds and completing six marathons, I switched to cycling because of hip pain. I now ride about 100 miles a week and try to get on a bike every day.

I’ve learned many lessons from boxing – besides the obvious! For one, in boxing, you are your most vulnerable when you are on the offensive. When you throw a punch, you are no longer protecting yourself – making you vulnerable. The same is true in life, and I think, as a result of my time boxing, I’ve since become more restrained in my interactions with others.

Another lesson is that, although boxing looks easy, it is actually quite complicated. Throwing a good uppercut involves body movement akin to ballet. Timing, dexterity, quickness, and precision are all part of the sport. Also, boxing is an amazingly efficient exercise. Eight rounds with a heavy bag burns more than 300 calories! Three minutes (the standard time for a round of boxing) is a long time in the ring.

Of course, boxing is also a great stress-reliever; there is nothing like hitting something to relieve stress.

Any plans to go pro? 

Only as a hematologist! My motto is: “Never hit something that hits back.”

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