You have to feel a bit sorry for Amir Khan. For years – since Breidis Prescott – he’s been labeled ‘chinny’. Last night’s tribulations against Danny Garcia, however, clearly had little to do with his ‘chin’ as such. Garcia’s decisive punch was to the neck – and almost certainly triggered a vasovagal episode. Nasty little things they are too. They can also be triggered by a punch to the jaw that whips the head around violently – hence ‘chinny’. Strengthening of one’s neck muscles can, to a limited extent, mitigate this sort of episode.

But a straight punch, or an uppercut, to the jaw – would that trigger the same sort of reaction? I don’t know the answer (and if anyone reading this blog does, I would appreciate their letting me know).

The only time I’ve been clearly knocked out cold was in rugby, courtesy of a blow that, subsequent evidence (a relocation of the facial feature in question) suggested, was to my nose. The instrument of my downfall here was not a fist but someone’s head. But there’s no reason to suppose that a punch could not have been as hard. I doubt there was a vasovagal episode involved in this case (but still guessing), and if that is right, then a knockout blow can, as we philosophers put it, clearly be ‘multiply realized’

At issue here is the age old philosophical question that's surely been on everyone's lips since last night's fourth round in Vegas: Is ‘chinny’ a natural kind? I suspect not.

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