A leading Catholic magazine has described professional boxing as "a legalised form of attempted homicide", driven by "cruel" businessmen.
The magazine describes the sport as a "bloody" game
The latest issue of Civilta Cattolica (Catholic Civilisation) says 500 boxers have died from injuries sustained in the ring over the past 100 years.
Its says boxers are treated by promoters "as money-making machines".
However, the magazine acknowledged that any move to ban the multimillion sport would be difficult.
"If the defeated boxer doesn't die in the days following the bout, he carries the signs of death on his body and face, and especially in his soul," said the six-page editorial in the Jesuit-run magazine.
"In boxing's jargon, he's 'punch drunk,'" it said.
The editorial goes on by describing professional boxing as "a bloody and mortal game of gladiators".
It says the sport "goes against the natural moral and divine principle of not killing".
The commentary follows the recent death of US fighter Levander Johnson of a brain haemorrhage, just days after a bout in September.
The magazine also deplores the public's fascination with a boxer's suffering "as merciless and inhuman".
The latest issue will hit news outlets on Saturday.
The magazine is published independently of the Vatican.