What is the Toughest Sport to Play?

Ask any athlete, weekender or pro, which sport requires the most overall skill and talent to play and you would get many different answers. It depends on the mix of "skills" used in the comparison. Are we talking raw physical skills like speed and power, technical skills like throwing and catching or mental skills like determination and nerve? The debate could be endless, as there would be apples to oranges comparisons, but its worth a look. ESPN, of all people, took this challenge head-on and actually put together a reasonable survey of experts, (OK, some of whom were ESPN'ers), to rank the 60 sports along 10 different criteria. Check it out at the ESPN site here .
The surprising result was that boxing, the sweet science, ranked number one, edging out hockey but comfortably ahead of football and basketball. Again, the analysis is across all 10 variables, and boxing scored in the top 5 in five different categories: Endurance, Strength, Power, Nerve and Durability. Of course, boxing ranks low in Speed, Agility and Flexibility. But, I know my reaction to boxing's top spot was probably similar to most others: Two strong guys bashing each other until they drop to the ground or until its over, which then would be decided by judges on who did the most bashing. In other words, I don't have the proper respect for the sport that apparently I should.
What really intrigues me about these rankings are the categories themselves and the ability to sort the list of sports by each category. There are the "brainy sports", hockey, auto racing(!) and soccer, rated high in Analytic Aptitude. Baseball and tennis score high in the "technical skill" of Hand-Eye Coordination. In the "positive mental state" group are those sports that score high in Endurance, Durability, and what the survey calls Nerve, or the ability to overcome fear. Sports high in this group include the "long distance" sports of cycling, running and swimming; the "tough guy" sports of boxing, football, hockey and rugby; and the "no fear" sports of auto racing, rodeo, alpine skiing and boxing.
Take a look at the table they have listed. Its fun to sort on different columns and then think through the logic. Let me know if you agree or disagree with the "experts"!