Friday, September 23, 2011

Saving the Sweet Science

If you're interested, and you should be, you might try this little Friday afternoon diversion by Paul Beston on the history, recently sad plight, and dubious future of boxing in America.

Growing up I was a boxing fan, inheriting that interest from my father who came of age during Joe Louis's reign.  He maintained throughout his life that Louis, not Ali, never Ali, was the real "Greatest".  (I very respectfully disagreed.)  Significantly, my father's enthusiasm for the sport wasn't a result of being reared in the big city, nor a sympathy borne of a shared ethnicity with any particular fighter.  He, like most Americans then, just knew who the big-name boxers were, even if they knew little about boxing itself.  From the 1920s until the 1950s, boxing shared its otherwise monopoly of America's sporting attention with baseball alone.  Every real American, fan or not, simply knew who the all-star ballplayers were.  So much so, in fact, that, as we've seen in countless films, knowledge of a player was one sure way to test whether the strange fellow wandering along the front line in Europe was an genuine G.I. Joe or a German imposter.  So it was with boxers as well.

Anyway, whither boxing?

Who knows?  But I, for one, am routing for a comeback.

Kinda like the one I'm hoping for the country itslef.

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