The ring announcer, all dolled up in his formal wear, introduces a welcome dignity to the proceedings. Soon enough desperate men will be blowing snot and blood across the ring, but for now, there is the civilized presence of a gentleman, refined not just in dress but also in speech. "Ladies and gentlemen," he intones, likely in a musical baritone but possibly in a rumbling basso profundo, "in this corner, wearing the blue trunks, from Ti-a-juana....
"He shoots his cuffs just so (the links sparkle under the lights) and indicates the somewhat less-adorned fighter. And he then pronounces the happy fighter's name as if paid by the syllable. It is impossible, in that moment, not to admire the diction, the calm, the shine of his shoes. What would boxing be without the comparative humanity of the ring announcer? It would be unrestrained barbarity, that's what! He bookends the violence with his impassive calm, gentility to spare, as if to reassure: Don't worry, this convulsion of brutishness notwithstanding, a higher culture governs us all. Perhaps someday, sufficiently evolved, we'll all wear tuxedos and speak in perfect sentences.
When did boxing become burlesque? The idea that two men suffering toward extinction was not entertainment enough—when did that come up? We need top-heavy girls tottering around on six-inch heels (and carrying, only incidentally, a ring card), to make it a real evening? To keep our attention during that critical one minute between rounds? Because, what, we'd expire of boredom? Why confuse the lust for blood sport with any other? Isn't it enough that two men are going at it, life and death? Does a swimwear parade really add to that? Or could we somehow use that minute (just one minute, for God's sake!) between rounds to try and make sense of what we've just seen?