3 Fixed fights are
a treasured part of the mythology of boxing. Mendoza's statement, made in 1823
and quoted in Pierce Egan's Art of Self-Defense (1845), reads: "The present
practice of making all boxing matches indiscriminately for very large sums of
money is one of the primary causes of the frauds now universally prevalent, for
such is the present degraded state of the pugilistic art that scarcely ever is
there a battle fairly fought; and for the last ten years there have not been
ten honest fights."
4 I would not care
to see that one, in any case. All true connoisseurs know that matching two
Dutchmen makes for a very slow night.
5 This was
possible because, as Egan observed: "The deficiency of strength may be
greatly supplied with art, but the want of art will have but heavy and unwieldy
succour from strength." I have always thought it would be fine to have this
embroidered on a sampler and hung in my study, but I cannot even get my wife to
sew buttons on my shirts. I must be wanting in art.
6 Daley's attitude
toward brutality is ambiguous. In this same column he also expressed regret
that we no longer have heavyweights of Dempsey's caliber around today, and I
got the impression that he was less disturbed by the brutality than by the
inelegant way it is now inflicted.
examples who live in such a salubrious clime did not strengthen Brinkley's case
for their deprivation, but it must have made his study of it much more
8 Mr. Fleischer's
statistics are beyond question. He is to boxing what the librarian of Congress,
the director of the Smithsonian and Walter Lippmann are to the nation.
9 Stepin Fetchit
later regained some of his physical and financial health. He was given a job as
an adviser to Muhammad Ali.
10 Namath is also
said to enjoy the pleasure of women. This is apparently remarkable for a
football player, judging by the amount of comment it engenders. Boxers have
been known to take such recreation in quantity.
11 The word
"probably" is to a journalist what a protective cup is to a boxer. If
he is attacked for the statement, the journalist may clutch his qualifier and
groan he was fouled.
12 Pierce Egan's
Art of Self-Defense makes it clear that the devotion to boxing of England's
upper classes in the early 19th century went beyond mere patronage—they became
participants: "In [ John Jackson's rooms in Old Bond Street] might be daily
witnessed some of our most celebrated lawyers, enlightened statesmen, impartial
judges, immense landowners, etc., etc., unbending from their various vocations
in society, putting on the gloves with one another, giving hit for hit,
imbibing additional courage from every blow." If the fashion were the same
today, we might be treated to such bouts as Ramsey Clark vs. John Mitchell,
Kunstler vs. Julius Hoffman, Bella Abzug vs. Strom Thurmond, Vidal vs. Buckley
or Averell Harriman vs. H. L. Hunt. Now that would revive boxing!