Color and Boxing

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I first became aware of the beauty of boxing in the mid-fifties. The "Friday Night Fights" sponsored by Gillette "Blue-Blades". My father and great-uncle made it a ritual: Dad chain smoking Luckies and drinking bourbon (straight, if you nancy boys were wondering) and my uncle smoking his pipe (Granger Rough-Cut) and sipping blackberry brandy. I was supposed to be in bed but would sneak downstairs and watch/hide from the doorway. What an exotic scene: a room full of smoke and the two grown men in my life watching a snowy black and white TV screen and yelling as the two men on the TV tried to fucking beat the shit out of each other.

It was a religious moment.

Back in those days of black white and shades of gray, the fighters were in the "light" or "dark" trunks that usually had their names in bold letters on the waistbands. It was the south then, when it was "did you see that nigger hit that white boy? Man, them niggers can box" Ingmar Johannsen was the hero but Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston came along and the white boys had to admit that those coons could pack a punch. And then came a guy named Clay who beat Liston and I was amazed that these white trash - I - hate - niggers types were actually upset. Maybe that was the beginning of the realization that niggers weren't all that bad; well, some of them - "not the uppity ones". Ah, those were the halcyon days of my youth.

I was watching the HBO fights tonight and remembered the professors early bit about the "fighter in the blue trunks with the whitish golden tassles and the fighter in the blue trunks with..." (or something like that) and the advent of color hit me over the head. My! How things used to be easier before color. Maybe TV should go back to black and white. Blood is just a really a really dark color. "Raging Bull" is a great work of art - the slo-mo of liquid squirting out of pummeled noses is just like the Friday Night Fights of my childhood.

What to do now? The boxers are from everywhere and every "race" but we have to be PC and not notice that one is a square-headed-retarded looking former commie russkie and the other is a cauliflower-eared, puffy eyed, white double-wide trailer trash from northern Maine. Now did you notice that I didn't mention the gook in the red corner and the mick in the blue corner?

1 Comment

My, my, this is a beautful little essay about the sweet science.

Watching a good fight satisfies some dark, primitive instinct, especially in the male of our species. Sure, the fight game is cruel, corrupt, barbaric, a veritable poster child for social injustice, bla bla bla. But when there's some of that good old violence on goddamnit don't touch the remote.

You know who doesn't get enough appreciation? The referee. Behold the referee: matter-of-fact, workmanlike, diligent, methodically circling the action, observing, intervening from time to time, all in the interest of Punching.

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This page contains a single entry by published on March 28, 2004 12:16 AM.

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