In the beginning

For nearly 50 years, actor Charles Bronson was the classic cinematic tough guy. He’ll probably always be one of my favorite actors and I was truly sad to learn he passed away in August of 2003. I grew up watching his movies; The Mechanic, Mr. Majestyk, Breakheart Pass, and of course Death Wish. Probably one of his best movies though was Hard Times (1975) which fictionally chronicles a strong and silent bareknuckle fighter’s life and his quest to fight the best and find the big money. Set in the depression, this movie gave us a glimpse into the bareknuckle, no-holds-barred, street fighting bouts of days gone by.

Boxing as a sport dates back 4-5000 years, but was much different from the boxing we have come to know and makes present day boxing seem tame in comparison. Added to the Olympics in 688 BC, a boxer’s only protection was strips of soft ox-hide wrapped around the hand. The strips, called himantes, were about ten to twelve feet in length. The fingertips and thumb were uncovered, the knuckle portion had layers of hard and sharp leather added to make the blows more devastating, and the inside used wool to protect the hand. The Roman invention of the caestus, a boxing glove reinforced with iron and lead, transformed the Greek art of boxing into an even more vicious battle. There were no time limits in these bouts and fights ended by submission or death. Often held in outdoor, makeshift stadiums, fighters would jockey for position to lead their opponents into the glare of the sun, thereby blinding them and rendering them defenseless for the moment.

In order to prevent contests from reaching inane lengths of time, fighters were given the option of klimax. The combatants would take turns remaining motionless and striking each other. A winner was declared when one of the fighters made his opponent admit defeat or rendered him incapable of continuing.

In 393 or 394 A.D. the Greek Olympics were abolished and boxing continued mainly in street fights and cultural events with the last man standing declared the winner. Occasionally iron spikes or some other ghastly device designed to mutilate, blind or kill the opponent were added. In parts of Southeast Asia, fighters would dip their wrapped hands in resin and then dip them in ground glass for maximum effect and punishment. The sport was brutal by any standard; moreover, fighters were in fact gladiators.

Pre-Queensberry era

Boxing began it’s transformation in the early 1700s when the first recognized boxing champion, Englishman James Figg, opened the “School of Arms and Self Defense” in London, England. Figg changed the sport from one which used punching, wrestling and kicking (know as purring) to one which relied solely on punching skill. At the time, there were no weight restrictions or divisions, no gloves, no set number of rounds, no specified length to the rounds and no rest periods.

In 1743 Jack Broughton, a student of James Figg and known as the “the father of English boxing,” implemented the use of his Broughton Rules which soon caught on and became the standard for all bouts. Each round would end when a fighter was knocked down or out of the ring and a fight ended when one combatant was unable to rise from a knockdown within 30 seconds. Fights could end by knockout, capitulation or police intervention. These rules remained in play until 1839 when the London Prize Ring Rules introduced the use of a 24 square-foot boxing ring with ropes surrounding it. Also known as the “Pugilistic Benevolent Society” this was to mark the end of the days when spectators formed a “ring” around the fighters. Kicking, gouging, biting, head butting and punches below the belt were all forbidden and a fighter who was knocked down was required to rise under his own power within 8 seconds.

Queensberry rules

In 1867, British sports administrator John Graham Chambers (1841-1883) codified the Marquess of Queensberry rules, which paved the way for modern boxing. These rules called for three-minute rounds with a one-minute break and required the boxers to wear padded gloves or mufflers. If a man took a knee, he was not to be hit, and if he were knocked down, he would then have 10 seconds to stand up. A 3-foot square in the center of the ring was drawn and when a fighter was knocked down, his handlers had 30 seconds to pick him up and position him on one side of the square ready to reenter the fray. If they failed to revive him or the fighter surrendered, the fight would then be over.

The first prizefight using these rules was in 1885 and was between Dominick McCafferty and the man who was to be the last bareknuckle champion, John L. Sullivan. Gentleman Jim Corbett then defeated Sullivan in 1892 to become the first champion under the Marquess of Queensberry rules. In past centuries, gun battles, swords and knives were used in duels to settle disputes. Boxing soon became the favored method of resolving differences and boxing clubs, gyms and promotions sprung up around the U.S. and England. Young men were urged to “step into the ring and work it out,” and the sport slowly gained popularity around the world.

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The scheduled title fight between WBA featherweight champion Chris John and former champion Rafael Marquez has been postponed due to an ankle injury suffered by the champion. The injury was suffered while doing roadwork and aggravated the previously injured ankle. The bout had been scheduled to take place in Indonesia on December 9; the new date will now be determined by the WBA after reviewing the medical information.

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November 19, 2005 – Carlos P. Garcia Sports Complex, Tagbilaran City
Rey Bautista TKO2 Obote Ameme
WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight Title

November 19, 2005 – Tokyo, Japan
Malcolm Tunacao UD12 Kumarnthorng Poh Pluemkamol

November 18, 2005 – Hua Hin, Thailand
Terapong Kaewnongsamed MD12 Dante Cantiga

Terapong fought from round two on with a dislocated shoulder. He is now scheduled to face Rafael Marquez in for the IBF Bantamweight Championship. Kaewnongsamed is quick on his feet but look for Marquez to destroy the Thai once he catches up with him.

Bet the bank on Marquez.

November 17, 2005 – Chainart, Thailand
Suttisak Samaksaman UD12 Jun Paderna
PABA Super Featherweight Title

Yoddamrong Sithyodthong KO3 Omik Kolisaday

Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai UD6 Teofilo Tunacao

November 16, 2005 – Nakornthon Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
Saohin Srithai Condo TKO11 Almaz Assanov
PABA Featherweight Title