WE HAVE A WINNER: “Why We Accept Our Boxing Broken”

floydGentlemen and ladies, we give you the winning entry to our first contest of the boxing year 2012. Please enjoy this superb essay written by Alexis Terrazas, which was eloquent, thought provoking and contained incontestable truth and wisdom. Alexis, please send Fightwrite@gmail.com your address, so we can send out the cash prize.

Boxing has never pretended to be something it isn’t.

The fight game, since the days of the brutish bare-knuckler, has unashamedly basked in its flaws. It robs, cheats, lies and sometimes kills the very pugilists who spill the sport’s lifeblood. But we, the true fans of the fight, would never have it any other way.

There is much about professional fist fighting that is wrong or — for the apt sake of this essay — broken. Boxing, to sporting purists, can be infuriating by way of it making little to no sense. But Larry Merchant — the game’s finest monologist — phrased it best. Boxing is the “theater of the unexpected.”

Damn right.

In no other sport can a combatant so comprehensibly validate his physical superiority over a lesser man and still be declared the loser by a trio of judges. Robbing a man of a rightful win is one of boxing’s mortal sins. But likewise, in no other sport can a man be bested per every minute of every round and still emerge victorious by landing one devastating clout. To the game’s loyal fanatics, that is one of boxing’s greatest gifts.

Those who unconditionally support boxing love her despite all of her warts.

Boxing, as the headline of this work suggests, is broken. But there’s a reason for it. Many of the game’s celebrated heroes enter the sport as broken men. And these broken men sometimes exit boxing in better shape than they entered, and sometimes not.

Without this fistic fray, Matthew Saad Muhammad would have never risen above being a broken Philadelphia orphan, abandoned on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway by his older child brother. Without the mayhem of the ring, Johnny Tapia would have been preordained to a destitute life of drugs, prison, and nothing else.

Yes, men like Saad Muhammad and Tapia sometimes squander the fortunes they earn in the prize ring. But both of them, despite the steep odds of failure, exited the sport better than which they entered it. And it that regard, our broken sport works.

Today, it matters not that the two most celebrated fist fighters of our era refuse to engage in a prizefight. Because for every spoiled diva in the fight game, there is a broken man somewhere fighting to make himself whole again.

When we attempt to “fix” boxing, we kill the spirit of what it’s supposed to embody. “Fixing” a fight means declaring the winner before the contest is fought out. But in fighting, anyone with a pulse and a pair of mitts deserves a chance.

We accept boxing — the most archaic of contests — because though it be broken, it provides the unique fistic avenue to reclamation.

And no other conventional sport does that.

Comment on this article


-deepwater :

when was this contest announced? what other essays did this one beat out? decent essay but please let us all know about these contest. I have some great stories involving my old coach Al Gavin(who should be in the hof by now!!!) I have stories you would not believe when I was a member of the supreme team in the lower east side. years ago I was watching a fight and guess who hit on my girlfriend? mitch rose wearing a kkk white sheet ... he just knocked out butterbean and couldnt get another fight so he said so he said boxing was racist and he was proving a point.we all went out drinking scotch and I brought my girls friend to keep him company

-Radam G :

Hum! Congrad$ to the winner. Who i$ he taking out to dinner? Enjoy your $poilS. Holla!

-mortcola :

Congrats, Alexis! You told it true.

-ali :

Congratulations Alexis!!!

-brownsugar :

I enjoyed your piece, you deserved to win. I hope Woodsy offers more opportunities like this.

-Radam G :

Has the winner come forward yet? Da sucka may be hiding in plain sight. WTF! How many days do he has to claim the prize before it is donated to charity? Holla!

-dino da vinci :

Actually mortcola, I had you winning on my scorecard. Everyone. Let's have some ideas for the next topic. D

-the Roast :

Of course you did Dino. Next topic. How many ways can TSS fail to recognize the Roast. Have random shmucks expound in a serious upper crust 1% manner.

-brownsugar :

@Dino,....I've always wanted to know what the "Sweet Science" really means. We say it all the time but what exactly is it. More than a cliche? ........... ..don't worry Roast, you're a shoe-in for the next one. Just keep campaigning.

-brownsugar :

Hey Dino, how about this one, "When Losers become Winners" ...............why do some fighters lose and become damaged goods? and others lose and become Champions?

-dino da vinci :

@Dino,....I've always wanted to know what the "Sweet Science" really means. We say it all the time but what exactly is it. More than a cliche? ........... ..don't worry Roast, you're a shoe-in for the next one. Just keep campaigning.
The term was coined by Pierce Egan, who was the Tom Hauser of his time. Later, AJ Libling, the Springs Toledo of his day shortened it to "The Sweet Science". I've always loved the phrase. To me, it connotes what is noble and beautiful about the sport. Performed at the highest level it is a merging of sport, art, science and a handful of other things that are at the center of the essence of man. (And of course, women). I tried to go all mortcola there, but I promise to expand on this soon. As for your submission of topic, It still amazes me that how much the scoring of three blind mice can effect otherwise (gutter) tough men. (And of course, women). Just because two out of three clueless incompetents scribbled down the wrong winner of a round often enough, if you know you won, you won. More on this later.

-dino da vinci :

I meant it to read: Pierce Egan coined the term, "The Sweet Science of Bruising".

-Radam G :

Again! Has the first winner come and collected? Holla!

-Radam G :

With all this mumbo-jumbo about origin of "[The] Sweet Science," sombody oughta holla how Big Money Oscar and his gang of know-nothing flunkies have jived up the "Bible of Boxing" -- also know as the "Ring Magazine." How the rankings and the crownings of champions are done, have become pathetic and sickling. Doing biz with GBP will get you the jump on everybodee and dey momma. Business with the BobFather gets you in a sh*t hole and a middle finger. Danggit! What is Big Money o -- I mean O -- and his bunch, anyway? The Protestants of da hurt bitnezz! Sayang na sayang! Naku! Mahirap-hirap for me to accept how the "BoB" has been destroyed by A-HOLES. Big Money O is really putting it on the P4P ranking because of his personal hatred of Da Manny for whuppin' dat Big Money O's arse. Holla!

-the Roast :

Agree with RG. Ring Mag has gone into the crapper since they let go of Nigel Collins and company. $8.95 for that? Boxers playlists? Roundcard girl of the month? Give me a break! Bring back Jeff Ryan Steve Farhood and KO magazine!