03 July, 2008

Boxing: Brutal Sport. Ritual Dance.

by Jorge Reyes

Not long ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who made a startling revelation: she was a fan of boxing. Not only was I in shock and didn't believe her, though she was serious. And not only was she serious, but she seemed taken aback by my lack of respect.
Since my chauvinistic mind can't understand how a female can also be an avid lover of boxing, I had a hard time believing her until she started to talk to me, in great detail, about her hobby which includes hosting an active boxing web-site visited by thousands of people worldwide.  She's into boxing, what can I say, and my admiration grew.

Curious, I had to find out more and I started to immediately reading up on boxing, or the "gentle sports" as it is ironically known.

BOXING: Brutality?  or reflection of life?

The boxing ring displays an art form that is both brutal and real, yet ideal and delicate-- the perpetrator is as much in need of the victim (the loser) as much as the victim needs the perpetrator (the champion). The fighters exemplify the unleashing of energy at full display which, at the same time, shelters them from the act of law, mores or distributive justice. It makes the spectators, us, witness to an act normally too raw and visceral to accept within polite society. The fighter, though, stands and defends his title with the same act of transgression expected of the most sadistic murderer; even while he is both a potential victim or a potential winner, at least temporarily or until his youth and stamina can withstand the punishment-- both physical and mentally. It is his desire to crush the Other, own him until the end of the match and often beyond, and then somewhat dismiss him as a volitional individuals because the act of winning is also the act of ownership.

Boxing is similar to the predatory act of survival; transgressive, yes, which is justified as legitimate only within the perimeters of its designated art medium-- the boxing ring. Outside of it, it is nothing short of predatory violence.  The boxing ring, then, becomes an inviolable self-enclosed world above and beyond anything or anyone. It doesn't answer to anyone but the act of boxing itself, and the two fighters. They, in turn, answer to no one except themselves. The spectators, us, in turn can only respond in a sort of voyeuristic act of expectation a ritual dance between two people who are locked in a duel to one goal-- total defeat or total championship.

Outside References:
Bragging Rights Corner
David Diaz vs. Manny Pacquiao