Boxing rings

Boxing rings

I’m starting a paper about the territoriality of sacred space.  It got me to thinking about boxing rings.  We enter them to do combat, and yet with all the trappings and rituals of a religious rite.  We wear sanctified garments, observe specific intervals for actual fighting, and even as we fight, we observe rules.  We fight a “clean” fight, so as not to do permanent harm.  We touch gloves at the beginning of the rounds and often embrace at the end.  Thus each fighter is mindful of his or her place in the pomp and circumstance of the experience.   It seems that the boundaries of the ring are what creates that sense of its being a special place.  Look at fighters before a fight and at what happens to them once they are in the ring.  They are no less eager to win, but the form counts for what fighters do and how they feel about themselves as they box.  Just think of our horror when Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear.  The act not only broke the rules of the fight, but some fundamental agreement on the boundaries of the ring.  Certainly one can fight a tough fight, but again, the ultimate idea is that the ring equates to a ritualized process.  Biting someone’s ear broke that covenant, just as loading someone’s gloves with weights or even badly mis-matching a fight breaks that boundary.

1 thought on “Boxing rings

  1. steph747

    Notice the way fighters like put their backs onto the ropes at the start of the fight to feel the limits. The floor is an integral part with stains and water emphasising that others have done homage here. I do feel the sacredness is often defiled now by the amount of advertising on gloves and attire in addition to the skimpiness of clothing of many female fighters. There was something special about a simple bra top and plain satin trunks with a well identified waistband. I have been looking at the rules governing the size of rings. As they become bigger they become less intimate and more public. I always used to like to fight in small rings for that reason the engagement with the opponent was more imidiate and there could be no running away


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