But why boxing? For one thing, a one-versus-one struggle lends itself perfectly to a good-versus-evil theme. It is the ultimate elemental sport, not dependent on artificial appendages like balls, rackets or bats, nor on the help of team-mates. Physical suffering is integral: it is the only sport specifically aimed at inflicting and receiving pain (which is perhaps why you "play" cricket, tennis, football etc but you do not play boxing). In social terms, boxing is the sport that allowed the uneducated poor, the shabby immigrant and the racially discriminated against to rise, not just to the top of their sport, but of their society and nation. And within boxers and the boxing milieu you find most of the emotions and tensions that make stirring literature.Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, screenplay by Paul Haggis from stories by F.X. Toole, directed by Clint Eastwood.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
In The Guardian, Marcel Berlins reflects on why boxing should have inspired so many great novels.