At the end of the first fight, the referee held up both fighter’s arms and the crowd cheered. We had cheered all through the fight. The fighters deserved our best. The boys had given it everything they had and we knew it. They were eight or nine years old.

When the bell sounded to begin the fight they stood together in the middle of the ring and planted their feet, and without moving their heads or their feet, they swung mighty punches at each other and hit each other and landed blows on their faces and their arms and their necks and chests and they didn’t back down, neither of them, until the bell sounded ending the fight after three two-minute rounds.

We clapped our hands until they were raw. We cheered and whistled and the trainers cut off the gloves and then the fighters went to the center where the referee checked both fighter's hands for his initials signifying that the taping had been approved before the fight, and he held both of their hands high.

Finally the referee held one fighter's arm high, the winner, and the fighter took a medal on a long ribbon and placed it around the other boy’s neck and I was moved by this simple act of kindness and sportsmanship in a rough sport that boys take up. He put the medal around the boys neck, and then he took the winner's trophy and held it over his head.


Timothy said...

in the antebellum south, plantation owners entertained dinner guests whereby young slave boys would wear potato sacks over their heads and combat one another until only one boy stood. such cruel spectacles were commonly referred to as "battle royales". they fought to avoid the whip. now, fighters attempt to lift themselves off the canvass of their ghetto neighborhoods. how far we've come. more appropriately -- west coast black and blue.

Kurt Taylor said...

Hey Tim, thanks for the note. Yeah, human combat has a history. And the future looks bright.