Aug 3, 2018

Boxing: Your Grandfather's Beefcake Sport

During the first half of the twentieth century, boxing was very popular, probably more popular than what would become the big name sports of baseball, basketball, and football.

It makes sense during the Depression: you don't need a lot of expensive equipment, there's no team demanding salaries, just two guys duking it out in a ring.

They had their shirts off, of course, and they usually wore skimpy boxing trunks, giving your grandfather's generation their beefcake quot. 

The homoeroticism of two muscular, sweaty guys putting their hands on each other is obvious.

It was a male-only sport, but boys of all ages played.

It wasn't unusual to see elementary school kids in the ring.

Every high school had its boxing team.  So did boys' clubs, the YMCA.....

Military bases, summer camps, the Civilian Conservation Corps...

...and private boxing clubs in every city.

The Golden Gloves, amateur boxing competitions, were held in New York and Chicago beginning in 1925, although the National Golden Gloves didn't get its start until 1962.

Today you rarely see amateur boxing clubs.  Only one or two high schools offer boxing, and those are from recent attempts to restore the sport.

It seems old fashioned and decidedly Eurocentric in an era of caopeira, Muay Thai, Mongolian bokh, and mixed martial arts.

1 comment:

  1. One MST3K movie had a kid sneaking into a boxing match between two marines. Thing is, it's totally gratuitous beefcake. (Not that I'm complaining. A movie about Atlantis can and should go full peplum.)


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