By Tom Donelson (BWAA)
Author, Member of Boxing Writers Association of America
Contributor to dmboxing.com since 2008
(Excerpts from my book on black fighters, Boxing in the Shadow)
“Fighters know how to suffer. They demagnify pain and seldom talk about it. Though some fighters have been called “bow-wows” within the sport, thresholds of pain are hard to detect in fighters….Eyes, nose, ears, larynx, kidneys, they all take horrific beatings. But their faces tell where fighters have been, the potholes over which they had to rattle, from the small arenas with the single light bulb and a backed-up toilet in the dressing rooms to the flooding light of the big time”
Boxing heroes are usually defined less by the ease of their victories, than by their defeats and their various comebacks in the course of a career. Fighters are made through the brutal confines of their sport, in which they nearly see death approach, in which their blood is splattered; and yet they somehow persevere. Brutality sells tickets, but more importantly, it seals one’s fame. For Ali, Joe Frazier was his ticket to fame.