Journal of Manly Arts
June 2005

by Professor A. Austen

Originally published in Outing magazine, 1891 p140-143

In boxing, as in any other form of con-test, manly and honorable conduct pays best, as a rule; and when the admiration and general approval it excites are considered the balance is still more in its favor.

Our best pugilists were generally the most manly and fair fighters; in appearance the effect of their effective hitting was minimized by the skillful manner in which they did it. The appearance of two unskilled men slugging each other is far more brutal, although they would not do nearly as much execution. The general impression among intellectual men is that boxing in general, and for amateur contests in particular, requires further refinement. The contention that during the past twenty years it has become coarser is not without reason. Every other manly sport has improved with the times. Why should boxing standstill, much less retrograde?

The peculiar ways in which the average amateur of to-day boxes, each seeming to think he has to himself some method or trick which will enable him to defeat his adversary, and this without even elementary proficiency in the principles which are almost universally established

amongst good boxers wherever boxing is practiced, is very striking to the experienced boxer.

This should not be, particularly where the aim of the promoters is to elevate the art. The qualification should be mainly if not altogether in the student's proficiency in the established principle the same as in educational examinations. In all such competitions the principle and system of the science are clearly defined; in boxing they are not. It is inconceivable that those on both sides of the Atlantic who for the time being have undertaken the government of national boxing should have omitted this important duty. From the manner in which they have managed their tournaments and the number of inconsistent decisions their judges have given, one cannot help inferring that this is the result of their lack of knowledge, particularly in defining the Marquis of Queensberry's rule, "style in boxing is essential." Championships have been won by Humphreys and Mendoza, pump handle, windmill, up and downer, roleypoley and other peculiar ways of boxing,

page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4

June 2005