Rope-a-dope (1)

By: Matthew Battles
June 3, 2010

stepped into the ring, squared off at each other and let loose,
trading jabs with their clenched fists then slugged it out —
flurries of jolting punches, terrific grinding of jaws,
sweat rivering, bodies glistening — suddenly Euryalus
glanced for an opening, dropped his guard and Epeus hurled
his smashing roundhouse hook to the head — a knockout blow!
He could keep his feet no longer, knees caved in on the spot —
as under the ruffling North Wind a fish goes arching up
and flops back down on a beach-break strewn with seaweed
and a dark wave blacks him out. —Iliad, Book 23 (trans. Robert Fagles)

Actor, memoirist, and heavyweight world champion “Gentleman Jim” Corbett fights Peter Courtney in an exhibition recorded by Edison’s kinetoscope at the Black Maria Studio in West Orange, NJ, in 1894.


The first in a series of twelve posts exploring the significance of boxing for HiLo culture.