1920s: Article from the first issue of THE RING


Note: This is the unedited version of the story we lifted from the first issue of THE RING Magazine, dated February 1922, for our 90th Anniversary issue (March 2012).

SPORTS in America, in all the world, in fact, have taken on a new aspect, and this is especially true of boxing. Times are changing in all things, but in sports the transition has been rapid within the last few years: the world is seeking to spend its reaction from the stern pursuits of wartime in sports of one sort or another. The demand has been for more and better sports, cleaner and more upbuilding sports, and every agency that could aid has been called upon to further this end.

Thus it is peculiarly timely for the appearance of a magazine devoted to one of the most ancient, most widely practiced of the sporting arts—boxing—and in making its bow to the devotees of pugilism here and abroad THE RING believes it can be of growing value to the great game, can help lift it to the high plane it has so long been seeking, so gamely endeavoring to reach, and the plane it so highly deserves.

A few years back along the rough road that boxing has traveled it was not easy to speak more than just a kind word for the game. It was classed as brutal, as debasing, followed only by the rough, the uncultured, the vicious. It was no easy task to dispel this vision of boxing, and it is likely that the game would long have felt this unjust stigma but for a concurrence of events that in bold strokes wiped away for all time this stain.

Rejuvenated by World War

THE climax came in that drab April when America entered the World War, unprepared but unafraid, and endeavored to match in a woefully short period any army as skilled as those where military training had been a recognized institution for a half century.

But our boys, unschooled in the military arts, unfitted by temperament, by character, for fostering brutal warfare, had one sublime attribute that no other nation’s sons could boast of, an almost common knowledge of the manly art of self-defense. Not a few were skilled boxers, others were less skilled, some dire novices, yet in each was the common fundamental knowledge of what boxing meant, how it was performed, skilfully or otherwise.

And, recognizing this, American military authorities based their training for soldiers upon boxing. It proved to be the greatest foundation a military machine could have had. It worked two-fold—it provided the physical development sought and mental relaxation, both of prime necessity in the case at hand.

Fists come to the Rescue

NOW skip a bit further along the way. The American Engineers are at Cambrai. Armed with picks and shovels and transits and plumbs, they were preparing for the advance of the allied armies, doing just a trifle in a complexly organized drive. Suddenly a foraging enemy battalion swings across the sector. There is no call to arms for the Americans. They have no arms, and if they did time was too precious to seek them.

But they did have one great and glorious God-bestowed gift, the ability to use their own muscular arms, which at that particular moment were bared to the elbows, toiling in the much of French soil. Grasping shovel or pick, or bare-handed, the Americans swung into action. Quick as the descending streak of chain lighting, forceful as the overpowering impact of a gigantic sledge upon a heated bit of iron.

THOSE American fists swung through the air. Almost soft were the noises of the impacts. At first the enemy fired and yet could not hold back this host of unsheathed arms, of flaying fists, and when the mass came pouring in, flailing and striking with bony knuckles, the enemy dropped his arms of steel, primed with fire, laden with lead, and fled as from the supernatural, unbelieving that man could maim so quickly without weapons that shot or cut, in so short a time.

Thus was boxing, manly art of defense, regenerated.

Baptized on Battlefields

IT was baptized in blood at the Marne when the Marines charged, came to grips and, throwing aside the cumbersome rifle, the unwieldy bayonet, struck out with their fists and never missed a target aimed at, nor ever failed to drop the target.

And once more it came at the Argonne, where steel-clad armies, in a ring of burning dynamite, projected sheets of flying lead and steal and choking gases, fought tooth and nail, the Americans rose triumphant, their fists dealing crushing blows that were, in that world-saving drive, to bring its knees an enemy that could not fight without deadly weapons.

No wonder that after that the world looked upon our “leather-necks” and “doughboys” as supermen, for supermen they were, and are. It is in their blood. It is part of their natural existence to be boxers, supermen with their fists.

Needs a Spokesman

ISN’T a sport that is basic enough to produce this, to produce such men, worthy of a national organ that can speak for it, fight for it, foster it, upbuild it, perpetuate it?

Of course, and it is with that theory in mind THE RING has been organized and published. It is a magazine that has an ideal, a great and glowing ideal, that seeks to put and keep boxing in its rightful niche in sport.

THE RING is for the boxer and for the public. It is a common meeting ground where the one can become acquainted with the other. THE RING will stand by the public, by the boxer, by those who give honestly their share to the great and glorious game.

THE RING will stand rigidly against that class which seeks to take from us the spark that makes for real manhood.

Those who seek to crush the freedom of sports, who seek to trample boxing into the ground, who seek to make it illegal for this manly sport to exist, will find this organ strongly opposed to their actions.

THE RING, in its field where it fosters the fistic art, stands for all that is clean and healthy in sports. It will combat those who seek through legal entanglements to make America a nation of mollycoddles.

THE RING has no tolerance for oppression of sports and will be found always staunchly fighting the just and honorable fights of sports, the world over, against those who begrudge mankind his full share of sturdy, physical and mental development and who scorn to permit a man the pleasures that nature meant he should enjoy.  

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