The sport of boxing has been around for many centuries and was probably started by the ancient Greeks in their early Olympic games. We can say that down through all those years it was in fact a brutal spectacle sport that enticed much interest, then and now.
Boxing became quite popular in the United States in the mid-1800s, especially when the new rules dictated by the Marquess of Queensberry were enacted. This made the sport much less gruesome, as the boxers were required to wear gloves opposed to the old bare-knuckle fighters of years gone by.
Those new rules included the size of the ring - 24-foot square, no clinching, rounds to be of three minutes duration and, of course, the 10-second count to get off the ring floor after a knock-down.
Boxers, as we all know, also are assigned a corner, where a moment of rest occurs between rounds. In that corner, advice came from trainers, and a cut man was available for the wounds.
We are all mostly aware of terms like TKO and KO.
The sport of boxing marched onward with much fanfare during the times of John L. Sullivan, Jim Corbett and later the great Jack Johnson and into the era of Jack Dempsey and somewhat later Joe Louis, when prize money seemed to grow and grow. There is a whole list of great boxers who dominated the ring in the late '40s and '50s, including Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Jersey Joe Walcott, Archie Moore, Jake Lamotta, Rocky Graziano, Ezzard Charles and Sugar Ray Robinson, just to name a few.
This particular era also ushered in something new to the boxing fan who was just getting used to radio. They could now watch all those fights at home via the new miracle called television. Most all of us seniors vividly recall those Wednesday and Friday night primetime fights.
This great era soon vanished into a somewhat different, bold era of boxing including pay-per-view and wo easily could be the most celebrated fighter of our time, Muhammad Ali. Also at this time, a brand-new generation of fighters including Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, Roberto Duran, George Foreman, Joe Frazier and Larry Holmes and many more appeared at ring side.
We cannot ever think of talking about boxing without mentioning the large role boxing played in the Warren and Youngstown areas. The art of boxing locally has been a significant, and we hold it in high regard.
We can go way back into the 1940s with Youngstown's Lenny Mancini, who was a top notch contender and had his dreams of a world title shattered after being wounded in action during World War II. His son Ray, though, picked up the beat from his father as he claimed the world lightweight title and also his father's nickname, "Boom Boom." The list goes on as the warrior Harry Arroyo gained the IBF lightweight title in 1984. Arroyo was in many exciting, thrilling bouts that can make Youngstown proud. Kelly Pavlik picked up the NABF crown in 2005 and WBC and WBO middleweight belts in 2007. The renowned Earnie Shavers lost the big one with Ali. Greg Richardson, "The Flea," as he was called, captured the WBC Bantamweight title in 1991. Jeff Lamkin won the USBA and IBF cruiser weight titles. Roland Commings won the IBC Continental American Welterweight title and the Ohio Junior Welterweight title. Craig Snyder won the IBC Continental Americas Junior Middleweight title. These are just a few of the local great boxers from our area who distinguished themselves quite well.
As in all professional sports including boxing, there are always medical concerns. In 1997, the American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians was established to create medical protocols through research and education to try to prevent injuries in boxing. Hopefully those new endeavors are working.