Archive for September, 2011

Jaguars are awesome creatures. Anyone who has read my book Fighters & Writers knows of my personal interest in them. In the essay “Ink” I liken the cats to boxers, specifically comparing their fierce aggression to heavyweight Joe Frazier’s relentless ringmanship. A fascinating story in the October 2011 Smithsonian also makes the feline/fighter connection. Journalist Sharon Guynup describes a team of researchers in Brazil examining a tranquilized jaguar:

It takes five men to heft the cat onto a scale: He weighs 203 pounds. They measure his length, girth, tail and skull. He bears evidence of fighting, probably battling another male over territory. [Veterinarian Joares] May dabs salve on half-healed cuts covering the cat’s massive head and paws. He’s also missing half an ear. The team nicknames him “Holyfield,” after Evander Holyfield, the boxer who lost a portion of his ear to Mike Tyson’s teeth in 1997; certainly the jaguar’s compact, muscular body radiates the power of a prizefighter.

Regarding the much-needed conservation efforts Guynup chronicles, one of her sources reflects, “the jaguar really has a fighting chance.” Sounds about right.

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Over at City Journal, Paul Beston takes the (unlikely) prospect of a fight between boxing’s two biggest stars – Manny Paquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. – as an excuse to revisit U.S. boxing history, from the days of ex-slave Tom Molineaux to the current moment. Given such great material, it’s no surprise that the article is a fascinating read, even if its takes the familiar (if undisputable) view that boxing just doesn’t matter to people the way it once did. I’ve made the same argument myself. Beston convincingly demonstrates another point I’ve also endeavored to make: the sport continues to intrigue writers, as it has consistently done from the very start.

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