Sees Finish of Boxing Game

Damon Runyon

Salt Lake Tribune/January 16, 1916

Runyon Points to Blow Holes

New York, January 15. We claim no powers of clairvoyancy, but it seems to us that the finish of the legalized fist fight in New York is easy enough to see.

Maybe it’s just our astigmatic eye, and maybe again it’s just a general pessimism born of a long Sunday, but it strikes us that the divers and sundry forms of controversy which are now breaking out over the situation like a rash presage a violent disorder that never ends but one way.

The furious differences of opinion in the matter of referee decisions; moves of one kind and another which are developing definite opposition; petty quarrels among promoters, and, withal, a certain growing defiance of public opinion; these are some of the things which we believe are calculated to eventually bring about the demise of the pastime in its legalized aspect.

There is nothing particularly surprising in the trend. ‘Twas ever thus. The boxing game, when given an inch, generally breaks itself right in the middle while reaching for an additional mile. The pastime—meaning the people who are most interested in the pastime—never seems to grasp the fact that while boxing has existed for a great many years, and has a great many followers, it has nearly always existed only through a form of toleration, and it is sure to wither under antagonism.

It Always Happens

THE history of the game proves that it suffers most from its own people. They are generally the ones who act as executioners, and reform figures merely in the role of undertaker. Reform merely buries the dead.

Sometimes reform tries to horn in on the proceedings in the abattoir, but it has always seemed to us that persons who are opposed to boxing waste a terrible lot of valuable energy working up their case, when they might sit down and calmly wait for the box light to extinguish itself.

It is simply bound to do that, sooner or later. There must be something in the Marquis of Queensberry rules about the matter; some provision compelling hari-kari of thie game whenever it gets too prosperous. We’ve never seen that particular provision, but it must be there, because it’s always obeyed.

We Should Worry

WE are not sounding any warning to the fistic folks. Far be it from us to waste our time in any such effort. History proves that warnings to them are invariably useless. They are always so wise and so cocksure of their ground that they go right ahead without reference to advice. And as a result of their profound wisdom the places where boxing is permitted are getting fewer year by year.

We are not delivering this diatribe as an enemy to the game, either. We speak as a friend. At least we feel that we are more friendly to boxing than some of the gents around here who seemed engrossed in its disintegration, for they profit from boxing and we don’t. We are not opposed to decisions, nor are we violently in favor of them; we care not where they box or how they box; it’s nothing to us what they do or how they do it in fist fighting circles of authority, but as a friend we cannot help feeling some compassion at the slow but certain fading of an old pal


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