Describe the violence of boxing in the southern and western United States.Did the fighting have rules? What role did the concept of "honor" play in this violence?

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I guess boxing had rules in those days, if you can call them that.  The rules did vary, and had local twists and flavors to them.  In most cases the fight continued until someone was knocked unconscious.  There was none of this counting until ten bit, and also no mouth guards and no gloves until professional boxing was organized later.  In some places the round or fight would start as soon as each fighter placed his foot on a line.  In some fights you would not be able to move out of a very small circle and no clinching was allowed.

Losing teeth, breaking ribs and losing consciousness were common, and happened in most fights.  In the cities such as New York, where organized gangs sponsored and bankrolled the fights and the fighters, sometimes there was violence afterwards if a person didn't fight well enough or lost a lot of people money.

There was a tinge of honor to the violence.  Don't hit a man when he's down, generally nothing below the belt, although that rule was often ignored by refs and fighters alike.  Boxing in the frontier West often had the fewest rules.