SPARRING AS A PROPER PASTIME.
Much has been said and written against boxing, because many
good people honestly believe that sparring must tend to fighting,
and to draw one into objectionable company.
I detest fighting with or without the gloves, but uphold and
encourage gentlemanly practice with the gloves as an exercise
and accomplishment of rare merit. Of all low, savage, barbarous,
and disgusting exhibitions, prize fighting, in any and all of its
various forms, heads the list, and justly receives the open and
emphatic condemnation of all good citizens. It would be quite
as unreasonable to accuse an accomplished gentlemanly boxer of
being a bully and prize fighter, as it would be to call a fine penman
a forger. The mere fact that a man may possess the science of
the prize fighter, or the artistic penmanship of the counterfeiter,
by no means proves that he uses his accomplishments in these
directions. A few years ago the better element of society would
not countenance this exercise, but sparring is now advocated and
practised by our best people, and is becoming more popular every
year, as is proved by the increase of boxing clubs throughout the
country, which have among their members some of our wealthiest
and best citizens. Many men of means and high social position
engage a competent exponent of the manly art to come to their
family residence and instruct their children.
That you may see that I am not speaking for myself alone,
I quote from a leading article in a great Boston daily these
words: "There is no sport at the winter meetings of the Harvard
Athletic Association that engenders such a wide-spread interest,
not only among the Harvard students, but among their friends,
ladies included, outside of the college, as the sparring contests.
The interest in these annual bouts has been growing stronger;
every year there has been a larger number of contestants than in the
previous year "