Shilpa Bakre, media services director, USA Boxing: As opposed to a boxing square? Precisely. That's a very good question. We aim to please. I have absolutely no idea. Alas. But let me give you some phone numbers. Try the IBF. 'Kay. Disembodied phone company voice: We're sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialed ... Hmmm. Bakre: Or the WBO. Answering Machine: Hi there, this is Nick's house. If you'd... Bakre: How about the WBA? Receptionist, La Asociación Mundial de Boxeo, Venezuela: ¡Hola! AMB. Buenos días. ¿Habla inglés? No. Qué pena. Bakre: Try the NABF. Sam Macias, president, North American Boxing Federation: That's a very good question. So I'm told. I have no idea. You're not alone, Sammy. Nigel Collins, editor-in-chief, Ring Magazine: It's just a guess, so I wouldn't want to be quoted. Tough. Before they had ropes, spectators would naturally form a ring around the fighters. Naturally. But people were always invading the circle. They had guys with whips and clubs to beat back the crowd. How sporting. The ropes weren't meant to keep the boxers in so much as to keep the fans out. Ah, bloodlust. Jeff Brophy, researcher, International Boxing Hall of Fame: According to The Encyclopedia of Boxing, by Gilbert Odd, the term goes back to bare-knuckle days. Bring it on! Spectators held a circle of ropes around the fighters, but they were always crowding in on the action. Kill! Kill! Kill! Eventually, they used stakes to hold the ropes, forming a square. The squared circle! Exactly. Incidentally, in early prize fights, they'd hang a purse from one of the stakes. Oh, that's good! I thought you'd like that one.
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