ESPN the Magazine ESPN
In This Issue
Message Board
Customer Service

The Life

Why do boxers win belts?
ESPN The Magazine

Harry Shaffer, proprietor, Antiquities of the Prize Ring: Awarding trophies to boxers dates back to at least the eighth century B.C. Remarkable. In The Iliad, Homer writes, "Then Achilles brought out prizes for the violent boxing match." What a heel. "For the winner he led forth and tethered a sturdy mule." The big ass. "And for the loser set down a two-handled cup." So trophies are for losers. In the first century, the emperor Caligula was reputed to reward victorious boxers with young and noble virgins. The practice seems to have fallen out of favor, though. I'll say. As prizefighting developed in England in the 18th century, money seems to have been the only reward. But sometime around the 1820s, it became common for British champions to be awarded belts. Any idea why? No. Harold Alderman, historian, British Boxing Board of Control: Byelts date bock ta bar-nookle dase. Bring it on! Tom Spring wahn a byelt, lakewise Jem Ward. Yes, but why a belt? Byelts are in cape-in whit bokesin. How's that? Well, ya byelt ya mahn in the ring, so way naught ween a byelt? Sounds good to me. Aye. Nigel Collins, editor-in-chief, The Ring: Belts date back to the bare-knuckle days. So I've been told. Prizefighting became popular in the 1800s, and champions often had wealthy patrons. Friends of ours? Kinda. Boxers wore colors to represent their patrons. They'd tie a colored cloth or flag to the ring posts, and sometimes they'd also wear the colors in a sash tied around their waist. Chic. It's possible -- and this is just a guess -- that the winner would take the loser's colors and wear them like a belt. Well, way naught?

E-mail The Answer Guy. And check out The Answer Guy Strikes Back.

Latest Issue

Also See
The Answer Guy Strikes Back
Answer Guy responds to your ...

SportsCenter with staples
Subscribe to ESPN The Magazine for just ...

ESPN The Magazine: Customer Service
Visit our Customer Care Center

The Pulse: Cind-URL-a Story
We check out three NCAA ...

The Gamer: Top Gun
From ESPN The Magazine: ...

ESPN The Magazine: Final Answer, Part 1
ESPN The Magazine's Tom ...

The Magazine: Final Answer, Part 2
In Part 2 of ESPN The ...

ESPN The Magazine: Restart
Two-time champion Alex ...

ESPN The Magazine: Healing Game
They lost the one who cared ...

ESPN The Magazine: Li'l Devil
Duke freshman Alana Beard has ...

ESPN The Magazine: Midnight Run
While a coach and a pastor ...

ESPN The Magazine: Le Jazz Hot
The Malone/Stockton Group has ...

 ESPN Tools
Email story
Most sent
Print story

Customer Service


BACK ISSUES Help | Media Kit | Contact Us | Tools | Site Map | PR
Copyright ©2002 ESPN Internet Ventures. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and Safety Information are applicable to this site. For ESPN the Magazine customer service (including back issues) call 1-888-267-3684. Click here if you're having problems with this page.