Alright, I'm about to "come out swinging"...ready to "take a swing" at boxing idioms.
Boxing is everywhere, everyday. Even folks who would never watch a fight, or even those that view themselves as above boxing, use its language to get their point across or illicit emotions. Offices of every kind "talk boxing" every day. From the office cubicle to the Oval office color their language and motivational tactics with idioms from the sport of many belts.
While the only boxer Hillary Clinton may know pees in the grass and sniffs butts, (no she doesn't know Tommy Morrison or Mike Tyson) the former democratic national candidate didn't hesitate to use boxing idioms when pleading to those "who've been knocked down but not counted out," to stand with her. While in the same article, a popular political columnist noted she was still "against the ropes."
Are today's American politicians just out of date or is boxing just so completely and irreversible ingrained in the human culture? When a person wants words to count, wants to paint a picture as vividly as Floyd's masterpiece of skill against Shane, they use the language of boxing to try and touch our soul, our humanity. It's funny because so often grandstanders stand against boxing as inhumane. Those folks are intellectual "lightweights".
Sport idioms of all types inundate the English language. But boxing idioms inundate the lexicon of even other sports. No other athletic endeavor is drawn upon more than the competition where two men are called to "toe the line". When a team or competitor is ahead, all coaches call for the "knockout punch". When the going gets tough from football to "football", players are encouraged to "answer the bell", go "toe-to-toe". How many times during this world cup will an announcer declare that England or Italy has drawn first blood, after the first goal is scored?
It is now accepted that boxing is a fringe sport, relegated to the brute and brotherhood of the brutal. But boxing can not be and never will be relegated to the fringe. No matter how "punchdrunk" promoters act or how TV deals out "low blows". Boxing is too ingrained in our psyche. It is too much a part of our language to be forgotten. It is as pure as the words and thoughts that describe it. The language is a constant reminder of its place in our culture.
To celebrate the sport here are some other great ones...Slap Happy, Throw in the Towel, a Heavyweight, Roll with the Punches, the Blow-by-blow...