Random Thoughts on ‘The Ring’

10.09.08 - By Amir Peay: So the other day I am walking around the magazine section of the Borders bookstore, in downtown Washington, DC, and I decided to sit down with a copy of ‘The Ring’ magazine. For me, it’s a pretty good way to kill some time while your wife shops for clothes next door..

As I begin to look through the sporting section of magazines, including over half a dozen on mixed martial arts, and at least three on professional wrestling, I realize that there does not appear to be any copies of 'The Ring'. Naturally I head over to the information desk and politely inquire as to where I might be able to find a copy. The nice looking gentleman behind the desk repeated, 'oh, The Ring', as if to let me know, that he knew, the magazine of which I spoke. He then proceeded to perform a search on his computer, and shortly thereafter, looked up and proclaimed, 'We don't carry 'The Ring' in this store.'

My reaction was one of feigned shock (as a hard core boxing fan nothing surprises me about the diminishing role our sport plays in popular culture), and I decided to prod the man a bit, by exclaiming, 'Wow, so Borders bookstore does not carry 'The Ring' magazine?' To this the man simply stated that, 'I am not sure about the whole chain of Borders, but this location does not.'

I thanked the man, and while walking back to the magazine stand thought to myself that if a Borders in downtown Washington, DC does not carry 'The Ring', odds are, not many of the stores do. I then wondered why? Maybe it is because whenever I look at a copy of 'The Ring' it looks like it is being published in 1974 (really, the layouts, graphics, content, paper, feel, are just plain outdated). Perhaps 'The Ring' is going for a throwback look. Or is that nobody who reads magazines at Borders cares about boxing? Magazine sales across all genres have been declining, but that still hasn't stopped Borders from carrying multiple niche hobby publications that I cannot believe have more of a fan base than boxing. Are there really more people coming into Borders in Washington looking to read 'Tactical Knives', than say any publication on the sport of boxing? If that is true then I'm a little scared to be living here.

I was intrigued by the 6 or so magazines on sailing. I know most people have never actually been in a real boxing gym, but I don't think more people own a boat or sail frequently. There absolutely has to be more boxing on TV than sailing. Perhaps people just like to read about sailing on the open ocean (what an escape from everyday life) more than they do about two guys punching each other.

However, the many magazines on mixed martial arts and martial arts reminded me that there are those violence connoisseurs out there. In fact, one of the big arguments I have heard as to why MMA is gaining new fans faster than boxing is because MMA is super action packed and violent, and that boxing is too boring. I have sat ringside at numerous boxing and MMA matches, and let me tell you, boxing is way more violent than MMA. The fighters take way more punishment. Perhaps it is the way boxing comes across on TV, because every time I go to see fights live I almost cringe, as I am reminded that boxing really is the 'hurt business'. Maybe the bleeding and whirlwind action of MMA just make it appear to be way more violent than boxing.

I have also practiced a little hapkido, jiu-jitsu, muay thai and boxing, and there is nothing more brutal than standing with another man and trading punches. When sparring in martial arts or kickboxing, the kicking part is not as bad. A kick can definately do more damage than a punch, but because they are easier to defend against, they are not as bad as trading punches. Imagine a sport where the combatants can only kick; no punches, no wrestling. That would be one boring sport. In wrestling and jiu-jitsu it is customary to 'tap out' when things start to hurt, but in boxing a man who quits on his feet is ridiculed.

But back to 'The Ring'. I had thought for sure that after Oscar De La Hoya had bought the publication, to the dismay of many, that he would invest in and improve it. It has now been about a year after the purchase, I am yet to see any changes or improvements. The website continues to look like it was designed and created by an amateur web developer. This has come as somewhat of a shock to me, as with all of the relevant boxing news being covered on the internet these days, I would have thought that they would have at least somewhat developed the website. Perhaps the purchase was never meant to grow and develop the publication, but only to obtain the honored Ring rankings and titles. Golden Boy definitely has the resources to work on and improve ‘The Ring’, and so the only reason I can why they don’t, is because they don’t care to.

Regardless of the future of 'The Ring' and the other musings listed above, I guess my main point is that it would be nice to walk into a Borders or Barnes & Noble, and be able to casually flick through a boxing magazine. Any magazine will do, but to be honest, I can’t even think of one other than ‘The Ring’.

Amir Peay is a freelance boxing journalist, with his own blog on the sport at

Article posted on 10.09.2008

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