“The Latinization of Boxing: A Texas Case-Study”
This article probes into the latinization
of boxing through a case-study based in Austin, Texas. With a focus on men and women boxers' everyday experiences, the article discusses the growing popularity of boxing in the Texas state capital within the regional dynamics of the Southwest. It first examines the amateur boxing tradition in East Austin at large; it then looks into the careers of a community of Latino boxers who began boxing there from the 1970s onward; and finally, it discusses the professional boxing boom that started in town in the mid 1990s. Drawing from interviews conducted with the Austinite Latino boxers from 2001 to 2004, my attempt is to show how these particular athletes understand their early influences and possibilities, as shaped by their surrounding socio-economic realities, and how they construct and recreate their personal lives, careers, and identities within the sport’s everyday culture. In so doing, the article demonstrates that boxers’ agency makes it possible to question various established power relations within one’s own everyday spaces. It also enables challenging one’s geographic boundaries—any ostensibly “assigned” place vis-à-vis an “aspired” place in society—
as it offers access to spaces which would ordinarily be out of the reach of those in societal “margins.” Ultimately, calling attention to these unsung heroes of the pugilistic profession—the large bulk of non-heavyweight, grassroots fighters, who hardly ever become contenders or world champions—connects boxing in the actual places where the sport is organized on an everyday level to academic discourses at large.
the last decade has seen a remarkable boxing boom in town: fight cards have emerged from
back-alley clubs to such central sporting venues as the Austin Convention Center or the
Frank Erwin Center at the University of Texas, with local shows broadcast on
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