Following on from my remarks on Monday about whether the Saudi-Arabian ringcard girls in the Joshua-Ruiz fight this coming Sunday morning, will be in burqas, well not so. It’s since been announced there won’t be any which is good news.

The advent of ringcard girls in the early 1980s was the first step in the decline of boxing as a sport and it’s subsequent cheapening into into a circus of showmanship silliness. Championships, once coveted, nowadays mean nothing as every boxer is one. Boxers used to treat one another respectfully; now custom dictates they must insult each other, and so it goes.

It’s why life-long involvees such as me, have now walked away. But the indisputable fact is that in our place has come a massively wider non-boxing audience, thus the extraordinary sums now paid to fighters. Joshua for example is receiving over NZ $100 million for this contest. This phenomenon is a reflection of history’s greatest ever showman, P.T. Barnum and his famous quotes, “ Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the public taste,” and, “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

The first ringcard girls I ever saw was at a Sydney fight in the early 1980s. There were 3 of them, all absolute knockouts and wearing next to nothing. The ring announcer advised that assuming the final bout went the distance, the ringcard displayer would be topless before the last round. The fight went the distance and everyone waited expectantly, then into the ring clambered a skinny elderly bloke with his shirt off who tottered round the ring holding up the sign. The boxing world has always been noted for its humour and at least, despite the decline into hoopla, this desirable trait remains.

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