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Boxing Was King In Key West

An Author wrote: Boxing – You can press the language out of it. The moving machinery of ligaments. The intimate fray of rope. The men in their archaic stances like anatomy illustrations from an old-time encyclopedia. The moment in a fight when the punches slow down and the opponents watch each other like time-lapse photographs, the sweat frozen in midair, the maniacal grin like the teeth themselves have gone bare-knuckle. Was that Ernest Hemingway? Not sure.

This I am sure: The Fight Night tradition recalls a Key West history of boxing that was particularly strong in the 1930’s. Ernest Hemingway often spent leisure hours officiating boxing matches at a makeshift arena not far from his Whitehead Street home, and befriended and sparred with fighters from the nearby Bahama Village districts Blue Heaven. Hemingway himself was a big time boxer in his youth resulting in permanent eye damage so bad that he was turned down several times for enlisting in the US Military that he finally opted to join the Italian Infantry in WWI.
That tradition has returned to Key West in a oceanside series of bouts set at Mallory Square dubbed “Rumbles in Paradise” for live broadcasts on ESPN 2’s “Friday Night Fights.” General admission tickets begin at $35 per person and cap at $150 per person for VIP seats ringside.
I’ve included the 3 photos of Ernest Hemingway known as the Crown Prince of Key West Boxing (1 in Africa). Seen below also are 3 modern-day photos of the boxing ring, boxers & boxing complex located at DeKalb Avenue sandwiched between the main entrance to Fort Zachary Taylor and the rear entrance to the Naval Air Station Truman Annex.


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