This month’s issue of The Ring magazine (“The Bible of Boxing”) straddles what has come to feel like two very distinct, almost distant, time periods. It arrived two days ago but, given the timeline for magazine publishing, most of the issue’s content covers events that happened roughly six weeks ago.
Example: the cover features Román “Chocolatito” González, hand raised in victory after his Feb 29 defeat of Khalid Yafai. Example: Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius is deemed “Fighter of the Month” for his upset over rising star Adam Kownacki on March 7.
I savor this issue of The Ring with a hastily cultivated sense of nostalgia; so much distance between that March to this April. Locked down in Ohio, it feels like time is telescoping away, these fights from another world, another life. Didn’t I just have friends over to watch Helenius vs Kownacki? Didn’t we share a pizza? Sit next to each other on the couch? How long ago was that?
There is some coronavirus coverage as well. An article titled “Standstill” opens with an arresting photo of an amateur bout being held in an empty stadium. And in “Voices from the Outbreak,” various fighters comment on how shutdowns and fight cancellations have upended their lives. “This is a time when we shouldn’t be talking about ‘We miss boxing,’” says recent Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins. “This is a time we have to re-evaluate our good deeds and evil deeds.”
Known for responding to short questions with passionate, sometimes drifting monologues, Hopkins continues: “Ask someone you love how they’re doing. Ask someone about their dog.”