Monday, November 10, 2008

Another Boxing Tale

Our second day in Chang Mai, Glyn and I were walking around when a local guy in his early 20s stopped in front of us on his moped. He handed us a boxing event flyer and said he would be fighting tonight and would we come watch him. He had a killer smile full of pride. The next night, we showed up at the boxing ring and sat on a plastic chair with a hundred other spectators; equal number of locals and travelers. It was a special holiday--I can't remember which one now as this was in March, so there was no alcohol being served.

The first fight was between two boys that looked no older than eight. In Thai years that might have placed them at about twelve. The boys kept pounding away at each other with their little boxing gloves. Finally their coaches called the fight.

The next fight was between two fourteen year-olds. Before the fight began, they ceremoniously prayed at each corner of the ring while shrill and whiney prayer music played. Then they bowed their oiled bodies to each other and began boxing and kicking. I was crowd watching because I couldn't stand seeing such young teens punching and kicking each other, although I'll give them credit for their sportsmanship and athleticism. I looked up just in time to see one boy punch the other so hard in the chin that he spun around and dropped like a bag of rice thrown out of the back of a truck. The entire audience gasped and jumped up. The guilty boxer paced, worryingly holding back tears, as the coach soothed back into conciousness. The winner helped the dazed boy out of the ring.

The guy who invited us fought in the last, climactic fight of the night. He won to a guy a foot taller than him and much heavier. But the best part of the night was the show in between the concussion and the last fight: a topless transvestite show. Three beautiful ladie-boys pranced on stage in lingerie-style dress. The diva of the group wore a corset around her stomach with her perfectly round, unbouncy boobs out for everyone to admire. The girls were absolutely gorgeous, and I felt for the first time a bit jealous of a transvestite for having perfected the female form.

Chang Mai gave boxing a whole new picture.

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