The TQBR Guide To Racial And Regional Stereotypes In Boxing

When Russian lightweight Petr Petrov was interviewed in Spanish on an American English-language TV channel, my head exploded. But once I put it back together, I realised just how global this sport of ours is. It makes sense, then, that we tend to put fighters from different parts of the world into different categories. It also helps that, broadly speaking, different areas do have different fighting styles. Eastern European fighters, by and large, do fight in a very upright posture. Yet Gennady Golovkin, one of the world’s most prominent Eastern Bloc fighters, doesn’t fight like that at all. People often say African America boxers are slick, but have they seen James Kirkland (pictured) fight?

Stereotypes can be useful, but only up to a point. Mindless stereotyping leads to cliches, which are boring and not particularly descriptive. Here’s a spotter’s guide.

Cuban Boxer

Oh man, you should see Cuban boxer, he is so classy. He’s got footwork like a ballroom dancer. Too bad he’s so boring, and is really still an amateur at heart. He’s just happy to score points. Except when he isn’t, then he’s a not-your-typical-Cuban. He also can’t handle freedom.

African boxer

Never mind that Africa is the second largest continent, African boxer boxes like all other African boxers, from Accra to Johannesburg. Oh boy, is he strong. He is just just so muscular and sturdy, even if he is a bit crude and unorthodox. Also, he’s hungry; the commentator saw it on an infomercial.

African American boxer

Oooh boy, African American boxer is really slick. He’s from the streets, which makes him street smart. He might even be from the mean streets of [insert town]. Boxing also took him off the streets. The streets are basically the most important thing, okay? He’s much more Athletic than other boxers. Outside the ring, African American boxer is flamboyantManny Pacquiao doesn’t want to fight this guy, even though he fought Tim Bradley twice and Shane Mosley.

Eastern European boxer

Eastern European boxer is very upright and holds his hands high. He’s technical and stiff.

British boxer

British boxer has an educated jab because it makes makes American commentators picture somebody having a cup of tea.

Mexican boxer

Step back, Mexican boxer is macho. He’s one tough hombre. He wants to get into a brawl, or even better, go mano-a-mano (which is Spanish for brawl, I’m pretty sure). They make ’em tough south of the border, but he might have fought a lot of taxi drivers and/or street sweepers, so you never know. America doesn’t have street sweepers anymore, which is obviously a problem for the boxing industry.