How far can our sociological imagination take us in analyzing the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight?
In her article published in the journal Sports and Society, Sydney-based researcher Rebecca Sheehan goes back to 1919-1923 to examine the Philippine-Australia boxing circuit. Drawing on archival research on Australian sports papers, Sheehan argues that boxing provided a space for Filipino athletes to challenge “a racial hierarchy that deemed them primitive, unskilled and inferior.” Boxing, she argues, “acted as an equalizer,” as it “pitted men against one another on the basis of weight and regardless of any other difference,” effectively challenging the stereotypes of Asian men as “small and thus feminine.” The so-called “little giants of the ring,” however, are not immune to the political economy of sport as boxers from both countries were also responding to the demands of men who make profit from their fights. Sheehan’s article provides an insightful commentary which can help make sense of sociological construction of boxing as a sport and spectacle today.
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