Encased in the four corners of the ring,
Before laying down face or name,
The boxers stand ready for the gong,
Middleweights on the brink of fame.
What are they without rivalry’s impact?
Isn’t blood a fact of the prize-fighting life?
The rough edges for keeping pride intact,
Branding irons to scald the other’s life?
And do I share their hunger for success,
The impregnable resolve to be a title holder,
To floor an enemy after four rounds or less,
If I have no invidious scar to gloat over?
Better men than me have stood in that ring,
Battled and bruised, slumped on its canvas:
Has-beens, greenhorns, all the latent kings
Of the Stadium, facing failures they’ll surpass.