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经济学人:黑人拳王奋斗史

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Books and Arts; Book Review;

文艺;书评;
Racism in sport;The black white hope
体坛的种族歧视;黑人拳王奋斗史
The Longest Fight: In the Ring with Joe Gans, Boxing's First African-American Champion. By William Gildea.
《最长的奋斗:第一位美国黑人拳击冠军Joe Gans的拳击生涯》;作者:William Gildea;
“The whitest black man that ever entered the ring,” said a famous American sports writer a century ago in praise of Joe Gans. Given the place and the time, the comment was unexceptional. It is Gans's reaction to the insulting words that still astounds. Far from being offended, the first American-born black boxer to win a world title regarded it instead as a compliment. So, less remarkably, did his numerous white fans.
一个世纪以前,美国某位著名的体育作家曾“称赞”Joe Gans是“拳击这个圈子里有史以来最白的黑人运动员。”在当时的环境和时代背景下,这样的评价并不奇怪,但令人震撼至今的是Gans对这一侮辱性的评价的回应。Gans土生土长在美国,是第一位夺得世界拳击冠军的美国黑人,他非但没有认为这一评价是对他的人身侵犯,反倒把这看做对他赞美。而他众多的白人粉丝也是这么认为的,虽然比起Gans来这没什么值得一提。

Against enormous odds, as William Gildea recalls in his episodic biography, Gans had by 1906 achieved the seemingly impossible. He actually left the ring a popular winner in successfully defending his title against Battling Nelson, a Danish-American, in Goldfield, Nevada. Even grizzled prospectors whooped when, after two hours and 48 minutes, the longest championship fight of the 20th century, Nelson was disqualified for a deliberate low blow.

William Gildea在Gans的这本情节式自传中回忆到,1906年,Gans在历经重重困难后终于变不能为可能,大获成功。Gans退出拳击圈时还是个炙手可热的拳击好手,当时他在内华达州戈德菲尔德市击败了丹麦籍美国选手Battling Nelson,成功卫冕。这场堪称20世纪历时最长的冠军卫冕赛,在进行到2小时48分钟时,Nelson因故意腰下攻击被判下场,这时就连头发花白的勘探者看客都呐喊欢呼起来。

Extraordinary stoicism earned Gans his lasting popularity in America. Born and brought up in Maryland, a state bordering on the old Confederacy, he had to put up with the everyday humiliations suffered by all African-Americans there. And, on top of these, he had also to tolerate the particular horrors suffered by America's black sportsmen.

非凡的隐忍力使得Gans在美国的受欢迎程度长久不衰。Gans在马里兰州出生长大,马里兰州位于旧邦联的边界,和在这个州生活的其他所有非裔美国人一样,Gans必须日日忍受侮辱。除此之外,他还得忍受作为美国的黑人运动员必须经受的威胁恐吓。

Gans, a naturally polite and cheerful man, was tutored always to show restraint by Bob Fitzsimmons, a world champion at three weights②, who argued that you should do as you would be done by. In consequence, Gans learnt to remain impassive in the face of the most egregious provocations: even, for instance, when one opponent called him “133 pounds of black meat” and when another spat in his face as they squared up in the centre of the ring.

Gans天性乐观向上,温润谦和,从师于三重量级的世界冠军Bob Fitzsimmons。Bob常常教导他要隐忍克制,要以己之所欲,施之于人。所以,Gans学会了在面对即使是最刁难的挑衅时,也能泰然处之。不管是一次对手骂他是“一堆133磅重的黑肉”,又或是一次刚在场中央摆好姿势,对方就啐他一脸唾沫 ,这些Gans都能应对自如。

Like other black boxers, Gans was exploited by the low-life types that inhabited professional boxing. Promoters paid him less than his white rivals, even when he was the main draw. His sleazy manager, Al Herford, bet heavily against Gans in two fights and then ordered him to lose. Gans eventually sacked his manager, confessed to the fixed fights, won international recognition as a fine champion and was mourned by thousands, white and black, at his funeral in Baltimore, when he died from tuberculosis at the then typically early age of 35.

和其他拳击运动员一样,Gans也是在水生火热的拳击职业中摸爬滚打,艰辛过活。即是当他已经成为正选选手时,赛事承办人给他的钱还是比他的白人对手拿到的少。Al Herford是他的经纪人,为人卑劣无耻,他在两场比赛赛前重金押赌Gans会输,然后命令Gans必须输掉比赛。Gans最终辞掉了他的经纪人,供出这两场比赛已被操纵,作为一名优秀的运动冠军,他靠此举赢得了国际声誉。Gans才35岁便死于肺结核,他在巴蒂摩尔的葬礼有上千人参加,无论白人还是黑人,都来默哀悼念这位英年早逝的优秀运动员。

Mr Gildea, a talented sports journalist with a ready following among American readers, is nostalgic for the days when crowds of 125,000 jammed into wooden stadiums to watch prizefights although not, of course, for the racism that then infected this and other sports. He is also nostalgic for the days when Goldfield was a rip-roaring, hard-drinking, sinful boom town. Those times, too, have gone. On a day trip to Goldfield, he saw several empty shops and houses, only four other people and a petrol station with a sign reading: “OPEN EXCEPT WHEN CLOSED”. This is a memorable book about a time that should not be forgotten.

Gildea是个颇具天分的体育记者,在美国有一批忠实的读者群。他怀念旧日时光,怀念那时十二万五千人一起挤在木制的体育馆里观看职业性拳击赛的日子,当然并不怀念那时影响着拳击和其他运动的种族歧视。还让他怀念不已的,是那时喧嚣热闹,灯红酒绿,甚至罪恶丛生的新兴城市--戈德菲尔德市。那样的时光已不再。在一次戈德菲尔德市一日游时,Gildea只看见几家关门的商店,几户空着的房屋,一路上只遇到了四个人,还有一个加油站,站旁立着这样的标牌“除了关门时都营业”。这本书让人难忘而不能释手,因为它写的是一个不该被遗忘的时代。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
extraordinary [iks'trɔ:dnri]

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adj. 非凡的,特别的,特派的

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impassive [im'pæsiv]

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adj. 无感情的,冷漠的,平静的

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championship ['tʃæmpiənʃip]

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n. 锦标赛,冠军,拥护

 
numerous ['nju:mərəs]

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adj. 为数众多的,许多

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minutes ['minits]

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n. 会议记录,(复数)分钟

 
restraint [ri'streint]

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n. 抑制,克制,束缚

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champion ['tʃæmpjən]

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n. 冠军,优胜者,拥护者,勇士
vt. 保卫

 
deliberate [di'libərit]

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adj. 故意的,深思熟虑的,从容不迫的
vi

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enormous [i'nɔ:məs]

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adj. 巨大的,庞大的

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tolerate ['tɔləreit]

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vt. 容忍,忍受

 


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