Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Twice as hard.

It's an axiom that women have to work twice as hard as men to get the same amount of respect. When it comes to the world of boxing, you have to break down the respect received into fractions. From what I can tell, women are practically invisible in mainstream boxing coverage.

When I page through the Philadelphia Daily News, my final stop is the sports section. I skip past the usual calls for the summary execution of Andy Reid and/or Terrell Owens (we hold a grudge for a long time in these parts), looking for Bernard Fernandez's weekly boxing column.

This week's offering contains Fernandez's usual spot-on observations on the local and national boxing scene. It also harks back to a piece he had done about this time last year on Rochelle "Little Rocky" Gilken. Last year's column focused on Gilken's then-upcoming appearance on the new American Gladiators, and this year's is centered around her work as a journalist in the sport. Her efforts in the ring are only mentioned in passing in both.

She remains the only female boxer to get any decent coverage at all since I've started reading Fernandez's column.

I don't mean this post to bag on Fernandez specifically. His coverage of Gilken is certainly more attention given to women in the sport than I've ever seen in a given issue of The Ring or Yahoo!'s boxing page. In fact, to get any news about the distaff side of the squared circle, you pretty much have to find a site that specializes in exactly that. And as excellent a resource as that site is, its necessity only underscores the relative invisibility of a sisterhood of tenacious and dedicated athletes in the eyes of the mainstream press, and that's just wrong.

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