Women weaken legs, the trainers
tell the boxers, stay away from ‘em,
and the good ones do, storing up lust
in the run-up to a fight
that turns into rage in the ring.
Or so they think. There’s never been a
double-blind test that proved the link
between the two; no one would take the
chance, go against the lore of the gym,
not when you may get only one shot
at the title—who would risk it?
And yet in the later rounds, when
the fighters have been ground down
by punches, by laces of glove rubbed
against the face, by low blows,
the clinching men look like spent lovers,
holding each desperately, their legs
weakened not by love but war.