Boxing's Been Good To Science Fiction, Howard

What better way to celebrate Boxing Day than by wondering why some misguided souls feel compelled to try and make the sport of boxing into something more science-fictional? Don't they realize that rayguns are better than fists in most circumstances?

There is, we've been told, something both primal and noble about people punching each other while wearing padded gloves that goes beyond a human desire to see people bleed; how else can you explain aliens coming to Earth and making Superman box Muhammad Ali? It's that primal aspect that gives boxing its special place in science fiction - something that can be used, snobbily, to comment on the lowbrow nature of characters or surroundings (or, alternately, show that some characters have not abandoned themselves to the bloodless world of technology), but nonetheless, cynically inserted to get the audience excited. Of course, that doesn't explain Super Boxers, but I'm not sure anything explains Super Boxers.

When it comes to SF Boxing, however, it's really all about Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots:

God knows what made toy designers Marvin Glass and Associates think that a robot boxing game was a good idea back in 1964 - Aside from robots being on their mind in general, that is; earlier that decade, they'd already created "Mr. Machine" and "Robot Commando" for a different manufacturer - but we're glad they did. The toy has not only survived for forty-five years (including a short-lived stint as "Clash Of The Cosmic Robots"), it's felled chess greats and given Hugh Jackman something to do that isn't Wolverine-related. What more can you ask for?

Here's to you, then, boxing: Brutal, basic and occasionally bot-based. We'd still rather bring a gun than some gloves, but we can see that you serve a (somewhat awesome) purpose at times.