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Frazatto's picture
Off topic: need help translating some boxing terms from a book.

I'm translation D. C. Hutchison's 1913 Boxing book to portuguese and I come to one specific passage that makes no sense and I can't find any explanation for it. I really have no other place to ask, maybe some of you can enlighten me.

On the Appendix section, he shows some rule sets that were around while he was a amateur boxer and on the Marquis of Queensberry Rules, the first rule states:

"To be a fair stand-up boxing match in a twenty-four-foot ring ..."

What does "stand-up" means in this context?????

Is it literally standing-up? Maybe in contrast to older rules that would have permitted wrestling?

Or maybe it's used as slang for "a good fight"?


Another term that is puzzling me a little is "stakes", as in "... so that the match must be won and lost, unless the backers of both men agree to draw the stakes" or "In all matches the stakes not to be given up until won or lost by a fight."

It appears a lot and I'm, so far, considering it's the same as what we would call the prize money. But it could also be something more complicated and very specific, like a share of all the bets placed during the fight.

Anyway, I would appreciate any insight, it's literally the only two things I couldn't find a satisfactory historical explanation for.

SimonSutherland's picture

London Prize Ring rules governed bare-knuckle boxing and had bouts in a "24ft square ring enclosed by ropes".

The term draw, meaning a tied score, derives from the stakes that held the rope surrounding the ring: when the match was over, the stakes were “drawn” out from the ground, and eventually the finality of taking down the ropes came to stand for the end of an inconclusive fight. Further, these stakes were also the basis behind the monetary meaning of stakes. In early prizefights a bag of money, which would go to the winner of the bout, was hung from one of the stakes—thus high stakes and stake money.

The Queensberry rules superceded the London Rules and introduced that :

"wrestling was illegal; and any fighter who went down had to get up unaided within 10 seconds..."


So, as you said, perhaps it was really fighting standing up.

All the best, Simon

Frazatto's picture

Thanks SimonSutherland, that was really helpful.

But as I suspected, "stake" is a complex term.....have no idea how to translate it now, there is simple no equivalence for it in portuguese...hummm.....

Frazatto's picture


Now that I'm re-reading the passages with this new information, in this passage from the Revised Queensberry Rules:

"Should the contest be stopped by any unavoidable interference, ... the stakeholder, shall name the next time and place for finishing the contest ..."

Is the "stakeholder" just a dude guarding the stake with the prize attached to it?????

SimonSutherland's picture

One meaning is someone who will benefit from the outcome of something. But it can also mean an independant person who holds the stake money and hands it out at the end. So perhaps in this case the organiser of the event defines when the contest is to concluded as well as holding the prize money until the end.

Does your source describe the possible "unavoidable interference"s that could occur in a boxing match ? I wonder if it means more than having one contestant unable to continue to the end.

In your original quotation "... so that the match must be won and lost, unless the backers of both men agree to draw the stakes". could be rephrased as "so that the match must be won and lost, unless the backers [financial] of both men agreed upon a draw [no winner]". I would guess that either the money was divided between the two contestants or held over to another match.

Hope this helps. Simon

Frazatto's picture

It's helping a lot SimonSutherland, I really appreciate your input.

I find linguistics a very interesting subject, how language evolves and changes and adapts, such a clear reminder that society itself is in constant motion, traditions ever changing to meet the times.

Regarding your question, no it doesn't. All the rule sets mentioned leave it open for the referee to decide.

You can download the book for free if you are interested: