The Interview: Ringside

Audio only | MP3

Published: February 2004

Maybe it’s worth getting banged up to learn about yourself and, you know, the rest of the world,” a young boxer once said to Carlo Rotella. Those words, recalled in Rotella’s Cut Time: An Education at the Fights (Houghton Mifflin, 2003), are at the core of the Boston College English professor’s humane, precise, and graceful writing about boxing. Spanning tank-town matches and Vegas excess, these reports from ringside have won Rotella awards from publications as various as The American Scholar and Sports Illustrated.

In this interview with Boston College Magazine Editor Ben Birnbaum, Rotella talks about the poetry of boxing talk, afternoons spent hanging out in the Larry Holmes Training Center in hardscrabble Easton, Pennsylvania, and the night that Kevin “The Flushing Flash” Kelley, blind in one swollen eye, came back to win on the strength of his trainer’s ringside instruction, “It don’t mean a thing, Kev. Remember what our motto is. It don’t mean a thing.”

“Ringside” was filmed at the MTS Studios in Chestnut Hill, on October 16, 2003.

This feature was posted on Sunday, February 15, 2004 and is filed under Videos.
Writer: Ben Birnbaum
Director: Dave Corkum
Producer: Jeff Reynolds