Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bengal Bouts 2008: The Real Fighting Irish

Working out on the heavy bag in the boxing room of the JACC.

Doing some mitts with a coach

Law School Prof. Charles Rice times a sparring match

On Monday Notre Dame's 78th Annual Bengal Bouts begins. For those of you non-domers, the Bengal Bouts is an intramural boxing tournament held by the Boxing Club each year which benefits the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh. This year's tournament is the largest ever with over 230 boxers competing in about 12 different weight classes. Last year the bouts raised over $100,000.

I'm proud to be a part of the Bouts again this year after a sabbatical last season when I was abroad. I will be fighting in the 170 lb. division, doing my best to carry on the Rover's proud pugilistic tradition started by former EIC Tommy Forr, who made the finals in '06 and was a champion in '07.

Bengal Bouts is one of those unique Notre Dame institutions that just could not exist anywhere else. It's a relic of a sort of old school Muscular Christianity and the hard-nosed Catholicism on which Notre Dame was founded. The notion 'let's beat the stuffing out of each other, charge money and give it all to charity" just seems to me as quintessentially (old school) Catholic as ruler wielding nuns or fish on fridays. The Boxing Club still touts its wonderfully politically incorrect motto, "Strong bodies fight, that weak bodies make be nourished."

The Bouts are also unique in managing to combine the intense individual competition which is inherent in the sport with a deep sense of camaraderie and teamwork. Boxers undergo intensive training for three months as a team and then face off against each other as opponents but remain friends.

My grandfather Bill Burns '40 still remember the Bouts from his days at Notre Dame. A lot has changed since then when it was only a handful of boxers, but the spirit is the same.

The four days of fighting are as follows:


Prelims: Monday, February 25TH @ 6:30pm
Joyce Center Fieldhouse (2 RINGS)

Quarters: Thursday, February 28TH @ 6:30pm
Joyce Center Fieldhouse (2 RINGS)

Semis: Tuesday, March 11TH @ 7:00PM
Joyce Center Fieldhouse

Finals: Friday, March 14TH @ 7:30PM
Joyce Center Arena

I strongly encourage anyone who is on campus to come check it out. Any parents, alums or readers who would like to support the Bouts can contact

See today's print edition for more info and interviews with the captains and coaches.


Thomas said...

come out swingin, Ben....I'll be out for the finals -- better see you!

Anonymous said...

Good luck Ben...we'll be pulling for you

Spidey said...

Unbelievable that Charlie Rice is still in the game. That guy just goes on and on and on...