"Boxing" as written by and Folds....
Howard, the strangest thing
Has happened lately
When I take a good swing
And all my dreams
They pivot and slip
I drop my fists and they're back
Laughing Howard
My intention's become not to lose what I've won
Ambition has given way to desperation and I
Lost the fight from my eyes

[Chorus]
Boxing's been good to me, Howard
Now I'm told, you're growing old
The whole time you knew
In a couple of years I'd be through
Has boxing been good to you?

Howard, now I confess I'm scared and lonely and tired
They seem to think I'm made of clay
Another day, not cut out for this
I just know what to say, I say

[Chorus]

Well sometimes I punch myself as hard as I can
Yelling nobody cares hoping someone will tell me how
Wrong I am

[Chorus]

Has boxing been good
Has boxing been good to you?


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Boxing" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Boxing song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentWow... well, I get a whole different level of feeling from this song. For those who remember back this far (ack... I do.) Howard Cosell made his career as a sportscaster (and the biggest sportscaster of the new TV generation) through boxing. In particular, the Ali fights. There was a time (when this song's conversation is set) when Ali continued to press on and fight, even though he clearly didn't have it any more.

    To many, it was sad, pathetic, and embarrassing. Many wondered why he would do it. Some still stuck by him and thought he was still competitive, that he would prove the naysayers wrong.

    So to me, this song evokes this late-career Ali, talking candidly to Cosell about the doubts, fears, being driven to continue.. and all the while this sad, sarcastic undertone of boxing being good to him (which it was, in that it made him wealthy and internationally known - and it wasn't... obviously the physical punishment and his rapid physical decline) - the sarcasm being that Howard Cosell knew
    - and here I have to take issue with the lyric sheet above - I don't know what Ben actually wrote, but I know what I hear - "The whole time YOU knew, a couple of years I'd be through" -
    Howard knew all along that boxers don't last long (as with most athletes) and yet he launched his own career on the backs of the brutal punishment that Ali and his opponents dished out to each other. Howard, has boxing been good to you? It makes me shiver and raises the hairs on my neck every time.

    And yes, the funny, halting waltz tempo really adds to the feeling. It's a musical representation of Ali's dancing style of boxing, yet, slower, plodding, and not so steady anymore. A great piece of writing, as is the whole album.
    blucasoon March 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis some is about an interview that Howard Costel had with Muhammed Ali after their careers.
    phowerteon February 08, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYup sort of.. The song's supposed to be an "imaginary confession sung by boxer Muhammad Ali to the late, legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell".. Not really an interview. : ).. I love how this song is a waltz.. Mixing a waltz with boxing.. cool beans.
    anna118kon April 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is such a unique song. i also like how it has a waltz thing going on too. it's so peaceful. it totally mellows me out.
    buffyon August 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has two basic ideas. First is that, as stated before, it's an imaginary confession from Ali to Cosell. The other is that it's about being tired of something, deciding to quit, and looking around for your fans to tell you not to.
    TheModNymphon April 29, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has two basic ideas. First is that, as stated before, it's an imaginary confession from Ali to Cosell. The other is that it's about being tired of something, deciding to quit, and looking around for your fans to tell you not to.
    TheModNymphon April 29, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMaybe its just the general despiration the name howard, but this song always reminds me of the scene in death of a salesman (arthur miller) when Willy gets fired.
    skaBillon April 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAccording to the liner notes, Chris Eubank (British middleweight boxer) plays the cello on this song.. does anyone know if that's actually true?
    boyBaconon May 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"They seem to think I'm made of clay" is also a clever reference to Muhammed Ali's birth name: Cassius Clay.
    diggit18on December 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBen Folds is genius. To think that he wrote this song at around the age of 19 is just insane. The beauty of this song, instrumentally and lyrically, is beyond staggering.
    hotexcelsioron May 21, 2008   Link

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