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

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


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


Has boxing been good
Has boxing been good to you?

Lyrics submitted by kevin

Boxing Lyrics as written by Folds

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Boxing song meanings
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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 23, 2005   Link

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