(This is the second part of '7 Things You Should Know About Bare Knuckle Boxing.' Click here if you missed part one.)

Paddy Monaghan Is the Standard By Which All Others Must Be Measured


We’ll just come right out and say this…Paddy Monaghan will destroy you (he is the fella on the left in the pic). At least he would have in his prime, when he strung together an insanely impressive record of 114-0 as a bare knuckle boxer. From 1962 until his retirement in 1980, he visited a dozen countries to fight and didn’t lose once.

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s an average of just over six fights per year. These days, we’re lucky if we can get Floyd Mayweather to quit betting on Duke games and pretending he’s not the most boring show on Earth long enough to fight even once per year.

And if you still have any doubts about bare knuckle boxing being far less destructive than boxing with gloves, keep this in mind. That picture up there is what Paddy Monaghan, after 114 bare knuckle fights, looks like today. Not too shabby. It’s certainly not what you’d expect the face of a man who made his name getting punched in the face without protection for 18 years to look like. Meanwhile, actor Mickey Rourke fought eight professional bouts with gloves and this happened…

Miami Beach Police Department

He also retired undefeated. But his face sure as hell didn’t. Also, is anyone surprised that the greatest bare knuckle boxer of all-time was Irish? It certainly shouldn’t, because…

Bare Knuckle Boxing Is Serious Business in Ireland

Irish Travellers, which is a fancy way of saying Irish gypsies, use bare knuckle boxing to this day as a means of settling disputes among rival clans. In fact, it’s so common that several of those “disputes” are actually just squabbles about the outcome of previous bare knuckle fights. And sometimes, things get deadly.

In May of 1999, a man named “Deuce” Ward was shot and killed (at a cemetery, which seems kind of convenient) as the result of a feud that erupted over the outcome of a bare knuckle fight that happened in London in 1986. That’s a feud that lasted thirteen damn years. Given the impressive array of typos in the article which makes that claim, we suspect the fight that led to the feud probably happened in 1996. But either way, that’s a mighty long time to hold on to the bitterness that comes with losing a fight. And it’s for damn sure not the ideal way to settle things. Couldn’t they have just, you know, fought again or something?

You Should Watch the Documentary 'Knuckle'















If all this talk of bare knuckle fighting and violent Irish gypsies has you yearning to learn more, you should consider checking out Knuckle, a recently released documentary that follows three separate clans of Irish Travellers as they continuously break into war with each other over the course of 12 years. With a tagline like 'Twelve Years. Three Clans. One War.' it’s probably the kind of thing you would watch even if it wasn’t real.