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The muscles of his arms and legs are tense as though, despite the exhaustion of competition, he is ready to spring up and face the next combatant.

The way he is sitting — as if poised to jump up again — suggests resilience, determination and intense preparation.

It gives light in the darkness, and the silence of its preaching is always eloquent, and death is life in the face of that grave earnest of eternal life.

The Crucifix is always the same, yet ever varying its expression so as to be to us in all our moods just what we most want and it is best for us to have.

Judging from his exhaustion, whomever this boxer’s opponent was, he wasn’t going to give up easily either.

And that is what is inspiring — this boxer will continue until he has nothing left.

The statue probably once included eyes in stone but they are now gone.

I thought of this sculpture today when visiting the grave of the writer Lawrence Auster, friend and colleague who died of pancreatic cancer five years ago today, in the early morning hours of Good Friday, 2013 and is buried at Sts.His muscular body and full beard are those of a mature athlete, and his thick neck, lanky legs, and long arms are well suited to the sport. His lips are sunken as though his teeth have been pushed in or knocked out.His broken nose and cauliflower ears are common conditions of boxers, probably the result of previous fights, but the way he is breathing through his mouth and the bloody cuts to his ears and face make clear the damage inflicted by his most recent opponent.It was common then to uncover artifacts of antiquity underground — and any significant discoveries automatically belonged to the city of Rome — but this was far different from the typical find.One of the archaeologists working on the site recalled the amazing discovery: “I have witnessed, in my long career in the active field of archaeology, many discoveries; I have experienced surprise after surprise; I have sometimes and most unexpectedly met with real masterpieces; but I have never felt such an extraordinary impression as the one created by the sight of this magnificent specimen of a semi-barbaric athlete, coming slowly out of the ground, as if awakening from a long repose after his gallant fights.” I was fortunate to see this masterpiece when I went to the Palazzo Massimo museum in Rome this winter. This is one of the most powerful and unforgettable of sculptures.

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