Boxing and Bow Ties
In fact, referee apparel is regulated by law in some places.
According to the Arizona Department of Racing, Boxing Division, pursuant to Boxing Commission Standards of Conduct policy 06-022:
Referees shall wear a black bow tie, a white or light blue colored shirt, dark pants and black shoes.
Section 04 of Chapter 3773-5 Officials from the Ohio Administrative Code regarding the Ohio Athletic Commission, “Authority and apparel of the referee” states:
(B) The apparel for all boxing referees shall be: dark trousers with blue shirt and black bow tie. The referee’s shoes shall be black and the athletic type that allows for good footing on the canvas floor of the ring. Referees for title bouts may wear the assigned uniform of the sanctioning body.
However, that doesn’t mean that everyone thinks that officials should sport them. As reported in the article titled “Managers’ Guild, Scoring, Bow Ties For Referees Get Attention of TBC” of the September 26, 1957 issue of the Honolulu Record, there was some disagreement between Territorial Boxing Commission members.
The business of the bow ties brought a little more difference of opinion last Friday. Referee Walter Cho thought the ties are prefer-able, but other officials disagreed hotly, Referee Louis Freitas arguing that a man can do better work without a tie in hot weather. Commissioner Stagbar, who sat in on that meeting, offered the view that he always thought businessmen in Honolulu who wear coats and ties continually “ought to be in Kaneohe.”
No commissioner objected Monday to the abolition of ties, but Chairman DeMello said he thought referees should dress in such a way as to give everybody concerned the impression they’re involved in “serious business.” That might be achieved by adopting a uniform shirt that doesn’t require a tie, and when the referees have decided upon such a design and brought it in, the chairman said he’d go along with their request. Other commissioners agreed.
Considering that, bow ties are now required in Hawaii. In HAR Chapter 74 – Boxing of the Hawaii Boxing Board we learn that:
§16-74-110 Uniforms. Referees shall wear gray trousers and short sleeved, gray shirt with black bow tie and boxing shoes.
Outside of the United States, in regard to officials the British Army Boxing Association states:
Referees are to be dressed in black trousers, white shirt (with collar), black bow tie and black shoes or boots without raised heels whilst officiating in the ring. Army/Corps/Regt blazer may be worn whilst judging or sitting out.
We could check the rules for the many, many commissions and associations throughout the world, but that’s just silly. Perhaps one of the most important authorities to check on is the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which is the federation that partners with the International Olympic Committee for the sport. According to Rule 8.2. “Attire of the Ofﬁcials (Referees & Judges)” in its Technical & Competition Rules book:
8.2.1. Referees & Judges shall be dressed in white trousers, white shirt and light shoes or boots without raised heels, bow tie (black) shall be worn, but in tropical climates may be dispensed with if the Chairperson of the Jury or the Chairperson of the Refereeing and Judging Commission agrees.
So, there you have it. Neckwear is important to Boxing, and there are rules that dictate it specifically.