I was reading Yahoo! Sports to keep up with the NBA Playoffs yesterday when I came across this sentence: The Suns have Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on the ropes.
For the sports fan I have this question: What does "on the ropes" mean?
"The Suns have Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on the ropes" is the title to a story, a video clip actually showing how the Phoenix Suns have dominated its best-of-seven series so far against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. The Suns won the first two games by an average of 18 points. In consequence, pundits (analysts) are beginning to write the Lakers off.
Back to "the ropes". "On the ropes" is a term originally from boxing.
In the game of boxing, two players play on a raised canvas, a square stage ringed with elastic ropes to prevent players from falling off the stage.
When one boxer has the other on the ropes, it means the other player is in trouble because when you're leaning (and often reeling) on the ropes, your room for maneuver is limited - seldom can you throw your best punches from that position.
When the Suns are said to have Kobe and the Lakers on the ropes, therefore, it means Kobe and company are in danger.
In boxing terms, the Lakers will have been "knocked down". Right now they are "down but not out".
Not yet, but the "count" (to 10 before the umpire waves game over) has certainly begun.