First of all, there were times when Fraser didn't seem to know anything about boxing. We all know he can box, and quite well, from the first season episode "Diefenbaker's Day Off". In this episode, Fraser and Ray are trying to save an ex-boxer who is involved in insurance fraud. In order to find him and those he is working with, they visit local gyms. Ray tries to spar in order to get information, but is knocked out within seconds. Fraser fairs much better- it seems his grandmother's library had a book on the subject (it was quite old and only contained the Candian rules). So why does Fraser seem to know so little about the sport now? He thinks the boxers should wear helmets, and simply watches as Kowalski's protoge takes a beating- never offering any advice (which seems very out of character).
Secondly, he acts as though he has no knowledge or experience with gangs. That can't be! In "White Men Can't Jump to Conclusions", he and Ray worked on a gang related shooting, and Fraser spent a lot of time speaking with former and current gang members, even playing basketball with them. Yet now he doesn't know anything about gang warfare, and can't pick up the lingo.
Personally, I think the writers were the ones who got amnesia after Flashback. They simply must have forgotten key earlier episodes when they wrote this one.
Benton Fraser certainly can box, and admits to boxing in high school in this episode. However, there is a strong difference between professional and amateur boxing, such as occurs at the Olympic Games and in schools. The latter usually only lasts three rounds, is strictly controlled regarding where punches can be aimed, and the contestants wear protective headgear. Fraser's championing of such headgear is perfectly legitimate. There has been a strong push for many years for boxers to always wear such helmets, even in professional ranks. Kowalski takes the typical he-man approach (read 'testosterone riddled') which has howled down such suggestions over the years.
The fact that Benton does not appear particularly well-versed in the current coaching methods and leading personnel in the boxing world is hardly a matter for surprise. I played a lot of table tennis in high school, and I can promise you - if I was landed on US soil and whisked off to see a championship round, I would be equally at sea! A 1970's north Canada high school hall, and 19th century tactics, are a world away from downtown Chicago, 1998.
As for the gangs, and Robin's assumption that Fraser knows all about them after 'White Men Can't Jump to Conclusions' - unfortunately, this is utterly absurd. To begin with, Fraser was dealing with a group of young men who formed a basketball team - not a gang. There was the issue of territoriality, certainly, and Taylor Thomas was undoubtedly a gang member, but the two basketball players at the heart of the matter were only incidentally identified with a particular gang, and it was not in a gang context that Fraser met them. The fact that Lou, who ran the team, was a criminal and coerced the boys into criminal acts is not ipso facto an indication of 'gang' membership or activity.
Secondly, all concerned in WMCJTC, including Lou, used a modified form of standard American English when speaking with Fraser. The kind of highly stylised gang language that Kowalski uses with Fraser is completely new to him.
Thirdly, to suggest that Fraser would be familiar with the idiosyncrasies of gang behaviour after one encounter with them is as ridiculous as suggesting that Vecchio is now an expert on Tshimshian religious rituals after meeting Eric in 'The Mask'. American gangs are intricately structured, deliberately arcane, and tend to be heavily localised in their physical and verbal codes of behaviour. An LA gang member would be as shut out by the Chicago gangsta's idiom as Fraser was.
Due South frequently makes demands of its viewers, asking them to be attuned to the subversive spirit of satire or parody that informs much of its writing. The scene at the end of this episode is a neat example of that. We have all seen those scenes in movies when the hero and villain meet, and the hero says sternly to his henchmen - "Stand back boys. This one is between him and me." They subsequently fight to the end, and justice is served when the villain is satisfactorily beaten. Fraser obviously subscribes to that chivalrous belief in a one-on-one joust, and stands aside secure in the knowledge that his very honourable friend Kowalski would demand nothing less. In fact, Kowalski couldn't care less about the demands of honour - he just wants Fraser to step in and beat the hell out of his opponent! This same belief of Fraser's, in 'the honour of the combat', would prevent him from interfering in the match at the beginning of the episode. although he is concerned, and does query Ray's insistence on continuing the bout. This sequence features some of DS at its best. humour, style and excellent direction, as during the surreality of the slow motion collapse of the boxer, and Benton's growing alarm at the cries for violence all around him.
I hope that this has helped to set any misgivings about 'Mountie and Soul' to rest. Watch it and enjoy!