Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Sweet Science

For those of you who don't know, I am officially on strike from Major League Baseball this season. I can't tolerate the hypocritical witch hunt that resulted in Alex Rodriguez's suspension, and yes, I feel strongly enough about it to abandon my favorite sport for a year. I don't know who's doing well or who's doing poorly, and I have no idea about the standings. I DO know my hometown Brewers are whupping butt so far, and ain't that just my luck - watch them go all the way in a year I don't pay attention!

Anyway, thank the Lord I have boxing to fill the gap in my heart. I've always liked boxing and periodically binge on it, but my knowledge and fandom has solidified in the last twelve months. 

Today I watched the Sonny Liston - Eddie Machen bout from September of 1960, a great exhibition of Liston's prowess that descended into a glorified wrestling match in the final round. I think Liston was a great fighter - albeit one that did throw the famous "phantom punch" fight with Ali, IMO (his first loss to Clay being a frustrating but true defeat) - and radically under-appreciated nowadays. What a jab!

I also watched a nasty 1965 dustup between former champ Floyd Patterson and George Chuvalo. What a great fight to watch, if spoiled a bit by Floyd's awkward attempt at commentary on this '60's rebroadcast.

And for those of you who dismiss the great Larry Holmes as a pretender, or someone who reigned large only because the competition was weak, think again: on the 36th anniversary of the fight I watched his 15 round brawl with the great Ken Norton. Not only was Holmes skilled, he could take a punch and not bat an eye. I like him. 

If you haven't watched boxing recently, or gave it up for MMA, revisit the sport. It's still the Sweet Science.

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