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Old 05-26-16, 08:06 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Agreed about Ron Howard's treatment of Baer in "Cinderella Man". Good movie, but marred by the pointless demonizing of Baer.
And while we're on that kind of subject I have issues with one of Joe Gans biographies with the PC demonizing of Battling Nelson. And both are fine accounts of the times and the Gans legacy in every other way but that one, imo. William Gildea's is the much more demonizing towards Nelson than Colleen Aycock and Mark Scott's biography. And that's in part due to the latter's considerable focus at times on the attitudes of that day.

Reading about the first Black American boxing champion Joe Gans at the turn into the 20th century has Gildea's book judging Battling Nelson as if he were using the common terms of the day as if they were used today. That's really just not fair to him and again seems to seek a villain to sell the story. For one thing it wasn't only about one way intimidation, it was also the usual hyping the gate for a better turnout of paying customers. Boxing has always been about hyping the ethnic gate almost any time that opportunity is available. Nelson understood that he would have to do the talking back then and I imagine that Gans did too.

If you hear the language today it's a whole different perspective altogether than when you see it in newspapers and hear it all around you over a century ago. I find Tex Rickard's contractual stipulations towards Gans and the too many white fighters that drew the black color line more worthy of demonetization than the language of Battling Nelson in advertising those three fights.

Nelson did go alone twice to Gans night club in Baltimore to talk him into making some more money in rematches. And Nelson did say after all three fights that Gans was the greatest lightweight up to then. That was in effect an admission that he had been fighting at least the last two unlimited round fights with a man suffering from tuberculosis. Gildea could have given Gans his due creds for bravery under the incredibly difficult circumstances without the PC treatment of Nelson.

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Old 05-26-16, 11:20 PM
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I haven't read any bios about Gans or Nelson, just the short pieces in old magazines and online. I didn't realize until tonight Gans name was a misspelling of Gant. I wonder if another Maryland boxing star, Johnny Gant, is a descendant of Joe Gans? Both were long tall stringbeans. I saw one of Johnny Gant's bouts in 1978, against Roland Pryor, before Gant's shot against Sugar Ray Leonard (Gant was KO'd by Leonard). I remember Gant kayoed Pryor and crowed about "spanking him like a baby"! Boxers can be hilarious trash talkers in their enthusiastic primes.

Newspapers and magazines of the late 19th-early 20th century were notoriously racist, using a hodge-podge of snide, pseudo-intellectual, faux-polite epithets to describe black boxers ("the dusky", "the Ethiopian", "the Moor", etc.), Mexican and other Latino/Hispanic boxers. Jack London was among the worst of the racist journalists. Playwright Howard Sackler perfectly captured the stilted jargon of the early 20th century sports journalist in his play "The Great White Hope". Even the comments by the uncredited extras in the crowds sounded like direct quotes from Jack London and other racist journalists of the day. Nowadays Sackler's play, and the movie adaptation, seem to have fallen out of favor, perhaps because of the story's heavy use of modified spellings to phonetically convey dialect and argot in speech. But it's a great, timeless story.
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Old 05-27-16, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I haven't read any bios about Gans or Nelson, just the short pieces in old magazines and online. I didn't realize until tonight Gans name was a misspelling of Gant. I wonder if another Maryland boxing star, Johnny Gant, is a descendant of Joe Gans? Both were long tall stringbeans. I saw one of Johnny Gant's bouts in 1978, against Roland Pryor, before Gant's shot against Sugar Ray Leonard (Gant was KO'd by Leonard). I remember Gant kayoed Pryor and crowed about "spanking him like a baby"! Boxers can be hilarious trash talkers in their enthusiastic primes.

Newspapers and magazines of the late 19th-early 20th century were notoriously racist, using a hodge-podge of snide, pseudo-intellectual, faux-polite epithets to describe black boxers ("the dusky", "the Ethiopian", "the Moor", etc.), Mexican and other Latino/Hispanic boxers. Jack London was among the worst of the racist journalists. Playwright Howard Sackler perfectly captured the stilted jargon of the early 20th century sports journalist in his play "The Great White Hope". Even the comments by the uncredited extras in the crowds sounded like direct quotes from Jack London and other racist journalists of the day. Nowadays Sackler's play, and the movie adaptation, seem to have fallen out of favor, perhaps because of the story's heavy use of modified spellings to phonetically convey dialect and argot in speech. But it's a great, timeless story.
And Jack London has to be the most misunderstood boxing pundit ever. Jack Johnson had no bigger fan than Jack London (who did exhibit some racism in some of his "South Sea Tales). London's call for a "Great White Hope" was all about the gate, believe me. The problem was that London had no rights over newspaper editing and they simply cut the best and purposely mischaracterized him. They hated Johnson and hated what London wrote about him. Here's a great book about Jack London. You can check out chapter 5 on the net somewhere to verify what I just said.

Amazon.com: Jack London's Racial Lives: A Critical Biography (9780820337814): Jeanne Reesman: Books

And here is what he said upon Johnson finally getting his title shot. You tell me he ain't a fan:

Special Cable Australia, Saturday.— The fight; there was no. fight. No Armenian massacre could compare with the hopeless slaughter that. took place in the Sydney stadium today. It was not a case of "Too Much Johnson," but of all Johnson. A golden smile tells the story; and the golden smile, was Johnson's. The fight, if fight it might be called, was like unto that between a colossus and a toy automaton. It had all the seeming of a playful Ethiopian at loggerheads with a small and futile white man— of a grown man cuffing a naughty child; of a monologue by one Johnson, who made a noise with his fists like a lullaby, tucking one Burns into his little, crib in Sleepy hollow; of a funeral, with Burns for the late deceased, Johnson for undertaker, grave digger and sexton. Twenty thousand men were at the ringside and twice 20,000 lingered on the side. Johnson, first in the ring, showed magnificent condition. When he smiled, a dazzling flash of gold filled the wide aperture between his open lips, and he smiled all the time. He had no trouble in the world. "When asked ;- what he was going to do after the fight, he said he was going to the races. It was a happy prophesy. He was immediately followed into the ring by Burns, who had no smile whatever. He looked pale and sallow, as if he had not slept all night, or as if he had just pulled through a bout with fever. He receired a heartier greeting than Johnson and seemed a favorite with the crowd. It promised to be a bitter fight. There was no chivalry nor good will in it, and Johnson, despite his carefree pose, had an eye to the instant need of things. He sent his seconds intently into Burns' corner to watch the putting on of the gloves for fear a casual horseshoe might stray in. He examined personally Burns' belt and announced flatly that he would not fight if Burns did not remove a tape from his skinned elbow's. 'Nothing doing till he takes 'em off," quoth Johnson. The crowd hooted, . but Johnson smiled his happy, golden smile and dreamed with Ethiopian stolidity in his corner. Burns took off the offending tapes and was applauded uproariously;-, Johnson stood up and was hooted. 'He merely smiled. That is the fight epitomized— Johnson's smile. The gong sounded and the fight and monologue began all right. "Tahmy, said Johnson, with an exaggerated English accent, and thereafter he talked throughout the fight — when, he was not smiling: - Scarcely had they mixed when he caught his antagonist with a fierce uppercut turning him completely over in the air and landine him on his back. There is no use giving details. There was no doubt from the moment of the opening of the first round. The affair was too one. sided. There iwas never so one sided: a world's championship fight in the history of the ring, It was not a case of a man being put out by a clever or a lucky punch. In the first or second round it was a case of a plucky, determined fighter who had no chance at any moment throughout the fight; It was hopeless.. He was a glutton for punishment, and he bored in all the time, but a dewdrop" in Sheol had more chance than he with the giant Ethiopian.

In all justice it must be urged that Burns had no opportunity to show what he had in him. Johnson was too big, too able, too clever, too superb. He was impregnable. His long arms, his height, his cool, seeing eyes, his timing and distancing, his footwork and his splendid outsparring and equally "splendid infighting, kept Burns in trouble all the time. At no stage of the fight was either man ever extended. Johnson was just as inaccessible as Mount Blanc, and against such a mountain, what possible chance had Burns to extend himself? He was smothered all the time. As for Johnson, he did not have to extend. He cuffed and smiled and smiled and. scuffed, and in the clinches whirled his opponent around so as to be able to , assume beatific and angelic facial expressions for the benefit of the cinematograph machines:. Not Burns, but Johnson, did. the fighting. In fact, the major portion of the punishment he delivered was in clinches. At times he would hold tip his arms to show that he was no party to the clinch. ' Again he would deliberately, and by apparently no exertion of strength, thrust Burns away and get clear of him, and yet again he would thrust Burns, partly clear with one hand and uppercut him to the face with the other, and when Burns instantly fell forward into another clinch he would thrust him partly clear and repeat the uppercut. Once he did this. five times in succession, as fast as a man could count, each uppercut connecting and connecting savagely, but principally in the clinches Johnson rested and smiled and dreamed. This dreaming expression was fascinating. It seemed almost a trance. It was certainly deceptive, for suddenly the lines, of the face would harden, the eyes would glint viciously and Burns-would be frightfully hooked, swung and uppercut for a bad half minute, when the smile and dreamy trance would return as Burns effected another clinch. At times, too, when both men were set, Johnson would deliberately assume the fierce, vicious, intent expression, only apparently for the purpose of suddenly letting, his teeth flash forth like the rise of a harvest moon.while his face beamed with, all the happy, care free Innocence ol a little child, Johnson play acted; all the time, and he played with Burns from, the gong of the opening round to, the 'finish qf the fight. Burns, was a toy in his hands. For Johnson it was a kindergarten romp. "Hit here. Tahmy," he would say, exposing the right side of his unprotected stomach, and when " Burns struck, Johnson would neither wince nor coyer up. Instead' he would receive the blow with a happy, careless smile, directed-at the spectators,- turn the left side of his unprotected stomach and say,"Now here, Tahmy." and while ßurns hit as directed Johnson would continue to grin and chuckle and'smile his golden smile. One criticism, and only one, can be passed upon Johnson. In the thirteenth found he made the mistake of his life. He should have put Burns out. He could have put him out. It would have been child's play. Instead of which he, smiled and deliberately let" Burns live until the gong sounded, and in the fourteenth round the police stopped the fight and Johnson lost the credit of a knockout."'
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Old 05-27-16, 01:23 AM
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Fascinating! I had indeed read excerpts from that particular story by London before, but clearly the excerpts were taken out of context to serve another writer's agenda. Given the context of the entire report, it's pretty clear that London admired Johnson... not only his boxing ability but the man's panache. The references to the "Ethiopian" in the full context read more like somewhat flowery praise rather than a snide epithet.

Thanks for posting that. I'm glad to be disabused of a misconception I'd had about London.

Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
And Jack London has to be the most misunderstood boxing pundit ever. Jack Johnson had no bigger fan than Jack London (who did exhibit some racism in some of his "South Sea Tales). London's call for a "Great White Hope" was all about the gate, believe me. The problem was that London had no rights over newspaper editing and they simply cut the best and purposely mischaracterized him. They hated Johnson and hated what London wrote about him. Here's a great book about Jack London. You can check out chapter 5 on the net somewhere to verify what I just said.

Amazon.com: Jack London's Racial Lives: A Critical Biography (9780820337814): Jeanne Reesman: Books

And here is what he said upon Johnson finally getting his title shot. You tell me he ain't a fan:

Special Cable Australia, Saturday.— The fight; there was no. fight. No Armenian massacre could compare with the hopeless slaughter that. took place in the Sydney stadium today. It was not a case of "Too Much Johnson," but of all Johnson. A golden smile tells the story; and the golden smile, was Johnson's. The fight, if fight it might be called, was like unto that between a colossus and a toy automaton. It had all the seeming of a playful Ethiopian at loggerheads with a small and futile white man— of a grown man cuffing a naughty child; of a monologue by one Johnson, who made a noise with his fists like a lullaby, tucking one Burns into his little, crib in Sleepy hollow; of a funeral, with Burns for the late deceased, Johnson for undertaker, grave digger and sexton. Twenty thousand men were at the ringside and twice 20,000 lingered on the side. Johnson, first in the ring, showed magnificent condition. When he smiled, a dazzling flash of gold filled the wide aperture between his open lips, and he smiled all the time. He had no trouble in the world. "When asked ;- what he was going to do after the fight, he said he was going to the races. It was a happy prophesy. He was immediately followed into the ring by Burns, who had no smile whatever. He looked pale and sallow, as if he had not slept all night, or as if he had just pulled through a bout with fever. He receired a heartier greeting than Johnson and seemed a favorite with the crowd. It promised to be a bitter fight. There was no chivalry nor good will in it, and Johnson, despite his carefree pose, had an eye to the instant need of things. He sent his seconds intently into Burns' corner to watch the putting on of the gloves for fear a casual horseshoe might stray in. He examined personally Burns' belt and announced flatly that he would not fight if Burns did not remove a tape from his skinned elbow's. 'Nothing doing till he takes 'em off," quoth Johnson. The crowd hooted, . but Johnson smiled his happy, golden smile and dreamed with Ethiopian stolidity in his corner. Burns took off the offending tapes and was applauded uproariously;-, Johnson stood up and was hooted. 'He merely smiled. That is the fight epitomized— Johnson's smile. The gong sounded and the fight and monologue began all right. "Tahmy, said Johnson, with an exaggerated English accent, and thereafter he talked throughout the fight — when, he was not smiling: - Scarcely had they mixed when he caught his antagonist with a fierce uppercut turning him completely over in the air and landine him on his back. There is no use giving details. There was no doubt from the moment of the opening of the first round. The affair was too one. sided. There iwas never so one sided: a world's championship fight in the history of the ring, It was not a case of a man being put out by a clever or a lucky punch. In the first or second round it was a case of a plucky, determined fighter who had no chance at any moment throughout the fight; It was hopeless.. He was a glutton for punishment, and he bored in all the time, but a dewdrop" in Sheol had more chance than he with the giant Ethiopian.

In all justice it must be urged that Burns had no opportunity to show what he had in him. Johnson was too big, too able, too clever, too superb. He was impregnable. His long arms, his height, his cool, seeing eyes, his timing and distancing, his footwork and his splendid outsparring and equally "splendid infighting, kept Burns in trouble all the time. At no stage of the fight was either man ever extended. Johnson was just as inaccessible as Mount Blanc, and against such a mountain, what possible chance had Burns to extend himself? He was smothered all the time. As for Johnson, he did not have to extend. He cuffed and smiled and smiled and. scuffed, and in the clinches whirled his opponent around so as to be able to , assume beatific and angelic facial expressions for the benefit of the cinematograph machines:. Not Burns, but Johnson, did. the fighting. In fact, the major portion of the punishment he delivered was in clinches. At times he would hold tip his arms to show that he was no party to the clinch. ' Again he would deliberately, and by apparently no exertion of strength, thrust Burns away and get clear of him, and yet again he would thrust Burns, partly clear with one hand and uppercut him to the face with the other, and when Burns instantly fell forward into another clinch he would thrust him partly clear and repeat the uppercut. Once he did this. five times in succession, as fast as a man could count, each uppercut connecting and connecting savagely, but principally in the clinches Johnson rested and smiled and dreamed. This dreaming expression was fascinating. It seemed almost a trance. It was certainly deceptive, for suddenly the lines, of the face would harden, the eyes would glint viciously and Burns-would be frightfully hooked, swung and uppercut for a bad half minute, when the smile and dreamy trance would return as Burns effected another clinch. At times, too, when both men were set, Johnson would deliberately assume the fierce, vicious, intent expression, only apparently for the purpose of suddenly letting, his teeth flash forth like the rise of a harvest moon.while his face beamed with, all the happy, care free Innocence ol a little child, Johnson play acted; all the time, and he played with Burns from, the gong of the opening round to, the 'finish qf the fight. Burns, was a toy in his hands. For Johnson it was a kindergarten romp. "Hit here. Tahmy," he would say, exposing the right side of his unprotected stomach, and when " Burns struck, Johnson would neither wince nor coyer up. Instead' he would receive the blow with a happy, careless smile, directed-at the spectators,- turn the left side of his unprotected stomach and say,"Now here, Tahmy." and while ßurns hit as directed Johnson would continue to grin and chuckle and'smile his golden smile. One criticism, and only one, can be passed upon Johnson. In the thirteenth found he made the mistake of his life. He should have put Burns out. He could have put him out. It would have been child's play. Instead of which he, smiled and deliberately let" Burns live until the gong sounded, and in the fourteenth round the police stopped the fight and Johnson lost the credit of a knockout."'
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Old 05-27-16, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Fascinating! I had indeed read excerpts from that particular story by London before, but clearly the excerpts were taken out of context to serve another writer's agenda. Given the context of the entire report, it's pretty clear that London admired Johnson... not only his boxing ability but the man's panache. The references to the "Ethiopian" in the full context read more like somewhat flowery praise rather than a snide epithet.

Thanks for posting that. I'm glad to be disabused of a misconception I'd had about London.
I'd always liked reading Jack's stuff anyway. Some of his South Sea Tales short stories were the somewhat racist ones and I believe he must've grown some since writing that series. The first novel that I ever read was "Call of the Wild" and I believe I've read just about everything that lived on past him that he wrote....Even the Russo - Japanese war correspondence.

What I found as interesting as Gans career in the ring was all the trivia about race related attitudes of the era in Colleen Aycock and Mark Scott's biography on Gans. That's despite some initial reservations fearing it full of homilies. It was actually pretty fascinating to learn of some of it and that boxing was in fact a nationwide entertainment sport then and was reflected in the popular culture much more than so today. Even the Hammerheads in the original Wizard of Oz wore the attire of the boxing cornermen of the day. And I believe I see a little of Victor Ortiz in them since they were known to head butt much as blatantly as some of the fighters were known to have back then.



And the details of Gans career are deep in that biography all the way back to growing up shucking oysters on the baltimore docks and getting his boxing start in the "battle royals" of the day as did Jack Johnson and Beau Jack. Sometimes the Romans were a little bit in us back then.



Jack Johnson did say he learned the most from watching Gans. And the Gans / McGovern fight was widely known to be fixed. It was rumored to be before the start of it and got boxing outlawed in Chicago for twenty years. And it wasn't the first that his unscrupulous manager arranged for him to throw. As a black fighter looking to get somewhere his choices were limited then.




Speaking of unscrupulous boxing managers, Colleen Aycock and Mark Scott have a book out now on Tex Rickard. Without having read it, I'll just say that he knew how to squeeze the desperate. That would make a good boxing promotor alright.

But for anyone not all that interested in the trivia William Gildea's account of the grueling unlimited round contest in the heat of the Nevada desert between Gans and Nelson is good sports reading but for that handling of Nelson's typical lingo of the day. Nelson did warn: "I ain't human." after all.
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Old 05-28-16, 04:38 PM
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Those blindfolded Battle Royals probably helped Johnson develop his style of defense and offense, which was fairly unique for that era. Rather than slipping punches he often used an arms-extended parrying style (which Muhammad Ali and even a younger George Foreman used to some extent), somewhat like parrying with swords. If a windmilling opponent got within his extended arms he'd tie them up and switch tactics to infighting by feel -- like Duran in that video against Palomino, where it's as much by feeling the opponent's moves as by watching him.

Occasionally when I watch videos of turn of the century fighters I wonder how they can ever be regarded as on the same level as the post-1920s fighters. The champs and top challengers of that early area often appeared to be flailing around, seldom jabbing effectively, seeming to rely on the cumulative effect of blows rather than trying for quick knockouts. But, looking at videos of contemporary bare knuckle fighters, those fighters are still fighting pretty much that way although today's bare knuckle fighters seem to jab more effectively.

A more refined style coincided with rule changes: neutral corners after knockdowns; more heavily padded gloves; using the bigger gloves to block punches rather than parrying with forearms and hands; bouts set to a specific number of rounds; referees intruding more to break up clinches to encourage more action oriented fights with more punches and fewer clinches maneuvering for position.

Presumably the rules of those earlier bouts must have determined the styles, so I suppose a skilled boxer of the late 1800s-early 1900s would simply adapt his style to suit the rules and practices of later generations.
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Old 05-28-16, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post

Presumably the rules of those earlier bouts must have determined the styles, so I suppose a skilled boxer of the late 1800s-early 1900s would simply adapt his style to suit the rules and practices of later generations.

Exactly! If you are in an unlimited round fight your arms are likely to get tired and that's why Gans and Johnson (by watching Gans he admits) developed that style of parrying and stepping either to the side or just stepping away ala Ali. Ali grew up watching Johnson too and was doing things that were considered heresy to contemporary boxing trainers. It must be said that he was fast enough to get away with it.

That's one reason that I don't spend too much time speculating on dream matches myself anymore (although I used to) but am still fascinated to read different fans and fighters take on them.

But Gans contribution to the style of the sport should never be underestimated. He was a disciple of Bob Fitzimons and picked up his straight leverage punching style as well as using his name for PR in gaining white audiences, and gain them he often did. Gans was an innovator in that regard and others: Johnson, Robinson, Ali, Leonard, Loughran, Tunney and all masters of the art owe much of it to the largely forgotten Joe Gans whether they realize it or not.

Gans had about a couple dozen guys adopt his name following his era so looking him up in Boxrecs search engine creates quite a bit of confusion among fans often mis-Identifying him. The most common I've seen is confusing him for "Panama Joe Gans". The original was the first Black American champion but only the third black champion.

Canadian George Dixon was the first black boxing champion. Another fascinating story.

Barbados Joe Walcott aka "The Barbados Demon" was the second and Jersey Joe Walcott was the heavyweight that took his name for a ring name generations later. The original Joe Walcott once fought Gans to a draw in defending his welterweight championship. Both are shown below:



And Joe Gans was the third but the first black American champion.

Jack Johnson was, unlike many believe, only the fourth black champion (but the first black heavyweight champion) but the second black American champion.
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Old 05-30-16, 01:21 AM
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My next boxing book will probably be this one:




Harry Greb ""The Pittsburgh Windmill" middlweight champion 1923 to 1926
and American Lightheavyweight champion 1922 to 1923


Now there was a middleweight who fought and traded wins and losses with a number of the up and coming lightheavyweights of his era such Gene Tunney, Tommy Loughran and Mike Gibbons.


Harry Greb is seen here before one of several of his fights with Gene Tunney who would later take the heavyweight championship from Jack Dempsey.

He beat lightheavyweight Tunny up pretty good in their first fight Tunney said. Tunney won their second and the rest of their fights except for one draw. He beat Loughran twice before Loughran beat him and they also have a draw between them. Kind of hard to keep track of them all when Greb fought just about every month or twice a month and has nearly 300 fights on his record. I'll just say he fought both several times in over the weight fights and other lightheavyweights as well.






And Greb is seen here in a losing defense of his title against Tiger Flowers
Ringside pundits say both of their fights were very close.

He finally lost his title to Tiger Flowers. Unlike Tunney he had no problem putting his title up to contest for the best fighter out there if that fighter happened to be black. Both Dempsey and Tunney drew the color line on some good black heavyweights but so did Johnson who was making more money out of fighting white fighters.

And he fought several of his last fights with a detached retina in one eye. And died on the operating table trying to get it attached again.
-----------------------------------------------------------------


Benny Leonard "The Ghetto Wizard" lightweight champion 1917-1925

I read Nat Fleischer's biography (more like a ring record summary) on the great lightweight king of the roaring twenties, Benny Leonard and one of his post career photos in there shows him to have a detached retina it looked like to me. It's a damned shame that there is no fight footage of Greb and the only footage of Benny that's out there is in a comeback fight with southpaw Lew Tendler (another Jewish fighter as was Leonard) long after his prime when the depression took some business under that he was invested in.

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Old 05-31-16, 10:16 PM
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Speaking of Joe Gans, what do you think about his KO loss to Terry McGovern? I'd always heard rumors that Gans threw the fight, for all the usual reasons. But after rewatching it a couple of times the past week I'm doubtful. It sure looked like a legitimate KO loss.

Looked to me like Gans was caught off guard by McGovern's reckless, swarming style, was tagged with some serious shots and never had a chance to recover enough to take control with his long range style and clinches. McGovern was stronger than some opponents and physically mauled and shoved Gans backward, keeping him from setting his feet and retaliating. McGovern was winging left and right hooks with wild abandon and clearly caught Gans with some good shots.

This was one matchup where Gans' arms-extended parrying style didn't work, as McGovern's wild hooks went over and around Gans' guard. And Gans appeared to use the right glove just ahead of his chin to parry or catch straight shots -- same style used by Jack Johnson and Joe Louis -- but McGovern wasn't throwing straight punches. So a few solid hooks got around that defense. The cumulative effect seemed to quickly slow down Gans, who appeared sluggish and slow as the round wore on.

In less than a minute, after getting tagged with several hooking lefts and rights, Gans began flailing his arms around desperately trying to parry, but leaving himself more open as he wasn't moving effectively to the side but retreating straight back with his chin up (a classic flaw of many boxers, including Muhammad Ali and Carlos Monzon, although it rarely cost Monzon as few of his opponents had a Joe Frazier or Henry Cooper style left hook).

I can see why some viewers were skeptical of the big knockdown and Gans' slow-motion fall backward. I've watched it in slo-mo several times, and it appears Gans ducked a sweeping hook and was glanced behind the neck by McGovern's left forearm. From there the view is obscured, but it appears Gans and McGovern may have accidentally clashed heads. With Gans already dazed from earlier solid shots, off balance with his head down and cuffed behind the neck by McGovern's missed hook, it appears Gans was legitimately off balance and fell. It doesn't look like a dive.

The final knockdown of the first round appears legit too. An overhand right from McGovern catches Gans flush, apparently right at the bell.

The second round goes downhill quickly for Gans. He's caught high on the cheekbone from McGovern's second left hook and goes down. A few moments later two wild rights put Gans down again. With the rules of the day permitting the standing opponent to hover over the downed fighter and immediately begin punching as soon as the downed fighter's knees leave the canvas, the only thing that might have saved Gans was the referee.

You've watched enough old fight films to see the referees back then were just as inconsistent as they are today. Some referees would hold the standing fighter at arm's length and stand between the two boxers until the downed fighter fully regained his feet. Others would stand back and intervene only enough to barely give the downed fighter time to get both knees off the canvas.

And it seems pretty clear from some old fight films the referee's choices in handling knockdowns may have been tainted at least subconsciously by racism. I've noticed when Jack Johnson knocked down an opponent, the ref would stand between the fighters to give the downed opponent time to regain his fully upright position -- and Johnson often seemed to give opponents plenty of time to get up again after he'd knocked them down.

But against McGovern, Gans never had a chance to recover. Nothing illegal or unethical by the referee or McGovern. Both did exactly as they were required to do under the rules and I saw no fouls. For at least a couple of knockdowns Gans made a serious effort to take as much time as he could to recover before standing. But his legs were gone from the first round damage and the first knockdown of the second round.

Reminded me of how Ricardo Mayorga overwhelmed the much more polished Vernon Forrest and never gave the taller man a chance to execute the same style that had derailed Shane Mosley. Or even Marvin Hagler's similarly aggressive and risky (but less reckless) swarming against Tommy Hearns -- pretty much the only way for a shorter opponent to beat Hearns.

Anyway, just my observation. It was interesting to watch the video in slo-mo and frame by frame (as much as YouTube allows), because I'd always tended to believe that Gans did throw the fight. But now it appears to be a legit stoppage.

And I'm a bit skeptical of Gans' supposed admission that he threw the fight. I'm not sure what the context was for that admission, but it may be like Jack Johnson's claim that he took a dive against Jess Willard. Much as I'm a fan of Johnson, he was trying to save face by claiming he took a dive. He fought well for several rounds but was clearly wearing down from age, poor diet and training and becoming sluggish -- a fatal flaw for boxers who rely heavily on quick reflexes. A younger, better conditioned Johnson could easily have beaten Willard. But not that older Johnson, not that day in the brutal heat.

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Old 06-01-16, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Speaking of Joe Gans, what do you think about his KO loss to Terry McGovern? I'd always heard rumors that Gans threw the fight, for all the usual reasons. But after rewatching it a couple of times the past week I'm doubtful. It sure looked like a legitimate KO loss.

Looked to me like Gans was caught off guard by McGovern's reckless, swarming style, was tagged with some serious shots and never had a chance to recover enough to take control with his long range style and clinches. McGovern was stronger than some opponents and physically mauled and shoved Gans backward, keeping him from setting his feet and retaliating. McGovern was winging left and right hooks with wild abandon and clearly caught Gans with some good shots.

This was one matchup where Gans' arms-extended parrying style didn't work, as McGovern's wild hooks went over and around Gans' guard. And Gans appeared to use the right glove just ahead of his chin to parry or catch straight shots -- same style used by Jack Johnson and Joe Louis -- but McGovern wasn't throwing straight punches. So a few solid hooks got around that defense. The cumulative effect seemed to quickly slow down Gans, who appeared sluggish and slow as the round wore on.

In less than a minute, after getting tagged with several hooking lefts and rights, Gans began flailing his arms around desperately trying to parry, but leaving himself more open as he wasn't moving effectively to the side but retreating straight back with his chin up (a classic flaw of many boxers, including Muhammad Ali and Carlos Monzon, although it rarely cost Monzon as few of his opponents had a Joe Frazier or Henry Cooper style left hook).

I can see why some viewers were skeptical of the big knockdown and Gans' slow-motion fall backward. I've watched it in slo-mo several times, and it appears Gans ducked a sweeping hook and was glanced behind the neck by McGovern's left forearm. From there the view is obscured, but it appears Gans and McGovern may have accidentally clashed heads. With Gans already dazed from earlier solid shots, off balance with his head down and cuffed behind the neck by McGovern's missed hook, it appears Gans was legitimately off balance and fell. It doesn't look like a dive.

The final knockdown of the first round appears legit too. An overhand right from McGovern catches Gans flush, apparently right at the bell.

The second round goes downhill quickly for Gans. He's caught high on the cheekbone from McGovern's second left hook and goes down. A few moments later two wild rights put Gans down again. With the rules of the day permitting the standing opponent to hover over the downed fighter and immediately begin punching as soon as the downed fighter's knees leave the canvas, the only thing that might have saved Gans was the referee.

You've watched enough old fight films to see the referees back then were just as inconsistent as they are today. Some referees would hold the standing fighter at arm's length and stand between the two boxers until the downed fighter fully regained his feet. Others would stand back and intervene only enough to barely give the downed fighter time to get both knees off the canvas.

And it seems pretty clear from some old fight films the referee's choices in handling knockdowns may have been tainted at least subconsciously by racism. I've noticed when Jack Johnson knocked down an opponent, the ref would stand between the fighters to give the downed opponent time to regain his fully upright position -- and Johnson often seemed to give opponents plenty of time to get up again after he'd knocked them down.

But against McGovern, Gans never had a chance to recover. Nothing illegal or unethical by the referee or McGovern. Both did exactly as they were required to do under the rules and I saw no fouls. For at least a couple of knockdowns Gans made a serious effort to take as much time as he could to recover before standing. But his legs were gone from the first round damage and the first knockdown of the second round.

Reminded me of how Ricardo Mayorga overwhelmed the much more polished Vernon Forrest and never gave the taller man a chance to execute the same style that had derailed Shane Mosley. Or even Marvin Hagler's similarly aggressive and risky (but less reckless) swarming against Tommy Hearns -- pretty much the only way for a shorter opponent to beat Hearns.

Anyway, just my observation. It was interesting to watch the video in slo-mo and frame by frame (as much as YouTube allows), because I'd always tended to believe that Gans did throw the fight. But now it appears to be a legit stoppage.

And I'm a bit skeptical of Gans' supposed admission that he threw the fight. I'm not sure what the context was for that admission, but it may be like Jack Johnson's claim that he took a dive against Jess Willard. Much as I'm a fan of Johnson, he was trying to save face by claiming he took a dive. He fought well for several rounds but was clearly wearing down from age, poor diet and training and becoming sluggish -- a fatal flaw for boxers who rely heavily on quick reflexes. A younger, better conditioned Johnson could easily have beaten Willard. But not that older Johnson, not that day in the brutal heat.
According to at least one of his biographers Gans (nor McGovern) never admitted throwing that fight or any others. But his manager had been known to arrange just that and it has been said that there was at least one fight that Gans had thrown before that although William-Gildea didn't specify that other fight by name to my recollection. There was rumor of the fight not being on the up-and-up days before the fight. I'd always heard that all the ringside pundits thought it a farce and the referee was reported to, in effect, say the same when he said that no punches of serious note ever connected on Gans. At any rate the gambling line seemed suspicious enough for the city of Chicago to ban boxing for the next 20 years off of the stink of that fight.

And Gans fought swarmers all the time. That's what Nelson was. And even in those he was suffering from tuberculosis in at least the last two. Johnson had wanted him in his corner for the Jeffries fight but he was about on his death bed then.

Johnson was the one who claimed to have thrown the Willard fight. Nobody, and I mean nobody is going to wait until the 26th round to throw a fight in the hot Havana sun.
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Old 06-01-16, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Speaking of Joe Gans, what do you think about his KO loss to Terry McGovern?
Looks like it's both biographies that say no record of Gans admitting to anything.

The thing about the fight that I've never liked is Gans going from being knocked around without defending himself and then congratulating Terry seemingly clear eyed and steady on his feet. I'm thinking the ref isn't going to stop a fight easily back then unless it's embarrassing him. And here is the quote from the ref: "If Gans was trying last night then I don't know much about the game."

But Terry was a great featherweight no doubt. I kind of wish he was Scots because we don't have enough of those to compare with the Irish.......Brooklyn at the turn of the century is Irish and Catholic I imagine.....darn, lol.

But your post got me to searching out old newspaper articles but I also got this reference to the whole chapter devoted to Gans vs McGovern in Colleen Aycock and Mark Scott's book. Now she's got Gans winning over Duran in a dream match just to inform you of the author's lack of objectivity. In fact it's kind of why I seldom guess at such anymore although it's really unavoidable in boxing forums. Nevertheless it seems they took effort to balance the chapter.

https://books.google.com/books?id=oD...%20%3F&f=false

And the "false" thing comes up in google searches with a question mark.
Here is reportedly the referee's assessment quoted from the link below.

Joe Gans, the "Old Master"

Excerpted:

The Dec 14 Chicago Record Herald reported that the “Bout Has Suspicious Look.” The fight's referee George Siler, one of the best and most well known 3rd men of the period, wrote in Dec 14 Chicago Tribune "If Gans was trying last night then I don't know much about the game." Such uproar occurred because of the obvious dive that Chiacago's Mayor Harrison banned boxing in the city, a ban that lasted well into the next decade.

(end of excerpt)

Here's another reference to the history of sports in Chicago:

https://books.google.com/books?id=iY...%20%3F&f=false

And here's much more in 1910 about his manager although hearsay:

San Francisco Call 11 August 1910 - California Digital Newspaper Collection

A 1910 newspaper obituary for Gans that evidences the widespread opinion of the fight was probably not on the up-and-up along with some unflattering words about his manager and their "ironclad" contract.

Many articles celebrating Terry's otherwise brilliant career skip the Gans fight entirely. And it's a shame that this comes up for either he or Gans.

Also a shame that fighters suffering from pugilistic dementia being put in insane asylums back then as was the case with both McGovern and Nelson in their old age.

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Old 06-01-16, 09:35 AM
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I dunno, but the Gans vs McGovern bout sure looked legit to me. However I can think of a scenario in which Gans could throw the fight while making it look as real as possible. If he knew he could absorb McGovern's punches without serious harm, Gans could put up a half-assed defense and allow McGovern to hit him, just to give the dive a flavor of being legit. I don't know whether Gans had that kind of chin, because he really did take some solid shots from McGovern.

Not to compare the following anecdote to Gans vs McGovern, by any means, but...

The only reason I'm entertaining that possibility that Gans threw the bout by allowing himself to get hit is because of an amateur bout I had just before I went into the Navy. At my last smoker as a civilian in 1975 I'd suddenly gone up in weight class from lightweight where I participated in the Golden Gloves, to welterweight that autumn. Just a sudden growth spurt. And it was solid growth, not fat. Not only did it catch the Navy off guard (I'd taken the physical and most of the induction process months before my 18th birthday and they were so stunned by the growth spurt they re-did the physical exam), but the smoker organizers as well. They still had me listed as a lightweight and had nobody available at welterweight for the bout.

So we arranged a supposedly no-decision exhibition with the only other boxer who had no opponent -- a pretty good bantamweight from the team I used to participate with. He had a buzzsaw style with a good left hook that had stopped many guys his size. Because of our size difference we'd never sparred before -- I preferred to spar guys bigger than me -- so I was curious to see what his power was like. I knew from the handful of times I'd sparred guys smaller than me that while some of them could pack a decent punch, they couldn't take my shots. For that matter, I couldn't really hurt the bigger guys with my shots either. I remember one light middleweight who'd walk right through my best shots, but it was good practice.

I basically fooled around for three rounds, playing rope-a-dope, tossing occasional left jabs but otherwise trying not to hurt the guy. He connected with some good shots up close but there was nothing on 'em. I'd lift my elbows and let him pound my ribs, then lower my guard and give him a couple of free shots to the jaw. Nothing. He was good at his weight class, but there was too much of a mismatch between 118 and 147 lbs.

And for my hubris in goofing off, the only time I was stunned was when they actually announced a decision after the "exhibition". Naturally the smaller guy won since he did all the work. I'm not sure how exactly they figured out how to sanction that as a competitive match, but I didn't really care since it was my last as a civilian.

I never repeated that mistake, even in sparring. Some of the little guys I sparred with in the Navy and Marines could pack a serious wallop. And because the Marines were always in shape it was pretty much a waste of time to hit them in the body, compared with the softer civilian amateurs. It was like hitting a heavy bag.
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Old 06-01-16, 09:37 AM
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BTW, yeah, it was a shame how McGovern ended up. But with his reckless all-offense, zero-defense style, he must have taken a lot of head shots in his short time on Earth. Exciting fighter in any era. Imagine if he'd had a better coach to teach him a little defense and a few straight punches.
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Old 06-02-16, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I dunno, but the Gans vs McGovern bout sure looked legit to me. However I can think of a scenario in which Gans could throw the fight while making it look as real as possible. If he knew he could absorb McGovern's punches without serious harm, Gans could put up a half-assed defense and allow McGovern to hit him, just to give the dive a flavor of being legit. I don't know whether Gans had that kind of chin, because he really did take some solid shots from McGovern.

Not to compare the following anecdote to Gans vs McGovern, by any means, but...

The only reason I'm entertaining that possibility that Gans threw the bout by allowing himself to get hit is because of an amateur bout I had just before I went into the Navy. At my last smoker as a civilian in 1975 I'd suddenly gone up in weight class from lightweight where I participated in the Golden Gloves, to welterweight that autumn. Just a sudden growth spurt. And it was solid growth, not fat. Not only did it catch the Navy off guard (I'd taken the physical and most of the induction process months before my 18th birthday and they were so stunned by the growth spurt they re-did the physical exam), but the smoker organizers as well. They still had me listed as a lightweight and had nobody available at welterweight for the bout.

So we arranged a supposedly no-decision exhibition with the only other boxer who had no opponent -- a pretty good bantamweight from the team I used to participate with. He had a buzzsaw style with a good left hook that had stopped many guys his size. Because of our size difference we'd never sparred before -- I preferred to spar guys bigger than me -- so I was curious to see what his power was like. I knew from the handful of times I'd sparred guys smaller than me that while some of them could pack a decent punch, they couldn't take my shots. For that matter, I couldn't really hurt the bigger guys with my shots either. I remember one light middleweight who'd walk right through my best shots, but it was good practice.

I basically fooled around for three rounds, playing rope-a-dope, tossing occasional left jabs but otherwise trying not to hurt the guy. He connected with some good shots up close but there was nothing on 'em. I'd lift my elbows and let him pound my ribs, then lower my guard and give him a couple of free shots to the jaw. Nothing. He was good at his weight class, but there was too much of a mismatch between 118 and 147 lbs.

And for my hubris in goofing off, the only time I was stunned was when they actually announced a decision after the "exhibition". Naturally the smaller guy won since he did all the work. I'm not sure how exactly they figured out how to sanction that as a competitive match, but I didn't really care since it was my last as a civilian.

I never repeated that mistake, even in sparring. Some of the little guys I sparred with in the Navy and Marines could pack a serious wallop. And because the Marines were always in shape it was pretty much a waste of time to hit them in the body, compared with the softer civilian amateurs. It was like hitting a heavy bag.
Not so for me if I were in the best of shape. My middleweight ribs are going to be a little "ticklish" in the lightheavyweight division and I cut at the touch and bleed like a run over fire hydrant. Some of those lightheavyweights can hard enough to break my bottom rib. This I'm sure of.

My best street bragging rights would be a three knockdown front yard win over the former middleweight champion of the New Mexico State penitentiary....with trophies. I was in better shape and working raking hotmix (not so stressful in weight as concrete) but was still doing dumbbell routines on the weekend. and I probably had up to 10 lbs on him. But he helped me out considerably by coming with his guard down. Maybe he didn't think I could hit or would pull the trigger. Plain old right hand lead head on. So I waited until he got up and he comes in a crouch bent towards my left with both hands up and I put enough of an uppercut between his guard (another reason I don't like the gloves, lol) and lifted his temple just above his guard enough to drive my middle knuckle dead center to that left temple and he goes down briefly again.

Man his legs were like rubber after that temple shot. He did get a left hook on me but his legs were like mush so it had nothing on it. I nearly pushed him down trying to get punching room. But he comes crouched lower and to my right side and I screwed my hand up when I hit him on the forehead. But I caught enough of that scar tissue above his eyes to put the biggest cut on him he had....and he had lots. He spins around, groans and sits. When he started falling in the shrubs trying to get to his feet and reaching in his front pocket I figured it probably wasn't for my $5 bet winnings. So I strolled to my pickup with my totally useless right hand now, said to our spectators "later" and casually drove away.

I'd rather not tell about the ones I lost. Lets just say the healing time was long for my last one and it more than "made up" for my wins. And the one where I wasn't being very damned streetwise to throw a pair of 14" channel locks to the ground to engage in a fistfight....Duh. Nothing injured but pride and any hope for street reputation with that one.

And as for Gans / McGovern those punches weren't head on collisions, they were being rolled with. And Gans was enough of a fighter to at least jab and throw punches if he wanted. But I noticed that you're in much company while reading through the various boxing threads that came up in my google searches the other day. The opinions are about half and half on it I reckon. And the more I've read about it from someone who researched it rather than hearing something about it from someone who somehow got it wrong (such as Gans supposed admission. He barely left the courtroom over it) then it adds up to a likely dive to me.

No way though, does Jack Johnson wait until the 26th round to throw a fight in the scorching Cuban heat. That one I'm going to disregard on the face of it. Lamotta said he wanted to throw his in the first round but it took the guy four rounds to actually hit him with something Jake hoped decent enough to look OK for it.
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Old 06-02-16, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I dunno, but the Gans vs McGovern bout sure looked legit to me. However I can think of a scenario in which Gans could throw the fight while making it look as real as possible. If he knew he could absorb McGovern's punches without serious harm, Gans could put up a half-assed defense and allow McGovern to hit him, just to give the dive a flavor of being legit. I don't know whether Gans had that kind of chin, because he really did take some solid shots from McGovern.
Well here's one of the referee's quotes about the Gans / Nelson in it's entirety:

San Francisco Call 14 December 1900 - California Digital Newspaper Collection

Excerpted:

George Siler, the referee, will make the following statement in tomorrow's Tribune:

"Gans put up the weakest article of fight ever witnessed in Chicago. His every effort was weak and he acted as If he were not trying. His blocking, however. was all right. but his hitting, of which so much has been said, was not In evidence. I do not like to accuse a fighter of faking, but will say that Gans' work had all tha earmarks of a fake. "Terry fought as usual. He sailed Into Gans at the tap of the gong, slashing away with both hands at head and body. His body blows were the most effective. even though Gans went to the canvas repeatedly from head blows. "The knockout was a short right jolt under the chin, and may have been hard enough to put Gans down for the count, but It did not strike me so."


(end of excerpt)

In addition there's a telling account of the betting line in that article if accurate.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

And about the Johnson / Willard fight some thoughts of my own:

Johnson had tried to go for the KO himself around the twentieth round or so and just plain ran out of gas and Willard became the stalker thereafter. It wasn't the typical April weather. And at that heat both fighters are going to be operating out of a delerium after 25 rounds or so which was usually the limit for non title fights at the time.

April 5, 1915Location: Havana - Temperature: 100+ F/ 37.7+ C
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Old 06-04-16, 07:08 PM
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Muhammad Ali vs Cleveland 'Big Cat' Williams 1966

The Greatest at his greatest

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Old 06-05-16, 10:09 PM
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^^^
This was a 1966 title defense for Ali against Cleveland "Big Cat" Williams of Houston Texas before his enforced layoff. It must be mentioned that Williams still carried a State Trooper's .357 slug in his body from two years before. Here is William's account of that ordeal:

Obituary: Cleveland Williams | Culture | The Independent

The Big Cat's luck turned again, however, and once again he was snared by that old habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. On the night of 29 November, he was in his car with another man and two women on a country road near Houston known as Jackrabbit Road, when they were pulled over by a Texas Highway Patrolman named Dale Witten. Witten said the car was weaving. When he spoke to Williams he decided the big man was drunk.


Williams said he wasn't. He had been drinking, he admitted, but was perfectly in control of himself. He had merely laughed and shaken when one of the women told a joke. Witten remained unimpressed and arrested him. As they drove back to Houston, Williams said he realised he was being taken to an area of town named Tomball, which as he put it was "tough on black folks".


Williams protested and later said Witten pointed his gun at him. "I grabbed the muzzle, pushed it into the seat . . . it went off and hit me." The police bullet went through his intestines and lodged in his pelvic bone. The boxer said he found himself lying on the road, drifting in and out of consciousness. "I heard one voice, which said: `I'm not gonna put that ****** in my car.' "


Always a religious man, he also said he felt the presence of God protect him from death. "I saw the eternal light God has for man," he told the Dallas writer Mark Seal 20 years ago. "And I was sinking into the darkness of hell until I felt a great big hand on my right shoulder pulling me back to life." He said he heeded the message and tried to put his life in order, but there was nothing he could do to prevent his decline. The bullet remained in his body.

(end of excerpt)

Williams was still fighting recognizable heavyweight names such as Jack O'Halloran, Mac Foster, George Chuvalo (reportedly a very close contest) and Terry Daniels into the early '70s.
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Old 06-06-16, 12:02 AM
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Williams was an underrated boxer of the Joe Louis type who usually gave Ali a hard time: A stand up boxer, close to Ali in height and reach.

Zora Folley was in the same mold, but more skilled than Williams, and gave Ali more trouble. That bout against Folley is the one I point people toward when they repeat that old cliche about the "phantom punch" in Ali's rematch against Liston.

After a few feeling out rounds to get a sense of Folley's timing and tells, and which feints he'd fall for, Ali began his classic trick that both made him great and vulnerable. To extend the reach of his right hand he'd cheat forward from the waist, squaring up his shoulders while retaining the correct foot stance. Ali would wait for the opponent to toss a left jab, over which Ali would toss quick rights over the opponent's shoulder. Usually this would discourage a taller opponent from jabbing. But if the opponent was foolish enough to tempt fate and continue jabbing, Ali would double down on those quick counter rights. After catching Folley with several of those counter rights over the shoulder, Ali finally doubled up on that punch in round 7, snapping Folley's head twice like it was on a swivel and putting him away.

It didn't look like much. It never did. Just a quick counter right tossed over the opponent's left jab. But it was devastating. That's what put Liston down in the rematch (somewhere around here I have a bookmark to a high quality YouTube video that clearly shows Liston's head snapping sideways from that counter right). Liston might have been able to get up, but he probably knew it wouldn't last long. Liston, like Tyson, had a bully's courage, which is no courage at all and collapses under any serious resistance.

Same shot that finished off Foreman after Ali had worn him down, or helped Foreman wear himself down.

You can see Ali set up Williams with that same counter right several times, although it wasn't as big a factor in that fight as it was against Folley, Liston and Foreman. Against the shuffling Williams footwork, Ali showed off his ability to punch hard while moving backward, and to briefly bring both feet together, leaning forward like a ballet dancer to toss improbably quicker left-right combos, yet never losing balance. I've never seen another boxer of any weight class who could pull off that move the way the pre-suspension Ali could.

Alas, those same risky techniques left him vulnerable to good left hookers like Henry Cooper and Joe Frazier, both of whom were quick on the trigger with left hooks and caught Ali when he tried to use that shoulders-square-up stance to toss quick counter rights.

Until meeting Earnie Shavers, Ali rarely got caught flush with right hands. But he was a sucker for a good left hooker. I only wish Ali had retired after Shavers. While most folks, including Ali himself, attribute his third bout against Frazier as the most grueling bout that sapped Ali's greatness, I believe it was Shavers who really did the most serious damage. That bout was frightening to watch.

He was a beautiful creation of his own making, both as an athlete and as an ambassador of good will. I doubt we'll ever see the like again in our lifetimes.

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Old 06-07-16, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post


It didn't look like much. It never did. Just a quick counter right tossed over the opponent's left jab. But it was devastating. That's what put Liston down in the rematch (somewhere around here I have a bookmark to a high quality YouTube video that clearly shows Liston's head snapping sideways from that counter right). Liston might have been able to get up, but he probably knew it wouldn't last long. Liston, like Tyson, had a bully's courage, which is no courage at all and collapses under any serious resistance.

Same shot that finished off Foreman after Ali had worn him down, or helped Foreman wear himself down.

You can see Ali set up Williams with that same counter right several times, although it wasn't as big a factor in that fight as it was against Folley, Liston and Foreman. Against the shuffling Williams footwork, Ali showed off his ability to punch hard while moving backward, and to briefly bring both feet together, leaning forward like a ballet dancer to toss improbably quicker left-right combos, yet never losing balance. I've never seen another boxer of any weight class who could pull off that move the way the pre-suspension Ali could.
You could also see Liston's left foot raise off the canvas upon running headlong into that right in the slo-mo. And Liston always had that bad bad habit of crouching with his chin up (much like Aaron Pryor when he pressures). That relies on keeping his face inside your punching zone but a hit-n-run artist can easily keep that punching distance. Kind of like Mayweather Jr. baiting Diego Corrales into chasing him around the ring and slipping those check hooks on him between his steps.

That's a bad way to get caught with a perfect straight right with your neck bent upwards like that. Liston's old sparring partner caught him like that when Liston just started to bend into a crouch to get inside on him but Leotis Martin read him like a book and timed that right hand perfectly.

Until meeting Earnie Shavers, Ali rarely got caught flush with right hands. But he was a sucker for a good left hooker. I only wish Ali had retired after Shavers. While most folks, including Ali himself, attribute his third bout against Frazier as the most grueling bout that sapped Ali's greatness, I believe it was Shavers who really did the most serious damage. That bout was frightening to watch.
Oh I totally agree. Frazier probably didn't do his liver and kidneys much good but those head shots that Shavers was landing on him earned Ali a whole other layer of respect from me. Guys on the street were all saying close call for Ali that day. And when Shavers showed up ready and fit he probably hit as hard as anybody in the division.

Ali definitely should have retired after the Shavers fight if not before. The Shavers fight pretty much made it a clean sweep of that stellar 70s heavyweight division....perhaps history's best heavyweight division. Nothing left to do but put red on your boxrec page after that.
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Old 06-07-16, 02:30 PM
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Reading the Ali thread reminded me of this post fight interview with Michael Spinks when Cosell invited Matthew (Franklin) Saad Muhammad up to the mic for a little possible fight promo. Well that fight never happened but I sure got a kick out of Spinks when he kept referring to Matthew as "Sad" at the very end of this video.

I never really thought that whole religious sect was a good fit for Ali although I'll call the man by whatever name he prefers. Basically he wound up a recruiting tool and hardly seemed to live much of a religious lifestyle insofar as taking advantage of opportunities with the ladies that famous fighters sometimes have.

Anyway that was one sweet uppercut/hook that Spinks took Marvin Johnson out with at 5:15 of this video. I'd seen that pressure fighting southpaw give pure hell to so many guys in that great late '70s/early '80s lightheavyweight division that I was dumbfounded to see him taken out quite so suddenly like that.

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Old 06-07-16, 04:03 PM
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Yeah, I remember Cosell's penchant for mangling names. And "sad" was an ironic portent for how most of Matthew Saad Muhammad's life went, before and after boxing. But he was exciting at his peak.

That was a great era for light heavies. Offhand I can recall those battles between Victor Galindez and Jorge Ahumada (who'd done so well against Bob Foster); Yaqui Lopez; Saad Muhammad; Marvin Johnson; Eddie Mustafa Muhammad; James Scott, who almost went all the way before being derailed by Jerry Martin; and Dwight (Braxton) Muhammad Qawi, built like a fireplug and twice as tough. There are probably another half dozen I've forgotten.

That's one of the reasons I'm inclined to regard Michael Spinks as one of the all time top three light heavies, and possibly the best of them all. He looked so awkward and ungainly it's difficult to see how he beat so many great fighters, but he did it. His style was a bit like Monzon's, also awkward, ungainly and very effective. Same jackhammer but pushing sort of left jab, although Spinks rolled his over from higher on the shoulder, guarding his chin and making it almost impossible to counter his jab.

Looking back at that fight against Marvin Johnson I can see how Mike Tyson's game plan identified Spinks' worst vulnerability -- his earmuff defense. Huge mistake against a guy with the most ferocious, short uppercut in boxing history.
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Old 06-07-16, 04:29 PM
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"I never really thought that whole religious sect was a good fit for Ali although I'll call the man by whatever name he prefers. Basically he wound up a recruiting tool and hardly seemed to live much of a religious lifestyle insofar as taking advantage of opportunities with the ladies that famous fighters sometimes have."
Regarding Ali, I'm almost sorry I let myself get suckered into that argument. I'd avoided it completely on Facebook. While my FB contacts who are also boxing fans are also big fans of Ali, there were too many side-snipers regurgitating the same tired stuff about Ali: the "phantom punch"; "draft dodger"; "white devils"; blah-blah-blah.

It sounded like one guy who'd memorized all that material in the 1960s and lived long enough to create hundreds of sockpuppets online to keep regurgitating the same cud.

And when you check their social media accounts, they're all cut out of the same mold, all spouting the same political and cultural memes. There's no space for a conversation or constructive debate. Everything turns into a battle of memes and cliches.

But, yeah, Ali was used by the Nation of Islam. I'm not sure what the last straw was, but some theories say that while Ali wasn't averse to the notion of adult women being regarded as concubines or part of a harem, he drew the line at the leaders taking advantage of underage girls. Only Ali and his closest confidants would know for sure.

I remember being approached on June 30, 1975, by some young men from the Nation of Islam at the arena where closed circuit TV was showing Ali vs Bugner, with an "undercard" featuring Monzon vs Licata, and Galindez vs Ahumada for the umpteenth rematch -- actually a remote other-cast, since the latter two bouts were at Madison Square Garden, while Ali vs Bugner was in Kuala Lumpur. Anyway, the fellows from the Nation of Islam were right out of the playbook, smartly dressed with bow ties, very courteous, willing to discuss the brochures they handed out but not pushy about it. They probably didn't even realize at the time that Ali was distancing himself from the Nation of Islam. I kept that brochure for years as a souvenir but eventually lost track of it.

I thought it was an interesting indicator of his continued personal growth that he moved away from Sunni Islam to Sufism late in life. It's unfortunate that his deteriorating health prevented him from continuing his earlier activities of visiting Islamic leaders around the world. He might have been able to contribute to restoring some semblance of balance.

Regarding his fondness for the ladies, meh. That's a common trait of powerful and charismatic men throughout the world and history. But Americans seem unnaturally preoccupied with one another's sexual activities while disregarding far more serious character flaws and corruptions. We fall for the same sleight of hand over and over.

Anyway, not implying any criticism of our discussion. I enjoy our banter. I usually avoid online discussions about boxing because it's almost invariably a cesspool of insults. Mostly I've been pondering the whole Ali thing. It's what got me interested in boxing as a kid, and eventually as an amateur. Now it's difficult to imagine a world without Ali, as George Foreman himself said so well this past weekend.
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Old 06-07-16, 04:44 PM
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either of you read the first chapter (the battle royale) of 'invisible man' by ralph ellison? it's pretty great.
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Old 06-07-16, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by eschlwc View Post
either of you read the first chapter (the battle royale) of 'invisible man' by ralph ellison? it's pretty great.

https://learning.hccs.edu/faculty/se...-ralph-ellison

I just now read it. Truly insane times.

Have you read the whole book? And if so, was it good?

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Old 06-07-16, 07:00 PM
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^ yeah. it's great. ellison's great.

i can also recommend richard wright's 'native son' and james baldwin's 'go tell it on the mountain.'
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