December 19, 2021

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 5 comments

I hate boxing and never watch the sport. I grew up on Muhammad Ali and stuck around through Mike Tyson but the brutality became too much for me.

So when I find myself caring enough to click a link about the bouts of Jake Paul, it amazes me that the influencer dope pulled me in.

posted by rcade at 10:34 AM on December 19, 2021

Boxing seemed surreal when I was a kid. There would be sweat and blood flying around the ring and Howard Cosell would be ringside serenely dressed in a tuxedo drinking in the scene and uttering classic commentary such as "And ooh! Frazier's hurt!". And then trying to grab someone like Ferdie Pacheco to talk to in the chaotic aftermath of the fight. Howard seemed to relish being knocked around with all the jostling that ensued.

There was no pay per view so we had to listen to round by round summaries of fights like the Thrilla in Manila on the radio. It all seemed distant and unknowable. Which is why I was very gratified to watch the documentary When We Were Kings when it first came out.

posted by beaverboard at 12:49 PM on December 19, 2021

Boxing was the 3rd or 4th favorite sport for me long before I discovered basketball and hockey. I was a fan in the days of Kid Gavilan and his bolo punch (an uppercut with a windup); Sandy Saddler and Willie Pep were still boxing; Boston's own Tony DeMarco was fighting for the title, but he was robbed in Syracuse by hometown favorite Carmen Basilio. Rocky Marciano, another local boy from Brockton, MA, was rising to dominate the heavyweight division. I have probably forgotten a few, but the late 1940s through the mid 1950s were a great time for boxing.

Every Friday night was special for me. Since there was no school the following day, I could listen to the radio for an extra hour. I cannot forget hearing "The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports is on the air", and waiting anxiously to hear Bill Corum and Don Dunphy describe the action from Madison Square Garden. The broadcast always started with, "The organist Gladys Gooding, the soloist Bill Farrell, ladies and gentlemen our National Anthem"...

posted by Howard_T at 01:04 PM on December 20, 2021

Those are great references, Howard. Haven't heard of the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports in a while. That would've been a good name for this site.

posted by rcade at 11:45 PM on December 20, 2021

I used to really enjoy boxing on TV; that's where I first saw Earnie Shavers, Ali, Larry Holmes, Leon Spinks, Frazier, Foreman, et al. Later, when welterweights became big, I remember Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Livingstone Bramble, Boom Boom Mancini, Hector Camacho, Barry McGuigan, Aaron Pryor, and more. They were compelling characters, electrifying fighters, and they were on network TV. I believe I watched heavyweights on NBC, and the welterweights on CBS.

Pay-per-view is what lost me, particularly during the rise of Tyson, when a main event was over in five rounds or less, and there was no compelling undercard to hold my interest. The latest craze in celebrity combat sports holds absolutely no interest for me, although that likely speaks more to a generational thing than the quality of the combat.

Still, the way that Woodley appeared to blatantly throw that last fight to Paul was shocking, even to somebody who grew up during the bad ol' days of Don King-type corruption and thievery.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 08:29 PM on December 21, 2021

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