Thursday, October 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Boxing has passed me by; the Sweet Science is lacking

BruceGallaudetW

By
From page B1 | April 25, 2014 |

What do David Haye, Francesco Damiani, Herbie Hide, Oliver McCall and Bruce Seldon have in common?

Nope. Not on the Cooking Channel. They don’t sell Davis real estate. None are running for our City Council.

Give up?

Each has owned a recent piece of boxing’s alphabet-soup heavyweight title. Seriously.

Looking back over those names made the Jersey Boy in me shudder.

Having been born in Jersey City, I’m a little goofy to begin with. Pinball, pool, horse racing, boxing. They’re in our East Coast DNA.

I even have some Old School mob in my family. In 1970 when I borrowed my Uncle Bob’s car to drive to Asbury Park, he had these words of advice for me: “Bruce, take the Volkswagen. They know the Cadillac.”

I always meant to ask my uncle who “They” were.

But I digress. It’s been 30 years since I followed what some misinformed corner man dubbed the Sweet Science.

I remember — even as a 10-year-old — the regal placement of the sport in America’s psyche.

Heavyweight champions were American heroes. Role models. Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott, Rocky Marciano …

Marciano’s 56-0 record, his retirement in 1956 and unfortunate death in a plane crash are vivid memories, almost 60 years later.

As an eighth-grader, I took the No. 5 bus from Hawthorne to the Olympic Auditorium in L.A. to watch Saturday night fights. (Anyone remember Windmill Ray White?)

I was at the Los Angeles Coliseum for a Dodger game in June of 1960 when Floyd Patterson lost the title to Ingemar Johansson. The mix of Vin Scully on the Dodger broadcast and Don Dunphy’s call of the title fight blew out my crystal radio that memorable evening.

A big Patterson fan, I was a happy teenager when Floyd beat Johansson in the rematch. Saddened when Sonny Liston next beat down Patterson, I then rejoiced when Cassius Clay came on the scene, stopping “the big, ugly bear” twice.

For me, boxing maintained its intrigue throughout the ’60s and ’70s.

The Muhammed Ali-Joe Frazier series stands among the great rivalries in sports history.

Buoyed by Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, Schoolboy Bobby Chacon, George Foreman and Irish Frankie Crawford and the Quarry Brothers, I stuck with the sport until the WBC, NYSAC, WBA, IBF, WBO and all the warring boxing acronyms made a mockery of the titles.

When Leon Spinks beat an aging Ali in 1978 — and the World Boxing Council vacated its version of the crown because Spinks didn’t fight “mandatory challenger” Ken Norton — the sport lost me.

But boxing’s rich history — something I began studying as a fourth-grader — has never left me.

So  the other day, when I heard that Wladimir Klitschko will defend his versions (IBF, WBO and WBA) of the crown against Alex Leapai this Saturday, I shrugged.

First off, I didn’t know this Klitschko wasn’t the other Klitschko (Vitali, the leader of the Ukrainian Alliance for Democratic Reform and former something-or-other boxing champ).

Then, I discovered only Joe Louis held a heavyweight title (an undisputed championship) longer than Klitschko has (the Ukrainian won two versions of the crown in 2008).

Another shrug.

I’ve never seen the Ukrainian throw a punch. I don’t know who his challenger is. I don’t know who he’s fought and no longer care anyway.

Even with the current saga of his Ukrainian homeland in the background, how can any storyline top something like the lifelong relationship of ring rivals Louis and Max Schmeling? Few tales play out the way Schmeling fought Louis in dramatic 1930s politically tinged bouts with the Third Reich’s image on display, then resisted Hitler and later in life aided the stricken and struggling Louis.

I used to pride myself on boxing knowledge. My dad tells me I went toe-to-toe in the late 1950s with Dr. Joyce Brothers on the $64,000 Challenge. Brothers had dazzled the TV game show with her boxing knowledge, winning the top prize in both 1957 and again in 1959. Pops says: “You weren’t far behind. A champion in our living room.”

I still occasionally puff out when Jeopardy! has a boxing category.

“Who was Ezzard Charles, Alex?”

But boxing in 2014 leaves me cold.

The one thing our family takes away from this Klitschko guy is his relationship with actress Hayden Panettiere. Apparently the two are getting married, and since my wife likes the “Nashville” television show that features Panettiere, I guess we’re rooting for Wladimir this weekend.

— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or 530-320-4456.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Davis Innovation Center application gives city options

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Pioneer students meet K-9 Officer Dexter

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Versatile cycling contributor Casale Jr. heads to Hall of Fame

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Leading indicators up 0.8%

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Huge gold nugget going up for sale

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Police warn of IRS phone scam

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Canada stunned by attacks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    High-flying fun at University Airport

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Arboretum plant sale is Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Parents’ Night Out on Friday at Pole Line Baptist

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Military Families seek help to send Hugs from Home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Day of the Dead observance focuses on refugee children

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Mercer Clinic benefits from pooch costume pics

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    DPNS has play group, preschool openings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    UCD Vet Med hosts animal ‘adoptathon’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Day of the Dead folk art class set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Carlton invites community to its Haunted Harvest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Fly-casting champion will speak to fishing enthusiasts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Check out classic cars once again

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Flea Market planned Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    A nose for mysteries: ‘Cadaver dog’ work more accepted by cops, courts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Cooperatives meet community needs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Co-op trivia

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Author visits Woodland for community book project

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    We support Archer, Adams

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    We need Sunder on board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    A leader our schools deserve

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Knowledgeable, experienced

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    I support John Garamendi

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    We have confidence in Madhavi

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    Our view: Two more years for Garamendi

    By Our View | From Page: B4

    Two are especially qualified

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    A force for good on board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    .

    Sports

    Davis tennis team takes title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Picture-perfect: DHS field hockey finishes 14-0

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devils look for first home victory

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

     
    Aggie men beat Cal Poly, 1-0; alone at the top

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Giants loss evens World Series at 1-1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil soccer loss sets up important final week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    JV/frosh roundup: DHS underclassmen shine in water polo events

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: Hurricanes handle American River twice in one day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Girl Scouts join effort to keep kids healthy

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Hand sanitizer versus soap and water

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

     
    Name Droppers: Foster parent heads to First 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Arts

    If it can go wrong it will go wrong

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A10

     
     
    San Francisco Symphony visits with conductor/pianist Zacharias

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    DMTC plans Halloween karaoke fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    The Rhythm Future Quartet plays at Village Homes Community Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    All are welcome at Fun Time Follies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    DHS Madrigals plan traditional English winter celebration

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    ‘Under the Covers’ concert benefits KDRT

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Jam with folk musicians on Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Dorothy Foytik

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Mariana Brumbaugh Henwood

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, October 23, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B10