Friday, November 28, 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

    Shop-local focus highlights Small Business Saturday

    By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Looking for the gift of life

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

    The artistic process of a neighborhood legend

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis MRAP didn’t go far: Woodland

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Bob Dunning: MRAP your arms around this

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

     
    Holiday shopping in full gear

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Tell us your Putah Creek stories

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Gorilla death prompts S.F. Zoo changes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Explorit: Water expert will speak Dec. 15

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A3

     
    Ceremony Tuesday celebrates MU bus terminal

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Enterprise holiday decorating contest is back

    By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: A4

    Free bike clinic, ride set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Locals come through for families in need

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Travel the world at Logos Books

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Dormant-season pruning tips offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Junior high students set walkathon fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Horse owners needed for online survey

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Chamber of Commerce lays out 5-year plan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Flyway Nights talk focuses on sea otters of Elkhorn Slough

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Shakespeare folio discovered in France

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Students come together for sustainability

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Workshop will answer financial aid questions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Holiday gifts galore available at crafts fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Wolks share their unique perspective on Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Christmas Bird Count workshop planned Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Watch, then make, a holiday floral decoration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Behavior straining friendship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Cheers and Jeers: Thankfully, no jeers

    By Our View | From Page: A6

    Many thanks for a great benefit

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    It all started at the bookstore

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    What can we do to help?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    What if we really need it?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Elias: Utilities look to soak small users

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

     
    Seahawks shut down San Francisco

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Aggies out-Fox Utah State after dramatic Les shot to forces overtime

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Defense, depth lead Aggie women to home win

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Youth roundup: 10 titles for the Diamonds Level 3 gymnastics squad

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Mumbo Gumbo plays for post-Thanksgiving dance party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Horrible Bosses 2′: Fire ‘em all!

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Sonata evolves into more sophisticated car

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    John Walter Neves Jr.

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, November 28, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B3

     
    Comics: Friday, November 28, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: A10