Boxing

Heavyweight singers: Muhammad Ali

Heavyweight singers: Muhammad Ali

For all their punching, blocking, and feinting, the heavyweight champions also did a fair amount of singing...

The "Kennedy Assassination of Boxing"

The "Kennedy Assassination of Boxing"

The second fight between Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali, on May 25, 1965, was controversial even before it took place.

Ali v. Evangelista

Ali v. Evangelista

This was the first time I got to see an Ali fight on television, live...It’s hard to describe how big Ali was by this time to people who didn’t grow up then...

Marciano v. Walcott II—the great anticlimax

Marciano v. Walcott II—the great anticlimax

Few champions had ever gained more praise in losing their title than did Jersey Joe Walcott when he was defeated by Rocky Marciano in 1952; unfortunately, the rematch in 1953 turned out to be a bitter disappointment. 

Anniversary of heavyweight bout: Corbett v. Jeffries

Anniversary of heavyweight bout: Corbett v. Jeffries

On this day in 1900, on Coney Island, heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries knocked out former champion James J. Corbett in the 23rd round of a fight scheduled for 25 rounds. The bout is famous for the brilliant performance of the 34-year-old Corbett...

Pull your pants up!

Pull your pants up!

Joe Frazier was a no-nonsense man, in the ring and out. There was never any pretense about him.  A small taste of those qualities came through in 2004, when he sat down with Esquire...

When Nellie Bly met the Great John L.

When Nellie Bly met the Great John L.

Two of nineteenth-century America’s most self-willed characters get together.

The anniversary of Ali's draft refusal

The anniversary of Ali's draft refusal

I argue that contrary to the version of the story so popular today, Ali did not refuse the draft out of political or moral principle but out of fear of disobeying the dictates of the Nation of Islam.

Heavyweight history with Cyd Charisse

Heavyweight history with Cyd Charisse

The magnificent Cyd Charisse recites the heavyweight lineage in the movie It's Always Fair Weather, 1955.

What it was like to fight Joe Louis

What it was like to fight Joe Louis

One of the best ways to get noticed in boxing in the 1930s and 1940s was to give Joe Louis a reasonable battle. "Some fellows put up better fights than others..."

Memorable quotes from heavyweight champs

Memorable quotes from heavyweight champs

The general impression of those who fight with their fists is that they're inarticulate, but the heavyweight champions had plenty to say, if you know where to look.

The Shakespearean Pugilist

The Shakespearean Pugilist

It was Tunney’s misfortune that the world—or at least, the sports world—just wasn’t ready for an athlete, especially a pugilist, who loved books and who genuinely believed in the classical ideal of a sound mind in a strong body.

Holyfield v. Moorer I, 1994

Holyfield v. Moorer I, 1994

On this day in 1994, Michael Moorer became the first southpaw (left-handed) heavyweight champion, beating Evander Holyfield on a debatable 12-round decision.

Remembering Holyfield v. Foreman

Remembering Holyfield v. Foreman

The Battle of the Ages, as it was called--Holyfield was 28, Foreman 42--was better than most anticipated but not nearly as good as it is now remembered.

Dempsey and Kearns

Dempsey and Kearns

Jack (Doc) Kearns was a wily, shifty, ruthless, brilliant, amoral, conniving, and shrewd boxing manager.

Big Jeff

Big Jeff

James J. Jeffries was born on this day in 1875. Known by fighting nicknames the Boilermaker...the California Grizzly Bear, or just Big Jeff, Jeffries held the heavyweight title from 1899 to 1904...

Who's best?

Who's best?

Most serious historians today agree on the top two slots...but from Number 3 on, it's pretty much wide open.

Remembering Joe Louis

Remembering Joe Louis

Thirty-six years ago today, Joe Louis died in Las Vegas at age 66. Fittingly, he made his final public appearance at a fight...

"People have got to feel grateful to those who entertain them"

"People have got to feel grateful to those who entertain them"

...don't let the Victorian fighting pose fool you: this was one rough customer. 

Jack Johnson: never a dull moment

Jack Johnson: never a dull moment

...one of my toughest tasks in writing my Johnson chapter was having to cut so much interesting stuff about him, especially his time in Europe and Mexico...