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Category: Sports

10 Self-Defense Tips from Boxer Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey, the Heavyweight Champion who many call the Greatest Heavyweight Fighter of the 20th Century wrote a book on self-defense.

Jake Rosen and Mental_Floss present 10 Self-Defense Tips from Boxer Jack Dempsey.  If you click over you can see all 10 tips as well as a pdf of Dempsey’s book.  In the mean time, here’s my top three tips…

Has a hooligan drawn you into a physical confrontation? Before you even think about raining blows upon him, consider your arena: “Let me suggest that any time you are about to be drawn into a fight, keep your head and make a split-second survey of your surroundings,” Dempsey cautions. “Decide immediately whether you have fighting-room and whether you have good footing. If you haven’t, try to force your opponent to shift to another battleground, where your knowledge of fighting will leave the percentage in your favor. Yell at him, for example: ‘Okay, wise guy! You want to fight! Let’s see if you’ve got the guts to come out into the street and fight me like a man!’”

This, Dempsey says, will allow you to avoid obstacles and crowds, “so that you’ll be able to knock his head off when you get him where you can fight without footing handicaps.”

Any pro will tell you that straight punches are the key to victory: Wild, looping punches dilute your guard and lack precision. Dempsey is no different. “Some current fighters attempt a long-range right upper-cut called the ‘bolo’ punch. They even attempt to lead with it. Let me warn you that the bolo is more showy than explosive. It’s more dangerous to the user than to his opponent. The bolo, or any long-range uppercut, is merely an underhanded swing. And you know that any type of swing, against a good straight puncher, signals to the mortician.”


The number one obstacle to victory in any altercation, Dempsey writes, is fatigue. “True, your opponent also may be getting fatigued; but you can’t be certain about his exact condition unless he’s blowing and staggering. You know for sure only that you’re nearly ‘all in,’ and that he’s still out there swinging at you. Accordingly, the longer he keeps fighting, the less chance you have of winning; but the greater chance you have of being battered, cut up, knocked down, knocked out, or injured.”

The “Manassa Mauler” has practical advice to combat this issue. “Because of the danger in a fist-fight, it is imperative that you end the brawl as quickly as possible; and the best way to do that is by a knockout. The knockout is far more important in fist-fighting than in boxing, YOU’VE GOT TO KNOCK ‘EM OUT IN FIST-FIGHTS.”

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Mike Tyson vs. James ‘Buster’ Douglas: An Oral History of Boxing’s Most Remarkable Upset

If you’re a boxing fan you won’t want to miss Eric Raskin’s excellent Mike Tyson vs. James ‘Buster’ Douglas: An Oral History of Boxing’s Most Remarkable Upset.

Mike Tyson, Buster Douglas, Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant, the fighters’ trainers and others all weigh in on the events and fight that was the greatest upset in boxing and perhaps sports history!


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Joe Kubert’s Cover for Superman vs Muhammad Ali

My guess is that nearly all of you have seen the cover above created by Neal Adams for the Superman vs Muhammad Ali treasury comic.

Seen it.  Owned it.  Old news, right?

Well, how many of you knew that Joe Kubert created the original cover (see below) Apparently Ali’s folks weren’t happy with The People’s Champ‘s likeness, so Neal Adams was brought in to do the book.

Source: David J. Spurlock.

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Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson – R.I.P.

Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson died yesterday from heart complications at the age of 42.

Ferguson rose to fame after a series of videos showing him participating in one-on-one backyard brawls for money became an internet sensation.  Because of the popularity of the fight videos and his charismatic personality, Ferguson was able to become a professional MMA fighter (for EliteXC, UFC and Bellator), an undefeated professional boxer and even a movie actor.  People tuned in to see Ferguson fight and his bouts were always entertaining.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson’s family, friends and fans.

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Muhammad Ali – Rest in Peace

Muhammad Ali, Olympic Boxing Gold Medal winner, three time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and world icon passed away yesterday.  Ali had suffered for 32 years with Parkinson’s disease.  He was 74.

Before I went to bed Friday night the reports were coming in that Ali was in the hospital on life support.  Things didn’t sound good, but Muhammad Ali had overcome great odds before.

I can’t say I was shocked (that would come later) when my wife woke me at about 2am to say that Ali had died.  We had fallen asleep with the bedroom tv on and she woke up to the news.

The next morning reports and rememberances of Muhammad Ali were all over the tv and internet.  And rightly so.  Muhammad Ali was the self-proclaimed “Greatest” who later was ready to give up the braggadocio title, but could not because the world had accepted it as reality.  Muhammad Ali transcended boxing.  Especially to those of us old enough to remember his start as Cassius Clay.

In 1960, at the young age of 18, Cassius Clay won the Gold Medal in Olympic boxing.  He was an American Hero and ready to become a professional boxer.  Yet when Clay returned to the states, he was refused service at a diner because he was black.  In 1963, Clay became a American Muslim but kept it a secret.

In 1964, the undefeated Clay (19 – 0) got a title shot against the Heavyweight Champ, Sonny Liston.  Liston was heavily favored because of his knockout power, his intimidating presence and reputation as a thug.  Liston would be a man fighting a boy.  Clay taunted Liston prior to the fight and backed up the taunts with a 6th round TKO.

After winning the title, Clay announced his conversion to the Muslim faith and his name change to Muhammad Ali.  Although this didn’t sit well with some of his fans, Ali stayed true to his beliefs.

Ali gave Liston a rematch and knocked him out in the first round. Ali then went on to win 8 more title matches before being stripped of his title in 1967 for refusing to comply with the draft due to religious reasons.  Ali was convicted of draft evasion and sentenced to five years in prison.  Although released on appeal, Ali was not allowed to fight or leave the country, so he took to the lecture circuit to speak out for civil rights.  In 1971, Ali won his appeal and could once again box.  Still, he had lost 4 years of his prime.

Ali’s comeback fight was against Jerry Quarry.  I remember watching the fight on tv with my dad.  Ali won in by TKO in 3 rounds.  Ali had another fight which he won before challenging Joe Frazier for the title.

The fight against Frazier was the first of their 3 meetings.  It went 15 rounds in what some called the “Fight of the Century” and ended with a unanimous decision for Joe Frazier.  It was Ali’s first loss.

Between 1971 and 1973, Ali reeled off 10 more wins.  Then he fought Ken Norton and lost on a split decision.  Ali went through most of the fight with a broken jaw.  Seven months later Norton and Ali fought again, but this time Ali won the split decision.

In 1974, Ali and Frazier II took place.  I remember listening to the radio for round-by-round updates to learn that Ali won on a split decision.  Ali and Frazier were now 1 and 1.  Ali’s win put him in line for the title shot against George Foreman.

Foreman was 40 – 0 with most of his wins by KO or TKO.  Ali was the underdog, but as we all know won by 8th round KO.  Ali defended his title 3 more times and then was ready for the rematch with Frazier.

The fight went 12 brutal rounds before Ali won by a unanimous decision.  Ali jumped into another brutal battle when 9 months later he took on George Foreman in a bout Ali won by KO in the 8th.

Ali’s next fight (which he won by TKO in the 15th), against Chuck Wepner, inspired Sylvester Stallone to create Rocky.  Ali racked up two more wins and then it was time for the rubber match with Frazier.

Dubbed, by Ali, “The Thrilla in Manila,” the fight went 14 brutal rounds before Ali won by TKO.  Ali would fight six more times including wins over Ken Norton and Ernie Shavers before Ali signed to fight Olympic Gold Medalist Leon Spinks.

The fight was televised and I remember watching it.  Ali didn’t look to be in the best of shape perhaps taking Spinks too lightly.  As the fight went the 15 rounds it became obvious that it would be a close decision… and it was.  Spinks won via split decision and became the new Heavyweight Champion.

The Spinks – Ali rematch was set up 7 months later and Ali came back in much better shape winning a unanimous decision.  Ali retired after that fight only to come back two years later to lose by TKO in the 10th to Champion, Larry Holmes.  The following year Ali lost a 10 round decision to Trevor Berbick and then retired for good.

Most fighters when they finally retire slowly drift away from the public’s consciousness.  Not so with Muhammad Ali who over the years had increased his popularity through displays of his wit and charm with appearances on many entertainment programs.  So people were shocked to learn just a year after Ali had retired from boxing that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

That didn’t stop Ali from traveling the world to promote humanitarian causes.  In 1985 Ali went to Lebanon and in 1990 to Iraq to broker the release of American hostages. When the Olympics were in Atlanta in 1996, Ali was chosen to light the Olympic flame.  In 2005, President George W. Bush honored Ali with the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest award a civilian can achieve.

Muhammad Ali was a boxer who transcended boxing. Ali’s popularity wasn’t limited to the United States or people that shared his same faith.  Ali was a man of the world, a true people’s champion.  And it will be a long time before we ever see another like him.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Muhammad Ali’s family, friends and fans.

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116 Amazing Facts for People Who Like Amazing Facts

Alvin Ward and Mental_Floss present 116 Amazing Facts for People Who Like Amazing Facts.  Here are three of my favorites…

50. Roger Ebert and Oprah Winfrey went on a couple dates in the mid-1980s. It was Roger who convinced her to syndicate her talk show.

62. Dolly Parton once entered a Dolly Parton look-a-like contest—and lost.

74. Herbert Hoover was Stanford’s football team manager. At the first Stanford-Cal game in 1892, he forgot to bring the ball.

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R.I.P. – Clyde Lovellette

Clyde Lovellette passed away yesterday at the age of 86 from cancer.

If you’re a die-hard basketball fan, you probably know that Hall of Famer, Clyde Lovellette was the first player to win an N.C.A.A. championship, an Olympic gold medal and an N.B.A. title.  That puts Clyde Lovellette in the same stratosphere as Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan… of course Mr. Lovellette got there first.

Clyde Lovellette played 11 seasons in the NBA and was a player on three championship teams [one with the Minneapolis Lakers and two with the Boston Celtics].  Of course before he was in the NBA, Lovellette had a great college career at Kansas… and before that an outstanding high school career at Garfield High in Terre Haute, Indiana.

And that’s where my knowledge of Clyde Lovellette comes into play.  When I was a kid, Clyde Lovellette was the Sheriff of Vigo County.  Terre Haute is in Vigo County and that is where I was born and grew up.  Clyde Lovellette lived one block from me.

We all knew Clyde Lovellette as The Sheriff.  He reminded us of Matt Dillon and at 6’9″ he was just an imposing figure.  I have just a few memories of interacting with Mr. Lovellette.  A couple of times hanging out on the front porch of his house talking to neighborhood kids and another time when he came to a Collett Elementary “fair.”  He had a portable “jail” and kids could buy tickets to have other kids put in jail with Sheriff Lovelette keeping guard.

We didn’t know then how famous Mr. Lovelette was or would become.  We just knew him as a man who kept us safe and took the time to come to our school to help us raise money.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Clyde Lovellette’s family, friends and fans.

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Bike Parkour, Anyone?

Bike Parkour, anyone?

All of the stunts are pretty impressive, but riding over the bridge and also along the thin guard rail hundreds of feet above the ocean are life-threatening… and I’m just talking about the fear of those who dare to watch.

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RIP – Meadow George Lemon III aka “Meadowlark” Lemon

Meadow George Lemon III better known as “Meadowlark” Lemon of Harlem Globetrotters fame passed away today at the age of 83.

Meadowlark played “before Kings, Queens, Presidents, Popes,” and millions of fans in over 100 countries of the world during his career with the Globetrotters which ran from 1954 – 1979 and over 16,000 games.  Dubbed the “Clown Prince of Basketball” Lemon became the face of the Globetrotters and one of the most recognized athletes in the world.

Lemon’s popularity led to commercials, tv and movie roles and two Harlem Globetrotter animated series.  In 1993, fourteen years after retiring, Lemon returned to the Globetrotters for a 50 game come-back tour.  In 2003, Lemon was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame which was just one of the many honor and awards Lemon earned throughout his life.

Lemon was a born-again Christian and in 1986 became an ordained minister.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Meadow George Lemon III’s family, friends and fans.

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15 Punchy Facts About “Raging Bull”

Eric D. Snider and Mental_Floss present 15 Punchy Facts About Raging Bull.  Here are three of my favorites…

Comparisons to that other Oscar-winning boxing movie from four years earlier were inevitable, but the two were actually connected. Rocky was produced by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, and released by United Artists. When those same producers approached that same studio about doing another boxing movie, the studio said, “A sequel to Rocky? Sure!” That wasn’t what they had in mind (though they did soon enough), but in the meantime, Rocky’s huge success was enough to sell UA on another boxing movie.

It’s strange to imagine Raging Bull without the Joe Pesci character, but that’s how Mardik Martin’s first drafts had it. He was adapting LaMotta’s 1970 memoir, Raging Bull: My Story, co-authored by LaMotta’s lifelong friend Peter Savage (born Peter Petrella). The book didn’t feature Joey as a prominent character, and it had Savage doing most of the things that Joey would eventually do in the movie. When Schrader was hired to build on the work Martin had done and take another stab at the screenplay, he decided the story would be more compelling if it involved brothers rather than friends (blood ties and all that), so he introduced the Joey character and excised poor old Pete. This creative license proved problematic later, when Joey LaMotta sued for defamation because the movie had attributed to him a number of unwholesome deeds (like beating the crap out of a neighborhood mobster) that had actually been perpetrated by Savage.

Pesci had been a professional actor and musician (he sang and played guitar) off and on since childhood, but he called it quits in the 1970s. His 1975 Broadway show with comedy partner Frank Vincent (whom he would later recruit to play Salvy in Raging Bull) had closed after a week, and his first movie, 1976’s The Death Collector (also featuring Vincent), was a flop. But Robert De Niro happened to see that film in 1978, and was so impressed by Pesci’s performance that he pitched him to Scorsese. The two tracked Pesci down and called him at his restaurant to coax him out of showbiz retirement.

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