Posts Tagged ‘nigel benn’

 
Every fan of a sport has a moment or a personality they can look back upon as a main reason for the love of the respective sport. For football fans that can often be fond childhood memories of bonding moments with their father. For boxing fans it’s often something else. For me it began with a book of all things.

As a child my father worked night shifts and often fell asleep on the couch during the middle of the day on weekends. Being a man with a temper, especially when awoken from his mid-day slumber, my brother and I as small children didn’t want to risk a beating by waking him and often went searching for things to occupy our time. 

Television only managed to take up small portions of time as we couldn’t channel hop because the different sounds or light flickers created by changing channel would wake the man. Board games were too noisy because of dice rolls. Going outside wasn’t an option because the door opening and closing would certainly interrupt sleep.

The answer was usually going upstairs to search out things to do. On one search I found a book about boxing. This book was the authors favorite heavyweight fights throughout history, and it was old. I believe the most recent fight noted in the book was the “Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. 

In this book I read about the bout noted above. I read about the battles between Ali and Joe Frazier, Floyd Patterson’s series with Ingemar Johansson. Of all the fights in the book, there were two that captured my attention to the point that every chance I got I would go back to read them again. The first was Jack Dempsey’s rematch with the man who had taken his title, Gene Tunney – the bout forever remembered for the “long count”.

The other bout that forever stayed with me was the undefeated heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano taking on the grizzled veteran Archie Moore in what would ultimately prove to be Marciano’s last fight. Reading about how the challenger had spent years developing his solar plexus counter punch and took his time to wait for Marciano to leave him an opportunity to use it. Reading how the underdog put the champion down face first with a perfect counter, only for Marciano to get back to his feet to stop his challenger gave me a thirst to watch boxing.

  
Since those early days as a child reading that book in an attempt not to wake my father and face the wrath that would bring boxing has been in my blood. I sought out and watched each and every fight written about in the book and was not disappointed with a single one. 

I then moved on to find active boxers to cling to immerse myself in. Growing up in England in the 80’s I was introduced to Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, two fighters whose paths crossed in two of the most entertaining bouts I’ve ever seen. First at Middleweight when the unfancied Eubank dug deep to dethrone the champion Benn, then a second time when both fighters left everything they had in the ring and fought to a draw in their super middleweight contest – a draw that saved both men from becoming Don King fighters.

  
There have been many more over the years whose careers I’ve watched develop from their first bouts on fuzzy YouTube videos captured on phones from the crowd to their debuts on televised and PPV broadcasts. In spite of all I’ve seen since, that book is where it began for me. What put boxing in your heart?

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