First off, today the NY Times profiles Christina Cruz, a U.S. Olympic boxing team hopeful who trains at Gleason’s. It’s a great story and I wish her all the luck in the world!
I watched a bunch of Mike Tyson highlight reel footage DVRed from ESPN Classic the other night – mostly early stuff, when they’d just put a random dude of questionable boxing ability in front of him and he’d knock him out in the first round, but a few of the iconic fights as well. I think Mike Tyson is a terrible human being who treats women reprehensibly, which is probably why I haven’t sat down and studied him all that carefully. I remember watching him in his prime a couple of times when I was a kid, but I didn’t really know what I was looking at from a boxing perspective. Mainly, I’m impressed – there are many fighters who are as fast as he is and many fighters with as much strategy as he has, but those two things combined with the sheer power behind his punches makes him really stand out.
Also, I was watching more assorted Tyson footage on Youtube during my lunch break, but had the sound muted and my own music playing. I felt better somehow that that music was angry chick folk. Which always reminds me of a boxing class I once took at my old gym, about six or seven years ago. The instructor, your typical boxing-instructor badass type, generally brought in a mix tape or CD of various hip-hop or rock to accompany our circuits. One evening when it was time to start our circuits, he dug around in his bag for a cassette and came up with something unlabeled and homemade. I nearly fell over when he pressed “play” and we were all greeted with the opening riff of “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls. Luckily, he had something a little angrier and less contemplative and all was well. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t spectacularly entertaining to watch Mike Tyson flooring people as I listened to the entire “Rites of Passage” album this afternoon.
Finally, here is a list of some highly DVR-able classic fights airing on ESPN Classic this week:
Wednesday, 4:00-5:00 A.M.: Rocky Marciano’s Greatest Hits
Friday, 2:00-3:00 A.M.: Joe Louis vs. Billy Conn I and II (read more on this matchup at Eastside Boxing)
Saturday, 12:00-11:00 P.M.: Classic boxing matches all afternoon and evening, starting with three title bouts featuring junior lightweight Hector Camacho and wrapping up with Holyfield/Foreman at 10. If you, like me, have stuff to do around the house all day, this might make the perfect background noise.