Posts Tagged ‘Mohammad Ali

02
Jan
17

Women’s Boxing Circa 2017

Women’s Boxing Circa 2017

serrano-zarika-ii-photo-by-marilyn-paulino

Amanda Serrano defending title against Calixita Silgado, July 30, 2016. Photo Credit: Behind The Gloves

While women’s boxing has been around since “modern” boxing began in the 1720s, its place in American sports consciousness began with a trickle in the 1950s and grew to a steady flow by the late 1990s before petering back in the late 2000s.

Boxer Christy Martin’s bout against Irish fighter Deirdre Gogarty on the undercard of a Mike Tyson pay-per-view championship in 1996, put women’s boxing on the “map.” Not two weeks later Martin was on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in her characteristic pink boxing attire, and for the likes of boxing impresarios Don King and Bob Arum, it was a race to find other female fighters to add to the undercard of boxing bouts.

cover-christymartin-si

Such fighters as Lucia Rijker and Mia St. John, while not household names by any means, were becoming known in the boxing community—and even sported decent pay days that could be numbered in the thousands rather than the hundreds. At the same time, women’s boxing became a sanctioned amateur sport leading to the development of a national team in the late 1990s. The beginnings of international amateur competition began in 2001 coinciding with the legalization of the sport in countries across the world.

In the United States, the entry of Mohammad Ali’s daughter Leila Ali along with other boxing “daughters” such as Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, thrust the sport into the realm of popular culture including covers of TV Guide and a myriad of talk show appearances. With Leila Ali’s ascendency, however, other American female boxers of the period such as Ann Wolfe, Belinda Laracuente, and Layla McCarter, could not find traction on pay-per-view cards or on cable, despite excellent boxing skills (frankly much better than Ali’s) and by 2010, it was hard if not impossible to find female boxing on American television.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-3-21-11-pm

At the same time, internationally at least, women’s boxing was in an ascendency in such places as Mexico, Argentina, South Korea, and Japan, not only with opportunities for decent fights, but reasonable paydays, and most importantly, fights which were broadcast on television—and continue to be to this day, with female bouts routinely marketed as the “main event.”

International amateur women’s boxing was also on the ascendency culminating in the inclusion of women’s boxing as an Olympic sport in the 2012 Games in London. For such European fighters as Ireland’s Katie Taylor and England’s Nicola Adams, winning gold medals became very important national achievements leading to endorsements and other opportunities, not the least of which was recognition of their place in history and as role models for younger women and girls. For America’s boxing phenomenon, Claressa Shields, who at 17 was the first American female to ever win a gold medal for boxing, the usual promise of Olympic gold endorsements never appeared, and any sense that the inclusion of women’s boxing in the Olympics would perhaps enable a resurgence of the sport in the United States did not materialize. The other American female medalist who won a bronze in the 2012 Games, Marlen Esparza, had slightly better luck in winning endorsements, with adds for Coca Cola and Cover Girl, and a certain amount of traction in the Hispanic community, but otherwise, her Bronze had little effect on the sport as a whole.

In fact, women’s professional boxing has remained virtually absent from the airways in the United States with very, very few exceptions over the past eight years—and in fact, with respect to national exposure, i.e., network television or nationally televised cable boxing programs (ESPN, et al), such instances can be counted on one hand between 2012 and 2016.

The exceptions have been certain local fight cards such as New York City-based promoter DiBella Entertainment’s Broadway Boxing series, which have promoted and televised female bouts on local cable television channels. The same was true of a few of boxing champion Holly Holm’s fights in her local New Mexico market.

Some women’s bouts are also available live from time to time on US or internationally based internet pay channels at anywhere from $10 to $50 a pop. Otherwise, the only other means of watching female bouts has been on YouTube and other video services, where promoters may upload fights days after the bout. Viewers have also come to rely on uploads from fans that record all or some portions of female bouts. The clips are uploaded to social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and now Facebook Live, in addition to YouTube, Vimeo, et al. Additionally, it is possible to watch international female professional boxing bouts via satellite television. International amateur female boxing tournaments are also available on occasion for website viewing, and certainly women’s boxing in the 2012 and 2016 games were available on the NBC Sports website, albeit, after much searching.

Three of the handful of professional female bouts broadcast since the 2012 London Games included, boxing champion Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano’s six-round bout which was televised on a CBS Sports boxing program on May 29, 2015, boxer Maureen “The Real Million Dollar Baby” Shea’s pay-per-view title bout on a Shane Mosley fight card broadcast in August 29, 2015, and the last nationally broadcast women’s bout on NBCSN, which pitted two highly popular local North East fighters Heather “The Heat” Hardy and Shelley “Shelito’s Way” Vincent for the vacant WBC international female featherweight title on August 21, 2016. This latter fight was the first female bout to be broadcast under the new upstart Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) promotion arm that has brought boxing back to broadcast television on NBC and CBS, as well as broadcasting on cable television outlets including Spike TV, NBCSN, and ESPN.

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-3-22-50-pm

Heather Hardy (R) defeated Shelito Vincent by MD in their ten round slug fest on August 21, 2016. Photo Credit: Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment

Four months on from the PBC broadcast, with a second Olympic cycle resulting in Claressa Shields winning her second back-to-back gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games – the first American boxer, male or female to have won that distinction – the status of women’s boxing in the United States is at a crossroads of sorts.

Since 2012, mixed-martial arts (MMA) have made significant inroads across platforms on cable, broadcast and internet-based telecasts. Moreover, this increase in visibility has come at the detriment of boxing—with more and more advertising dollars being thrown towards MMA contests. Of significance, however, has been the increasing popularity of women’s MMA (WMMA)—especially since UFC, the premier MMA league added female MMA fighters to their roster. Beginning on February 23, 2013 (UFC157), UFC began broadcasting WMMA bouts.

With the announcer declaring it a “gigantic cultural moment,” Ronda Rousey, a former bronze winning Olympian in Judo, and the Strikeforce* bantamweight WMMA champion, easily defeated her opponent Liz Carmouche with a classic “arm bar” move and in so doing, established a new first for women’s martial sports. Rousey went on to capture the imagination of country with her girl-next-door looks, winning ways, and eventual appearance in films such as The Expendables 3 and Furious 7. This catapult of a female warrior in gloves (albeit not boxing gloves) to include being only the second female fighter to ever appear on the cover of Ring Magazine (to much consternation by the boxing community), did not, however, have any particular visible effect on the fortunes of female boxing, per se,

Her first loss, however, in UFC 193 on November 15, 2015, was to a female boxer turned MMA fighter, Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm. A highly experienced female boxing champion, Holm’s boxing career of (33-3-2, 9-KOs) while very impressive, never led to the kind of breakout name recognition or big dollar paydays that should have been her due, given her talents, and caliber of many of her opponents including bouts with such boxing royalty as Christy Martin and Mia St. John (albeit later in their careers), British boxing star Jane Couch who single-handedly created women’s boxing in England, and the truly fearsome French fighter, Anne Sophie Mathis. Ensconced in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Holm enjoyed a loyal following and excellent local coverage, and while she was a known quantity in the boxing community; it was only with her forays into MMA that she was able to break through to a larger audience and a chance at bigger paydays and television exposure.

rs_1024x759-151115105326-1024-ronda-rousey-ufc-defeat-cm-111515

The irony of a Rousy’s loss to a boxer was not lost on the boxing community (nor has the fact that Rousey’s recent loss in UFC207 was due to her inability to defend against her opponents unrelenting boxing “strikes”). A growing number of boxing writers who have also begun to champion the place of women in the sport with such features as Ring Magazine‘s monthly feature by Thomas Gerbasi.

November 2016 brought a flurry of attention to women’s boxing. Claressa Shields appearance on the November 19th Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward fighting a four-rounder against former foe and USA National champion in the amateurs, Franchon Crews not only ended in a unanimous win on the cards, but the chance to see the fight live as a free streaming event. Shields has been quoted as saying, “It’s definitely a big deal, and it’s a big deal for women’s boxing, period …We really wanted a fight where we could put on a show.”

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-3-32-13-pm

Claressa Shields delivering a straight right to Franchon Crews in their four round professional debut on November 19, 2016. Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Locher

Boxing writers and Shields herself have asked if this will be the launch point for women’s boxing—and with Claressa Shields recent appearance on the cover of Ring Magazine in celebration of her remarkable back-to-back Olympic gold medal appearances, she is certainly an important figure to be reckoned with as 2017 looms—not to mention her 77-1 boxing record in the amateurs.

Ireland’s Katie Taylor also be turned professional in England in early December, and quickly racked up to back-to-back wins with the second one also broadcast live on Showtime’s streaming online service.

Additionally, in late November, Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President at Showtime stated they intended to include female boxing on the network in 2017—a first since 2009. Espinoza has been flirting with the idea of putting a female bout back on the air for the last couple of years—and has paid keen interest in the success of DiBella Entertainment’s local fight cards that have included such female fighters as Amanda Serrano, Heather Hardy, and Shelito Vincent.

In an interview with The Sweet Science, Espinoza is quoted as saying; “It’s been on our to-do list for a couple of years. It’s really at its capacity. But we made a decision we are going to prioritize it.”

The first event is slated to be a WBO women’s world super bantamweight championship with the remarkably talented Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano (30-1-1) set to fight Yazmin Rivas (35-9-1) in what promises to be a hard fought bout between two technically proficient warriors.

AIBAs (the world international amateur boxing association) rules change just this past week may be the most far-reaching. All women’s amateur elite bouts will now be contested with in three rounds of three minutes each. The parity of the rounds and number of minutes per round is a first in the amateur world—and while elite men will still contest without helmets, there is further discussion of this otherwise controversial rules change that took effect before the Olympics in 2016.

With respect to the number of minutes per round—the normalization of the three-minute round will, in my estimation put pressure on the pros to accept this change, especially as amateurs with experience in the changed format turn professional. Given that in MMA men and women contest using the name number of rounds and same number of minutes per round, there will certainly be more impetus to push through three minute boxing rounds for women. Some states allow this already—such as New York State, but there has been reluctance to push for fights using three rounds based on the perception that women will want more money. Given the pay equity issues that already exist, there may be somewhat of a case to be made, however, with the push to three minutes, that last claim of women’s boxing being “less” than men’s because of the number of minutes in a round will be pushed aside once and for all.

Showtime’s potential entry into broadcasting female boxing along with signs that boxing sanctioning organizations are beginning to put resources into the sport led by the World Boxing Council which has now held two consecutive WBC conventions devoted solely to women’s boxing may help further propel the sport back into a more prominent place in the United States—and in place such as the United Kingdom.

Time will tell whether this actually happens, but as always, I remain hopeful!

 

*Strikeforce was an MMA and kickboxing league operating out of California from 1985-2013. WMMA practitioners such as Mischa Tate and Ronda Rousey were important champions and helped prove the case for televising female MMA bouts. They were particularly popular draws on Showtime. Strikeforce was bought out in 2011 by Dana White and its roster eventually folded into UFC.

 

 

26
Nov
16

77 Front Street

77 Front Street

img_7159

Gleason’s Gym, 77 Front Street, Brooklyn, November 26, 2016, Photo Credit: Malissa Smith

I first entered Gleason’s Gym at 77 Front Street in January 1997. It was a late morning, during the week, and I’d been working up the courage to cross the divide into a “real” boxing gym for some time.

Entering the second floor boxing emporium was like stepping into history. It fit every image of a boxing gym I’d ever had. It was somewhat dark, even with the light streaming through the wall of south-facing windows. It was cavernous and peopled inside and outside of the three rings with mostly men, but at least one women punching a heavy bag—who I later learned was Jo, wife of gym owner Bruce Silverglade.

The gym also had a smell to it of old sweat and new sweat, and steam heat and wringing wet gym clothes, that was in strong counterpoint to the almost antiseptic feel of every other gym I’d ever been in—health clubs really, which had been where I’d started my first rudimentary foray into the sweet science.

Standing in Gleason’s for the first time, taking in it all, with Bruce touring me around, I felt a mixture of awe and more awe and a dose of anxiety, watching real boxers spar and train, and finally a sense of triumph for having placed myself among the acolytes of a sport that had been contested since Homer had written about it in the 7th century BC.

It was then I came across the quote from Virgil that so lovingly adorns the wall at Gleason’s:

Now, whoever has courage, and a strong collected spirit to his breast, let him come forward, lace on the gloves and put up his hands.

img_7162

What I realized on that morning, was that was going to be me. I was going to face my fear. Face a lifetime of not having understood that I could always have crossed the divide of a boxing gym to box—even though I was a girl, it just took doing it to make it happen.

Back when Gleason’s Gym first opened in 1937 in the South Bronx at 149th Street and Westchester Avenue, it was the largest gym in New York City—no mean feat given the popularly of the sport in a town that had been associated with boxing since it first crossed the Atlantic Ocean from England in the 1820s. There were many, many gyms packed into every corner of the City back then, but Gleason’s became synonymous with boxing in the 1940s and 1950s when such champions as Jake LaMotta, Phil Terranova, and Jimmy Carter, called the gym home. Visiting boxers such as Mohammad Ali continued to give Gleason’s even greater cachet when they came up to the Bronx to train ahead of important fights at boxing’s Mecca, Madison Square Garden. The occasional woman boxed there too—including Jackie Tonawanda who trained there shortly before the gym relocated to West 30th Street in 1974.

Gleason’s continued to maintain its legendary status at its new location for the next 11 years before getting the boot when the building they were in turned co-op and they moved out of Manhattan to 77 Front Street in Brooklyn in 1985. Back then, before DUMBO was even a name, the industrial area was a pretty scary place. Bruce said, at the time, anyone coming to the gym was told to “get off in Brooklyn Heights at Clark Street on the 2 or 3 train and walk down along Henry Street.” He told them to walk the long way around rather than risking the walk through Cadman Park from the High Street A and C station or the route from the F train at York and Jay Streets.

img_7195

Bruce Silverglade, owner, Gleason’s Gym, November 26, 2016, Photo Credit: Malissa Smith

The new home while out of the way had everything a great boxing gym needed: space and lots of it, a new owner in Bruce Silverglade who having become a full-time partner with Ira Becker brought the enthusiasm needed to keep the sport going at a time when it was waning in the imagination of the public. Bruce also brought the foresight to commit to having women in the gym and at his insistence built a locker room for women and well as men so that women always felt welcome in the gym.

img_5623As place, however, Gleason’s has always meant more, at least to me. It’s the place where I came into my own physically. I learned to overcome fear not of the ordinary kind, but the fear of my own power. Of being able to release my full physical being onto a boxing bag, and eventually in the ring against a person. It’s also where I learned the generosity of boxers. Of the myriad of tips and tricks my fellow boxers offered, and of hearing the ubiquitous “hi ya’ champ,” from one person or another every time I walked through the gym.

Morning, noon, or night, weekdays or weekends, there’s always someone to offer encouragement–even as they may be breaking one’s “chops” so to speak. And if I happen to get something right in the ring, I’ll hear someone sing out about it.

These days, Gleason’s sports six female boxing champions: Alicia Ashley, Heather Hardy, Ronica Jeffries, Sonya Lamonakis, Keisher “Fire” McLeod, and Melissa St. Vil.  And if there’s one thing the gym has brought is a feeling of comfort for women from 6 to 60, and beyond.

img_7197

Gleason’s Gym trainers Lennox Blackmoore and Hector Roca, November 26, 2016. Photo Credit: Malissa Smith

When I first stepped into Gleason’s I was 42. These days, at 62, having boxed at Gleason’s on and off for 20 years, I feel it’s my home. As home, however, it’s come to have many meanings: For one, it’s the place where I can feel truly ageless.

img_7190

It’s where I’ve penned my Girlboxing blog, and due to the true support and generosity of Bruce Silverglade, it’s where I wrote parts of my book, A History Of Women’s Boxing. More than anything, however, even more than boxing, Gleason’s Gym is where I came into my own as a writer.

img_7183

Today, November 26, 2016, marked the last full day of Gleason’s 31 year history at 77 Front Street.

img_7182

Come Monday, November 28th, the gym will begin its next incarnation around the corner at 130 Water Street. As Bruce put it, the gym in its fourth iteration is “starting a new chapter.”

img_7181

For those of us on the early Saturday morning crew who rattled around this morning, embracing each other and otherwise reminiscing, there was a feeling of camaraderie, awe, and for sure a twinge of sadness. Gleason’s is after all, our collective home, but as Heather Hardy said, “it’s exciting that we are all going over there. And this right here, it won’t be any different from today to Monday.”

img_7175-1
If place is location–then yeah, things will be different, but if place is a state of being then 77 Front Street, will live on for all of us that have called this iteration of Gleason’s Gym home. And sure the paint won’t be peeling in the new place, and it’ll be C-L-E-A-N clean, we all figure after a few weeks that special Gleason’s odor will start to permeate the space, and before we know it the paint will start to peel there too.

04
Jun
16

Thinking about The Greatest …

Thinking about The Greatest …           

npg_2012_77_3-ali-web

Mohammad Ali, 1970, Photo Credit: Yousuf Karsh

When I was a girl growing up in the 1960’s I recall having peripheral knowledge of boxing—and certainly of the man who took the boxing world by storm when he became the Heavyweight Champion of the World followed in short order by his conversion to the Nation of Islam.

That man, Mohammad Ali, and his choice to not only become a Muslim, but a Black Muslim writ large in my consciousness. After all, 1964 was a watershed year in the long march for Civil Rights in the United States. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 coupled with his decision was in my eyes a strong statement in a world that continued to castigate people of color into subservient humiliation. I’ll add that as a ten-year-old girl, I lacked the sophistication to understand the nuanced interplay of sports, fame, politics, and personal conviction that rip-roared through the press on an almost daily basis after he made his decision public. I did, however, know greatness when I saw it and felt forever bound to the fortunes of this man who took a stand.

By the mid-1960s the United States was convulsed by revolution playing out as a nightly diet of riots, anti-war marches, and horrific images of war from far off Viet Nam. Muhammad Ali’s journey, which could have stopped with his personal decision to embrace the Nation of Islam did not, however, begin and end there. Rather, he embraced his fame and his place in the larger community to speak out about what mattered to him—including refusing the draft.

At a rally for fair housing in Louisville, Kentucky, in March 1967, a month before his formal refusal he said:

Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.

But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality… If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. But I either have to obey the laws of the land or the laws of Allah. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail. We’ve been in jail for four hundred years.

His refusal, and subsequent conviction cost him dearly. He lost the right to fight, was vilified in the press as a radical and though his conviction was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court—his years away from boxing cost him, even as he fought hard and with extraordinary courage and fortitude to reign supreme again.

No less a man than Nelson Mandela has felt inspired by Muhammad Ali’s actions. And for a young girl, growing up in a time of confusion and difficulty, his very presence, fortitude, and strength made me feel inspired.

My heart goes out to his family as they mourn him—just as I mourn his loss with the community of the world forever touched by his greatness.

Rest in Peace.

28
Jul
11

Women’s Boxing: One year to go till Olympic Glory!

Women’s Boxing: One year to go till Olympic Glory!

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t like boxing.  My boxing hero was Mohammad Ali — and I have vivid memories of watching his fights on television, not to mention his running diatribes with Howard Cosell. And sure, that was all “back in the day” — but that was also history unfolding from Ali’s decision to embrace Islam on through refusing induction in the Army.  What resonated was Ali smiling for the camera and saying, “I’m so pretty.”  Those were powerful words for a boxer and a black man in America at that time — and frankly any time — upending notions of beauty, the ferosity of the ring, and the notion that there were limits on how high a human being could soar.

What I found was inspiration. I wanted to be him. Not so much as a boxer per se, but as a person that could take life and make it my own as an act of courage.

In thinking about the young women working their hearts out in the ring in preparation for next summer’s Olympics, I think of Ali. As a young 18 year old, he won Gold as a light heavyweight in the Rome Olympics and by the age of 28 had became an iconic figure in American history.  “The Greatest” changed the world.

The future Olympians who ply the boards through countless hours of hard work in the gym show feats of courage every time they step into the ring — and while they may not be as earth shattering as Ali, those acts of hard work are no less important to the scheme of things, not to mention that we don’t yet know just where any of these women will end up in the years to come.

Given that we’ve hit the one year mark — the main stream press has started to focus in on these women and their ambition, and as a salute to our future Olympic heros, here’s a smattering from around the web.

Queen Underwood (USA) – USA Today has a piece out entitled Queen Underwood chases glory in the boxing ring that talks about Queen’s dreams of winning Olympic gold.

Mary Kom (India) – Called “Magnificent Mary”, Kom is a five-time gold medal winner who is currently training with the Indian men’s team in pursuit of Olympic gold as noted in the Times of India article, Mary Kom trains with men’s team’s foreign coach.

Katie Taylor (Ireland) – Talk about courage in the ring, Katie Taylor is a fearless competitor having just won her 38th victory in a row with her gold medal victory in the European Union championships.  She is also an iconic figure of brilliance in action in her native Ireland as the Irish Times piece ‘Perfect fight’ ends with European Title attests.

There are countless other Olympic hopefuls with countless other dreams of rising to the podium — and what we can do is support those dreams with our unwavering passion for the sport we love.

06
Feb
11

Distance

Distance

Joe Frazier (left) and Mohammad Ali, Madison Square Garden, 1971, Hurley/News

One of the key things about boxing and life for that matter is figuring out one’s optimal distance from all manner of experiences.  Fighters learn early on that distance is the key to a successful bout not only in terms of establishing range, but in allowing a fighter clean shots, good defense and not to be underestimated, a way of psyching an opponent out.

Best way to frustrate an inside fighter … you got it, stay on the outside, but being careful to get inside just enough to keep the fans in the fight because an even worse sin is when one fighter creates too much distance by rabbiting around the ring.  On the other side of it, stay inside long enough and you end up in a Micky Ward/Arturo Gatti duel that while great for the fans is tough, tough, tough on the body.

Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward

And that’s the key isn’t it: creating an optimal space.  A place where your jab is perfect and the hook off the jab puts you in a terrific position to counter-punch for the upper-cut; where your punches connect enough to give a great show, but where your understanding of maintaining your distance from your opponent gives you the advantage and ultimately the win.

In life, say with your eleven-year-old daughter who isn’t in the mood to hear Mom chide her about whatever topic of the moment Mom feels insistent about … there’s not a lot of difference.  We can pray for the bell and go to our corners, we can tussle in the middle and both get hurt, we can parry and thrust and hope for the best or one of us, hopefully Mom, can know enough to go her third-way to find the perfect distance until the storm washes over us both enough to re-engage.

PS:  Girlboxing friend, Margaret Reyes Dempsey of Conjuring My Muse has nominated Girlboxing for the coveted Stylish Blogger Award. Girlboxing stylish, hmmm?  Well, why not!  Thanks Margaret!  In order to be considered for the award the following four tasks must be completed:

1. Present seven things about yourself
2. Name about a half-dozen bloggers you think deserve the award
3. Contact those people
4. Create a link back to the person who gave you the honor

As for the first task, here are seven things you don’t know about me:

1.  The closest I ever came to Muhammad Ali was in September 1991 when I stayed at a tiny beach hostel name-sake in a small village on the Red Sea called, Dahab, Egypt.  The town is best known as a demarcation point for Red Sea scuba diving — although I didn’t go there to dive, rather I was there for the fun of it.  My space at Mohammad Ali’s had a sand floor, concrete walls and a ceiling made of palm fronds loosely layered on top.  For my $1.00 a night I also got a candle (no electricity) and an insect repellent incense coil.  The best part of Dahab was listening to Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” wherever I went.

2.  The first dance I ever learned (aside from the hokey-pokey) was “The Wobble,” to Little Eva’s “The Locomotion” (and not to be confused with the current line dance, and not to confuse my “Wobble” with the dance “The Locomotion”).   I was eight years old and was playing on the sidewalk in front of my building on East 12th Street.  A girl named Lydia and her older sister Anna taught me the dance when the song came on Anna’s AM transistor radio.

3.  I discovered the delicious flavor of Nutella in 1991 while on board a vessel in the Eastern Mediterranean traveling from Rhodes, Greece to Limassol, Cyprus.  I spent the night sleeping on the top deck of the ferry and traded Turkish baklava from a bakery in the Old Town of Rhodes with the coveted Nutella sandwich on freshly baked bread.

4.  I hate lists even though I use them all the time.  The problem is I write them down, start to follow them and get bored.  ‘Nuff said.

5.  I met my husband bar-dancing at Puffy’s in Tribeca on December 6, 1996.  We both loved James Brown and Salsa music.  In other words, kismet!  For our first date (two nights later), he wore a red sweater and beige jeans — and looked like the Nautica man.  We ate Vietnamese food for dinner and walked along the Hudson River sitting at the old dock on Pier 26 for a while to watch the water.

6.  My uncle taught my brother and I how to box when I was 12 — well sort of in that he only taught us how to turn a jab.  And while I may have written about that, what you don’t know is that he taught me how to box southpaw.

I kept my southpaw stance until I started boxing at Gleason’s when I took up boxing at 42!  Every so often, I will find myself in a southpaw stance, but having not practiced that way for a long time, I feel very uncomfortable.

7.  It took me 37 years to graduate college!  I went to a total of four colleges over that period of time (1971-2008) and finally got my degree in History from Empire State College.

Thanks again to Margaret at Conjuring My Muse for giving me this chance to spill my guts in public!  But now comes the fun part, nominating others!  Here goes:

1.  The Glowing Edge – Talk about stylish, spend a minute on the site and you’re instantly calm!  Aside from which Lisa Creech Bledsoe is a true woman warrior!  As she says of her own blog, she is “speaker, writer, media ninja, live music fanatic, boxer chick. Online a bunch. Otherwise in the gym. Or possibly at a gig.”

2. Beats, Boxing and Mayhem – This blog has it all, terrific posts on boxing, hip-hop music and culture, plus some serious politics mixed in.

3.  Inspiring Sports Women – She’s got that right.  Lovely, inspiring writing about women’s athletics.

4. The Sweetest Thing – Inspired blog about the personal side of being a boxing woman.

5. My ish wish dish – Now this blog is truly stylish! My ish wish dish blogs about home style, cooking and life with two small boys on a shoestring. This blog has terrific recipes too.

6. Girl in the Ring – This blogsite is not so much for a stylish blog, as a website to help publicize Jill Morley’s much-anticipated documentary about women boxers.

I’ll add that this whole thing feels a bit like a chain letter, but what the heck! I love publicizing blogs I like! Enjoy!

05
Nov
10

A rainy Friday at the movies: When we were Kings

A rainy Friday at the movies:  When we were Kings

October 30th, marked the anniversary of the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” fight between Mohammad Ali and George Foreman.  It was an audacious event that swirled with controversy.

In looking at the documentary, “When We Were Kings” directed by Leon Gast in 1996, one can realize just how bold this fight was as a statement about boxing as a place holder for minority politics in American culture in the early 1970’s.  On the heals of the Civil Rights Movement, the event capitalized on the idea of “being somebody” in a context and vernacular that was referential only to itself.  It’s a film that is nicely done and well worth seeing.

 

 

 




November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,891 other followers

Girlboxing Now! on Twitter

@Girlboxingnow

Share this blog!

Bookmark and Share
free counters
Blog Directory

Blog Stats

  • 702,583 hits

Twitter Updates

© Malissa Smith and Girlboxing, 2010-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malissa Smith and Girlboxing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

%d bloggers like this: