Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Sweet Science

This is my friend Bruce Cahn.

A man whose paintings I enjoy a great deal. I'm calling, on his behalf, this photo "Self-portrait with current model." What I like about Bruce is that he is old school. He makes the models sit for him while he paints them. Once a week for maybe three months. Me? I couldn't stand the pressure of them just looking at me. The expectation in their eyes. The deafening silence. Brrrr. It doesn't seem to bother him, though. I admire that.

I was having a drink with Bruce at the Peter McManus cafe the other day and he said something that surprised me. He, an otherwise lucid thinker, said he believed that Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao is the finest fighter that ever lived. Me? I first took umbrage, then voted vehemently for Muhammad "Sugar-Ray Clay" Ali. Consider this:

Watch his feet at the :25 mark. Unbelievable for a heavyweight. At around the 2:00 mark you see a lot of footage of the famous Foreman fight during which, sometime in the 7th round, Ali, as has been reported on these very pages many times before, whispered into Foreman's ear, "Is that all you got?" Just the notion of that they are even having a conversation in a situation like that gives me chills.
Brief personal aside #1: Everything I ever learned about managing my relationship with my ex-wife I learned from Ali during that fight.

Brief personal aside #2: Just typing those words makes me smile.
And, just to show you that a little rain falls on everybody's parade, watch Joe Frazier catch him with the left hook at about the 2:27 mark. Yow!

If I had the skill I would have peeled the audio off and replaced it with "Maggie's Farm." But I don't, so you just have to deal. Try turning the sound down and just let the majesty of the man wash over you.

All that said, when it comes to the Sweet Science, Bruce and I are both wrong. The best fighter of all time is clearly the original Sugar Ray. The one made from natural sugar, not high fructose corn syrup.
Brief parenthetical aside #1: Robinson fought Jake LaMotta six times, winning five. Ali fought Frazier three times, winning two. Plus Foreman, plus Norton. Manny's been fighting tomato cans. I'm just saying, is all.
In closing, consider this:

I'm not sure what, exactly, to make of this. But I'm desperate to buy an XBox 360.


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