Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Imagining Famous People as Prizefighters: Check Out Our Latest TSS Survey

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Imagining Famous People as Prizefighters: Check Out Our Latest TSS Survey

    Click image for larger version  Name:	charles.PNG Views:	1 Size:	131.5 KB ID:	17298

    By Ted Sares

    In our latest quarterly survey, we asked our respondents this question: “What famous person -- living or dead -- could have been a successful boxer AND WHY?” The person picked could be a statesman, gangster, movie or TV star, business tycoon, or whatever, just so long as he or she was famous. More than 30 boxing notables weighed in with a selection. As is our custom, we have listed the respondents in alphabetical order.

    JAMES AMATO-collector, author, writer, historian: For me it is Charles Bronson. You could see from his build he was dedicated to training. He also seemed to have that essential "killer instinct.” I think he would have been a rough customer. Honorable mentions to Robert DeNiro and Ryan O'Neal.

    MATT ANDRZEJEWSKI-TSS writer: LeBron James. He is arguably the greatest athlete of our generation and could have succeeded at any sport he desired. If he had solely focused on boxing, who knows, there may never have been a Klitschko era in the heavyweight division.

    DAVID AVILA-TSS West Coast Bureau Chief: I’d go with Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace. He seemed to relish the boxing game and recently trained and managed a fighter. As a player he was quick on the trigger and just a pretty good athlete.

    BOB BENOIT-referee, judge, former fighter, founder of MA State Trooper Boxing Team: Robert DeNiro.I base my opinion on his hard work in training for the movie that showcased the life of Jake LaMotta. He worked his balls off to fill the part.

    TRACY CALLIS-eminent boxing historian: I don't know how well Sean Hannity, radio and TV talk show host, would do as a boxer, but he sure talks a lot about his MMA training and what he would do in certain circumstances (i.e., he would do such and such, wouldn't take this, wouldn't take that, etc.). It would be interesting to see what he really could do.

    ANTHONY M. CARDINALE Esq.-famous defense attorney, boxing manager, advisor: I can think of only one guy, John Gotti. I was told by Tommy Gallagher, one of boxing's good guys and a colorful character, that he would have been a great boxer but for that accident when he was a teenager that caused an injury to the toes on one foot that forced him to stop. He and Gotti grew up together in the same hardscrabble neighborhood in New York.

    GUY CASALE-former fighter, retired detective: I believe Paul Newman would have been a successful boxer! His portrayal of Rocky Graziano in "Somebody Up There Likes Me" captured Rocky's exact style. Moreover, Newman also demonstrated his athletic ability in other movies like "Slap Shot” where he portrayed a hockey player.

    JILL DIAMOND-International Secretary, WBC: James Brown: Godfather of Soul. Hungry, agile, charismatic. Papa’s got a brand new bag!

    BERNARD FERNANDEZ-TSS mainstay, lifetime Member of the BWAA, 2020 IBHOF inductee: I’ve always thought that tennis great Jimmy Connors played his sport like an Arturo Gatti-type fighter. He was pugnacious and played each point as if his life depended on it. I liked the way he hit the ball hard and flat, going for winners instead of playing a patient long game, waiting for his opponent to make an error. I could also go with tough-guy actor Stacey Keach who portrayed a worn-out fighter in "Fat City." It helps that I thought he threw punches with correct form.

    JERRY FITCH-writer, author, historian: Size and strength does not often translate to boxing skills. Few of those big tough guys could take a punch or had the coordination to succeed as a boxer. But one athlete that stood an excellent chance was former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown. Brown was a freak with a rare mixture of strength, speed, balance and toughness. The fact he never missed a game is testament to his toughness. During his career the opponents game plan always focused on Jim. He was gang tackled, punched, kicked, called names, had his eyes gouged and yet nobody ever really stopped him. Although most of his stats have long been surpassed (he only played nine years), his 5.2 average per carry and 104.3 yards per game numbers still rule. At Syracuse he earned ten varsity letters in football, lacrosse, track and field, and basketball. He is often called the greatest lacrosse player ever. Many call him the greatest athlete ever. He may very well have been --with the proper training -- a very good boxer. I wouldn't have bet against him.

    JEFFREY FREEMAN-TSS writer: Boston Bruins Captain Zdeno Charo would’ve been a great fighter because he is a great fighter. The nearly seven-foot-tall defenseman is a feared enforcer ready to drop the gloves and battle on a moment’s notice. And “Z” deals out all that fear and intimidation while balancing on a sheet of ice. I can recall hearing that some of the Detroit Red Wings used to train boxing at KRONK gym. If Zdeno Chara had some formal training he’d surely beat Deontay Wilder.

    CLARENCE GEORGE-boxing writer, historian: Matinée idol Errol Flynn athletically leaps to mind. He was a natural, as is made clear by the way he moves about the ring in his portrayal of Gentleman Jim Corbett in “Gentleman Jim” (1942). Mushy Callahan helped prepare him for the role, true, but Flynn had been a gifted boxer going back to at least his young manhood.

    LEE GROVES-writer, author and man behind CompuBox: The first name that came to mind was Michael Jordan. At 6-feet-6 inches, he would have fit in nicely with today's super-sized heavyweights and he boasted that enviable blend of elite athletic talent, a ferocious pursuit of perfection, a matchless mean streak and the ability to rise to the most pressurized situations. He would not have tolerated anything but the very best, either from himself or from those around him.

    HENRY HASCUP-historian; President of the NJ Boxing Hall of Fame: Pele. He had everything a boxer needed. His endurance was outstanding, his footwork was second to none, his head movement was out of this world and I would bet his hands were as well!

    DR. STUART KIRSCHENBAUM-former head of the Michigan Boxing Commission: Hockey is the only professional sport other than boxing in which fighting is allowed. In the 1980's and 90's Detroit Red Wings player Bob Probert was legendary for his fights. In fact, VHS tapes of collections of his best fights were best sellers. In boxing fighters take caution to tape their hands and must wear gloves...more so to protect their hands rather than the opponent’s face. In hockey when they fight they drop their gloves and hit anything they can including the hard helmet. I guess not much different than Hearns did hitting Hagler's hard head. Probert being the most feared enforcer in hockey sought the help of legendary boxing trainer Emanuel Steward at the world famous Kronk Gym in Detroit...just a stone's throw from the Joe Louis Arena. Emanuel had the reputation of training others other than boxers...such as actor Wesley Snipes and rapper Marshall Mathers better known as Eminem. Probert was a constant fixture at Kronk and learned the finer points of boxing from the great Emanuel Steward. Probert truly could have made the transition in Steward's opinion and who to better know than Emanuel.

    JIM LAMPLEY-linchpin of the HBO Boxing announcing team; 2015 IBHOF inductee: Mikhail Baryshnikov, universally hailed in his world as one of history’s greatest dancers, probably could have been a successful boxer. He had the self-assurance and the awareness to become a star in multiple cultures. He had athletic grace and fiercely practiced hand and foot skills. And most likely he had hardship early and the insatiable drive that often proceeds from that. Even if he had no power at all, Baryshnikov would win fights simply by being Baryshnikov.

    ARNE LANG-TSS editor-in-chief, author, historian: Fiorello LaGuardia, the three-term mayor of New York City (1934-1945) was a feisty little SOB. He certainly had the temperament to be a prizefighter. As the son of an Italian immigrant father and a Jewish mother, he would have undoubtedly been a big draw and he would have fed off the audience, ramping up his game. Plus, he had a name that rolled off the tongue and a cool nickname, and me – being an erstwhile club show ring announcer – would have loved to go back in time and got to introduce him: Fighting out of the blue corner, Fee-or-Ellll-O the Little Flowerrrrrr (pause) La Guardia.

    RON LIPTON-NY and NJ Boxing Halls of Fame, writer, former fighter, retired police officer, pro referee: It would have to be Charles Bronson who maintained his physique and athleticism as displayed at age 54 in "Hard Times.” Jimmy Cagney also excelled in boxing and judo and would have made a decent fighter. Honorable mention would be Burt Lancaster who once punched former pro fighter Jack Palance so hard in the stomach he threw up. This happened on the set of “The Professionals” after Palance punched Lancaster in the arm. The gangster John "Sonny" Franzese, the TV actor powerful Leo Gordon as a 200lb cruiserweight, and politician Teddy Roosevelt come to mind as well.

    ADEYINKA MAKINDE-author, UK barrister, contributor to The Cambridge Companion to Boxing: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation. Putin, a practitioner of the sport of judo, has a combination of ruggedness and the calculating mind of a chess player, the raw attributes required for an involvement in any form of combat sports including boxing.

    DAVID MARTINEZ-boxing historian / dmboxing.com: Here are three candidates: Charles Bronson, Nick Nolte, and Ryan O'Neal. But the question requires one, so it’s Ryan O'Neal. He was an outstanding amateur and competed in two Los Angeles Golden Gloves tournaments. He had his own pro fighter, top welterweight Hedgemon Lewis. He was outstanding in the movie “The Main Event” with Barbra Streisand. With 100 percent focus and proper training, he would rise in boxing. I have seen short fight footage of him, a southpaw with promise and ring generalship.

    ROBERT MLADINICH-former fighter, writer, author, actor, producer, retired detective, private investigator: Don’t laugh but my answer is Woody Allen. Check him out on You Tube boxing a kangaroo on an old variety show. He’s quick on his feet, has fast hands, and can throw a good punch. I see him as an effective but dull distance fighter. Also, Daniel Day-Lewis. He can do anything well if he puts his mind to it. He was sensational in “The Boxer.”

    ERNEST MORALES (aka GINO FEBUS)-former fighter, writer, historian: There’s something about Harvey Keitel that suggests he could have been a Mickey Ward type. His gutsy demeaner and stone-cold piercing looks in movies such as “Cop Land” and “The Irishman”, for example, and his interviews.

    JOE PASQUALE-elite boxing judge: Ryan O'Neal in shape. Great power in either hand, great chin and quick reflexes

    CLIFF ROLD-managing editor of Boxing Scene, writer, historian: Allen Iverson has the sort of athleticism, footwork, physical grit and explosiveness that probably would have translated well into boxing. He was generally good at every sport he tried.

    FRED ROMANO-author, historian, and former ESPN researcher: Billy Martin, former player and manager of the New York Yankees. He was scrappy, as they used to say. Also had a big chip on his shoulder. I think he would come to fight, not dance. Might have made an entertaining lightweight or welterweight if he could cultivate discipline to match his intensity.

    DANA ROSENBLATT-former world middleweight champion, commentator: If Dolph Lundgren counts as a famous person, then my vote goes to him. Not only did he have the physicality to potentially become a professional boxer, his intelligence is off the charts. Last time I checked, smarts means a lot as far as who wins in the ring. Read up on this guy. Lundgren may not be the most famous actor at the moment, however nobody can say “Ivan Drago who?” that was born before 1975. Great athlete and even greater mind.

    TED SARES-TSS writer, historian: Charles Buchinsky, aka Bronson, grew up in a hardscrabble coal mining region of Pennsylvania amidst extreme poverty, was the 11th of 15 children, and later was a decorated combat veteran of World War Two. Film critic Stephen Hunter said that “Bronson ‘oozed male life-force, stoic toughness, capability, strength.’ and "always projected the charisma of ambiguity…” this background and an extraordinary and well-honed physique would have given him a solid platform for boxing. Serena Williams would be my next choice.

    ICEMAN JOHN SCULLY-manager, trainer, commentator, writer, historian, former light heavyweight world title challenger: I've never been one to believe that anyone could be a great boxer just because they were great in some other endeavor. Someone will see a great football player with speed and athleticism and take that to mean that they could also have been a great boxer. But there are too many intangibles. You could take the greatest athlete on Earth who is fearless on a football field or a basketball court but he gets in a boxing ring, gets his nose broken sparring, and never comes back. This is not for everybody. And you will never know until you actually get in there under extreme conditions if you can succeed. In many, many cases the most successful boxers are not the ones that those around him thought would be before they got in there.

    ALAN SWYER- film producer, historian, director of the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame: The music world's gain was the boxing community's loss when James Brown's amateur ring career was cut short because of a leg injury. But given his moves on-stage, his explosiveness, and his remarkable stamina, I can't see how anyone in his weight class could have stood up to him.

    RICK TORSNEY-boxing official, former fighter: Charles Bronson. Born in a PA coal mining town, the eleventh of fifteen siblings. His father died when Charles was ten and he went to work in the mines where he earned one dollar per ton of coal mined. His family was so poor that they sometimes had no food and he had to wear his sisters’ clothes. He worked in the mines until WWII when he joined the Army Air Force, where he served as a aerial gunner on a B29 Superfortress. He flew 25 mission over Japanese occupied Islands and he was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat. Throughout the history of the sport, hungry fighters have been the best fighters. Bronson looked the part of a boxer and literally fought for his life during the war.

    BOB TREIGER-writer, historian: Herschel Walker. This may be cheating because he did some MMA fighting. Walker had that rare combination of speed and power to go with his incredible athleticism and explosiveness. I don't think he was ever less than 100-percent in great shape. Walker had to be disciplined as well. All that adds up to a successful boxer. If he's not eligible because he did some MMA fighting, I'll go with actor Charles Bronson because he was a tough SOB.

    PETER WOOD- writer, author, former fighter:

    Every mornin' at the mine you could see him arrive
    He stood six-foot-six and weighed two-forty-five
    Kinda broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip
    And everybody knew ya didn't give no lip to big John
    (Big John, big John)
    Big bad John (big John)

    Nobody seemed to know where John called home
    He just drifted into town and stayed all alone
    He didn't say much, kinda quiet and shy
    And if you spoke at all, you just said hi to Big John

    {Big Bad John died prematurely.)

    Now, they never reopened that worthless pit
    They just placed a marble stand in front of it
    These few words are written on that stand
    At the bottom of this mine lies a big, big man
    Big John

    A bit like Sonny Liston

    OBSERVATIONS: Charles Bronson (pictured in a still from the movie “Hard Times”) led the pack with SIX mentions. Ryan O'Neal came in second with multiple mentions.

    If I had to pick one that stands out, it would be Henry Hascup’s selection of Pele, though Jim Lampley’s choice of Mikhail Baryshnikov is intriguing as is Adeyinka Makinde’s selection of Vladimir Putin.

    Iceman John Scully took a contrary perspective and makes a solid case.

    Thanks to all.

    Ted Sares can be reached at tedsares@roadrunner.com

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    "Ted, good topic. Here’s more:

    Actor Robert Conrad was a boxer.
    Actor Danny Trejo boxed and worked on “Runaway Train” as a fighter and technical advisor
    Mobster Vincent (The Chin) Gigante, who tried to have John Gotti whacked, was 21-4 as a pro and fought in Madison Square Garden.-Bruce Trampler"

    Comment


    • #3
      "But also, most importantly as you know, an athlete has to WANT to be a fighter. I doubt LeBron James or most of the other suggestions are willing to gert hit in the head. They might be okay throwing punches, but you’ve got to be able to take them as well. Thanks." Bruce Trampler

      Comment


      • #4
        David Martinez Grrrr-great piece - I was happy to add my input ... I had picked Ryan O'Neal ... then had Charles Bronson & Nick Nolte next ... my other two - to round out my top 5 are: Robert Ryan & George Wallace ...
        dmboxing.com
        Hide or report this

        DMBOXING.COM
        David Martinez Boxing | Journal of a Boxing Historian
        David Martinez Boxing | Journal of a Boxing Historian

        Comment


        • #5
          "Clarence George Some interesting selections. My second choice, by the way, would have been Robert Mitchum. In addition to his well-justified reputation as a tough guy who knew how to handle himself, he took out Bernie Reynolds. That alone speaks volumes."

          Comment


          • Kid Blast
            Kid Blast commented
            Editing a comment
            reefer madness!!!!!!!!!

        • #6
          "Chuck Hasson Ted, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to chime in. But my pick would be Calvin Murphy, who decked a whole lot of bigger guys on the court. Another guy would be Dave Cowens who I believe would have been a bigger version of "Irish" Bob Murphy. Steve Smith is another."

          Comment


          • Kid Blast
            Kid Blast commented
            Editing a comment
            Murphy = great choice

        • #7
          "Rick Farris You know, I loved Charles Bronson's role in this and you could see that he really had some boxing background. He very easily moved into a veteran pro stance and movements. Sure, there would be a tech advisor, but Bronson moved like a fighter. this was not his first BBQ, in my opinion."

          Comment


          • Kid Blast
            Kid Blast commented
            Editing a comment
            Rick Farris I never worked with Charles Bronson, but I know a few that have. Never a bad word, he was all business. A pro!

          • Kid Blast
            Kid Blast commented
            Editing a comment
            "Tim Dement: He was most convincing acting as a boxer.."
            .

          • Kid Blast
            Kid Blast commented
            Editing a comment
            "Jeff Bumpus" I’ve always looked at Kurt Russell and said that guy might have made a good fighter. I’m not sure why I think so. Movement I guess. He looks like he could flip the insane switch any time he wants. That’s a plus".

        • #8
          You can see Bronson's extraordinary vascularity in the photo with his great love nd wife Jill Ireland who died too early.

          Comment


          • #9
            "Daniel Spofford French National Soccer Team player Zinedine Zidane. Cool name, big, strong, fast, great coordination, and being a soccer player excellent foot work and endurance. Not to mention he kind of fights dirty to get the job done while pushing the limits of the rules."

            Comment


            • Kid Blast
              Kid Blast commented
              Editing a comment
              "Joseph Pasquale Good stuff! Well done Ted!"

            • Kid Blast
              Kid Blast commented
              Editing a comment
              "Rick Gagne - Will Smith. He got high praise from world champion fighters he sparred with preparing for his Ali role".

          • #10
            "In the following order, I'd go with the tenacious and just downright mean-spirited Ty Cobb (If interested, go to Wikipedia for my reasons), the aforementioned Billy Martin (just ask Reggie Jackson), Wilt Chamberlain, and actor Daniel Day-Lewis (check out clips on YouTube from the '97 film "The Boxer." FYI: Teddy Atlas made a cameo appearance and choreographed the boxing scenes.
            ~Johnny Tango"

            Comment


          • #11
            "George Thomas Clark Lots of good prospects - Jim Brown, Allen Iverson, Charles Bronson, Robert Mitchum, and Errol Flynn are among the best on your list. I think Ron Artest and LeBron James would've been too tall. Of course, Tyson Fury at 6-9 is even a tad taller. Usually, though, boxers become more vulnerable once they get beyond about 6-foot-5"

            Comment


            • Kid Blast
              Kid Blast commented
              Editing a comment
              "Stephen Breadman Edwards Jim Brown"

          • #12
            I've LOVE to see Sean Hannity in the ring with a real boxer. He'd have his mouth shut for good. I'd pay to see it.

            Clint Eastwood trained men in martial arts during the Korean War; had thin arms, though. Maybe would be a LWH.
            Jack Palance had some amateur and I think some pro experience. His stare could out Liston Liston IMO.

            Comment


            • Kid Blast
              Kid Blast commented
              Editing a comment
              I'd love to face off with Hannity in a phone booth. I'd love that. I really truly would. Just the thought is a woody popper.

          • #13
            Hannity is all talk. A gasbag blowhard.

            The real street fighter right now is TUCKER CARLSON.

            He’s kicking leftist butt every night of the week!

            Comment


            • Kid Blast
              Kid Blast commented
              Editing a comment
              Bernard Fernandez adds: "I made my selection, and it wasn't a bad one (Jimmy Connors, with an HM to Stacy Keach),, without spending too much time really wracking my brain as to an absolute best choice. That said, may I offer a few thoughts in retrospect, having read the picks of other respondents.

              I, too, would have seriously considered Charles Bronson. One of my favorite boxing movies of all time, although it isn't technically a "boxing movie," is 1975's "Hard Times," in which Bronson played a Depression-era hobo taking pickup fights for money, with James Coburn as his seedy partner and matchmaker. In addition to trying to imagine how a real-like showdown of Steven Seagal vs. Jean-Cl;aude Van Damme might turn out, I also mused about an actual duke-out between movie street fighting legends Chaney (Bronson) and Philo Beddoe (Clint Eastwood in those "Any Which Way" flicks.

              But Jim Lampley's pick of Mikhail Baryshnikov reminded me of a story I authored for one of the newspapers I worked for, oh, about 40 years ago. There was an international ballet competition going on in that city and I did a story hypothesizing that Baryshnikov actually might be the world's greatest male athlete, given the skills and physical demands required of him to perform at the highest levels of his art, as suggested to me by a ballet buff who also happened to be a serious sports fan. (Who knew they had such people?)

              Herschel Walker also was a great pick, and Jim Brown as well. Of course, Brown got a lesson in real boxing from Muhammad Ali in London, but the former Cleveland Browns superstar did play a former heavyweight champion, albeit for laughs, in "Mars Attacks!" The Martians were a lot easier to knock out than Ali would have been".

            • Kid Blast
              Kid Blast commented
              Editing a comment
              Geezuz. Tucker looks like a wimp. Guys with first names of Topher, Brett, Tyler, Tucker, Tanner, you gotta look out.
              Last edited by Kid Blast; 06-27-2020, 10:52 AM.

          • #14
            I agree that Tucker Carlson is formidable. And Laura Ingraham is another one who doesn't mince words. But I don't know why they let Sean Hannity get away with these tediously frequent and utterly irrelevant references to his martial arts training. Pathetic and bizarre.

            Comment


            • #15
              There’s only ONE amazin Jesse Lee Peterson 👍

              In fact, he’s the only CHAMPION that I got right now.
              Last edited by KO Digest; 06-26-2020, 04:18 PM.

              Comment


              • Kid Blast
                Kid Blast commented
                Editing a comment
                Dear mother of God...
            Working...
            X