The Making of “Fat City”

By Leonard Shecter Look October 19, 1971 The scene called for Billy Tully, played by Stacey Keach, to be thinning and weeding young tomatoes under a broiling sun. It’s sweaty, backbreaking working that must, because of the delicacy required, be done with a short,...

Down Great Purple Valleys

By John Lardner True May 1954 Stanley Ketchel was twenty-four years old when he was fatally shot in the back by the common-law husband of the lady who was cooking his breakfast. That was in 1910. Up to 1907 the world at large had never heard of Ketchel. In the three...

Mickey Rourke Doesn’t Smell

By Scott Raab GQ July 1995 Lost inside a huge sweater and a baggy, low-slung pair of jeans, an oversized brown fedora slumped well down on his forehead, half walking, half leaning against a young woman with long brown hair, actor/boxer Mickey Rourke trudges down a...

The Making of a Golden Boy

By Vic Ziegel Playboy June 1996 Somehow I was not surprised when Oscar De La Hoya’s public relations rep called to reschedule our meeting in East Los Angeles. After all, this boxer is an important person. Some people call De La Hoya the finest fighter in the world,...

Just Another “Fight of the Century”

By Joe Flaherty The New York Times September 20, 1981 It seems the designation of “Fight of the Century” (this has been the third in the last two years) is a masked monicker to disguise the fact they are affairs of violence. Perhaps things will improve when we move on...

The Stacks Chat: Bill Nack

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter December 15, 2008 Looking for that ideal last-minute holiday gift for the sports fan in your life? Look no further than The Best American Sportswriting of 2008, edited by Bill Nack, who is one of the finest sportswriters we have. Nack is a...

From Louisville to the Nation of Islam

By Dick Schaap Sport 1971 In some ways it seems so long ago: John F. Kennedy was a handsome young Senator, starting to campaign for the Presidency of the United States. In some ways, it seems like yesterday: Richard M. Nixon was starting to campaign for the presidency...

Hunter In Zaire

By George Plimpton From Shadow Box 2014 I had a number of people to see the next day. I dropped in to see Hunter Thompson. I found him in his room. “I got everything stashed behind the pipes,” he said, after he had peeked out a crack in the door to make sure who I...

The Challenger and the Muslims

By Dick Schaap The New York Herald Tribune January 23, 1964 When he was 18 years old, just an amateur fighter with almost no reputation outside his native Louisville, Cassius Marcellus Clay came to New York and, on the corner of 125th St. and Seventh Ave, by the Hotel...

Memphis Kid and the Horrible Truth About Prize Fighting

By W.C. Heinz From The Professional 1958 Eddie had come back off the road with the others and had his breakfast, and I had left him lying on his bed and reading the morning papers and listening to the radio while Jay sat at the table writing postcards. After three...

Get a LOAD of Me!

By John Ed Bradley Sports Illustrated May 17, 1993 Yet another fine yellow noon on Marco Island, Fla., and, miracle of miracles, Buster Douglas is already out of bed. He’s wearing what he always seems to wear these days: white canvas boating shoes, loose-fitting gym...