Seven Scenes From The Life of A Quiet Champ

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports June, 1980 “I don’t ever want to fight Ali. Ali’s a legend, I’m hoping he retires. It would be a lot of money [for an Ali fight], but money isn’t everything. When Ali dies, people going to remember him being more than a fighter…”  ...

Dumb Broad at a Dumb Fight

By Shana Alexander Life June 4, 1965 Although until last week I had never personally attended a prize fight, I knew what I expected to see. The boxers’ glistening, circling bodies and the hoarse roar of the crowd had become familiar to me through years of exposure to...

I Was a Champion

By Floyd Patterson The American Weekly May 15, 1960 (as told to W.C. Heinz) For almost a whole year I’ve seen it day and night, maybe a thousand times. Me and Ingemar Johansson boxing and Johansson sticking out that left jab and me ducking under it, and then I’m down...

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...