September 2nd, 2015
You step into the ring. You tell the coach it is your desire to box.
Really, he says.
Then he invites you to remove your loafers from his canvas. “The approach we took with Ving was the way you train an amateur fighter,” says Darrell Foster (bottom photo, right), coach to Sugar Ray Leonard since the seventies and the owner of Omega Bodies fitness consultancy in Pasadena, California. “We didn’t want Ving to feel entitled to get in the ring from day one.”
Leonard and Foster’s training prescription is one you can put into practice, too, even if you don’t have a professional fight coach and aren’t starting with the 221 pounds of regularly flexed human steel that Rhames brought to the deal. Any or all of the parts of Rhames’s workout can help you, whether you actually go to a boxing gym or hang a bag from the basement ceiling. It’s about strength, endurance, agility, and hand-eye coordination, all of which are equally useful, whether your plan actually involves boxing or ballet: (which, come to think of it, aren’t as different …
August 27th, 2015
To get in shape to play the lead in the Sonny Liston story, actor Ving Rhames followed this program designed by Sugar Ray Leonard. You can, too.
The fist is six inches wide and powering smack into your face again and again and again, like a giant piston, fast, and you’re staring straight into the fighter’s unblinking eyes because they command you to do so, and you have no doubt that he hates you–hates you–and you damn sure dare not flinch.
You are in the fighter’s house. In his house.
On the other end of the fist is a man, Irving “Ving” Rhames, who weighed 208.5 pounds when he got up this morning, though he used to tip the scales at 221. Sweat streams from the crown of his shiny, shaved head, and he snorts hard with every punch, Hnhh! Hnhh! Hnhh!, because this is not a performance–he has already hyperextended his elbow once doing this–it is a serious training session. A puff of air kisses your eyeballs with each jab, because, instead of crushing your septum into your brains and bringing about the …
August 24th, 2015
Arizona Senator John McCain wants to protect the boxing business from itself. The sport’s biggest promoter, Don King, wants to protect the boxing business from John McCain.
Theirs is a fight about the future of prize fighting. Because regardless of whether Evander Holyfield fights Lennox Lewis or either of them fights Mike Tyson someday to unify the multiheaded heavyweight title, boxing’s real heavyweight championship will be decided by two headstrong, street-savvy, powerful leaders. McCain, a conservative Republican and a projected 2000 presidential candidate, is a former collegiate boxer at the U.S. Naval Academy, a Vietnam war hero and a former prisoner of war at the infamous Hanoi Hilton.
King is, well, King. He’s a bombastic, electric-headed Hall of Fame promoter who also was once incarcerated but at his own government’s insistence, not that of a Third World country.
“This is nothing but an anti-Don King bill,” says King, boxing’s biggest promoter, when asked his feelings about the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act that McCain proposed and shepherded through the Senate last year. McCain is now trying to move it through the House and into …
August 21st, 2015
Boxing (aka Executive Boxing, Boxerobics, Boxercise, Aerobox): Expect an abbreviated version of what an amateur or pro boxer would normally be put through, minus the contact. The first half of the class typically focuses on standard exercises from the sweet science, switching from skipping rope to push-ups to a few ab exercises (sometimes involving a medicine ball). The second half is more hands-on, hands-up. You’ll throw all the basic punches with either hand (jab, cross, hook and uppercut), then combinations of each to up the intensity. Some classes utilize shadowboxing; others feature bag work and focus mitts (baseball-like gloves without pockets). Most, however, keep the punches in the air and off any live opponent.
* Best at isolating and defining upper-body muscles
* Alleviates stress
* Twisting action from punching hits the love handles harder than normal
* Requires concentration to learn combinations and hand positioning
* Lower body is largely ignored
* May aggravate lower-back problems due to torso rotation during punching
* Abundance of unqualified boxing instructors can lead to injury
* Requires concentration to]earn combinations and hand positioning
August 18th, 2015
Of course, there are other sporting occasions that have a slow-burn of anticipation and an ability to spring surprise from what can appear a pre-ordained drama or a lost cause: the recent second-half mauling of the All Blacks, the resurrection of Manchester United in the final ten minutes of the European Cup final. It is at such moments that sport enlarges for us the realms of the possible. But there is little that can compare with the steady spotlight that was brought to bear on the most fearsome and the most famous fighters on the planet as all the jigsaw pieces leading to Zaire fell into place.
Did Ali see what we saw when he looked at Foreman – and Liston before him? Doubtful. LeRoi Jones, for example, described the force of Liston as “the bad nigger, a heavy-faced replica of every whipped-up woogie in the world. He is the underdeveloped, have-not, backward country, the subject people, finally here to collect his pound of flesh.” Ali, however, both cleverly and cruelly turned Foreman into the “white man’s nigger”, while claiming that he, himself, was …