The scrapbook is titled Boxing Memories and it needs to be filled with the top five imagines since the beginning of the 80's. This scrapbook is a little different than your aunt's scapbook from your trip to the beach in 1973. Of course Boxing Images is still going to have the stickers and thought bubbles and cut-outs and rainbows, but instead of just photos, it can have pictures or video or even audio. Here are my first five pages counting down to the most unforgettable moment of the last 30 years.
Maybe the most memorable image in boxing history is that of Ali standing above a prone Liston, imploring him to get up. Everyone has seen the picture. Many even have the image on a rec room or gym wall. But on some level it is pretty odd that maybe boxing's most famous image is not of men fighting, but one of men who have finished fighting. The fight was over.
Boxing is not unique in that aspect. The representative video for football in the 70's and the Steeler dynasty is not of the impossibly real immaculate reception, but one of Terry Bradshaw running off the field wagging his finger in the air. So it's not uncommon for the lasting image of a sporting event not to be the action of the sport itself, but something on the periphery of that contest. So in that spirit, my scrapbook for the last 30 years of boxing will consist of the five most unforgettable images that are not actually the action of fighting.
Page 5. There are a few cutouts of boxing gloves and some pictures of medical equipment, an ambulance's red cross and an endswell sticker surrounding the picture of Hasim Rahman's bump on his head after fighting Holyfield. And to just call it a bump is like calling Gatti vs Ward just a good fight. Yes, there have certainly been worse injuries in the ring, even the worst. Sure, there have been more gruesome things like stomach-turning cuts or a fighter hemorrhaging profusely but Rahman's image is a combination of gruesome and comical. If it was a Hollywood make-up job, the make-up artist would be laughed out of the business.
Page 4. Everybody loves at one time or another to say...did that just happen? Or even...what just happened? Holyfield and Bowe were in round 19. Their fights were a combinations of power and will, and watching it was a combination of cringing and awe and tension. The next thing the TV audience knows, there's some knumbskull strapped to a huge fan trapped on the side of the ring. It was a dumb, dangerous, and selfish stunt that could have been much worse. But the image of some jerk strapped to a parachute, legs curled around the top rope like a kid hanging upside down on the monkey bars, getting beat by a giant cell phone is the center of page four.
Page 3. Just like page 4. This one had people asking...what just happened? It took some time and explanation to grasp what was going on. But unlike page 4 that left people saying what an idiot, page 3 left people saying...no way, couldn't be. It also taught many Americans their first bit of Spanish... No Mas. The great Roberto Duran holding up his glove, twisting it back and forth and shaking his head. He's had enough. And that is enough said about that. With all his great moments in the ring, it is painful to include this one in Boxing Memories.
Page 2. In the 80's people would have spent money to watch Mike Tyson brush his teeth. He could have sold out stadiums petting a dog. Now the question might be, which unforgettable image of Mike? The side view, slow motion shot of him chomping Holyfield's ear? Nope. Holding up his once violent hands now confined to handcuffs? No. The image from Mike's years is the shot of him staring out, empty-eyed into the camera as Robin Givens blasts him. His expression never changed, never acknowledged she was talking about him. He looked like he needed a standing eight count. Fight fans who didn't know Barbara Walters, and had no idea why she found people so most interesting, tuned in to catch another look at the wrecking ball that was Mike Tyson and can't forget seeing him get wrecked.
Page 1. Nobody really cared when Bernard Hopkins told Joe Calzaghe that a white boy would never beat him. Some media tried to make it an issue. But really, how do you make an issue out of a statement that many, if not most people, really believe anyhow? Calzaghe didn't care, the public didn't care and no way does it make this scrapbook. But Bernard and another of his pre-fight hype job does, in an act that was 30% genius, 30% reprehensible, 40% foolish and 10% hilarious, and 100% the most unforgettable image from 1980 through 2010, when he grabbed the Puerto Rican flag and threw it to the ground in Puerto Rico, but it was Felix Trinidad's expression and finger point after, and the ensuing chase that pushed the memory to page 1. Trinidad's eyes said it all...Did you all just see that? Can you believe that guy came here and just through our flag to the floor? The ultimate heel move, proving pro wrestling had nothing on Bernard, but Bernard has page 1.
This scrapbook is going front and center on the coffee table, right next to the coffee table book about coffee tables, scorecard and pen and David Haye's book, How Not to Fight a Klitschko, but Talk Like You Want To.