| ||Cool piece Hope. I myself am a boxing fan as well, and dig the offering of a type of cultural counterpoint to the normal dismissals.
That said, I have to disagree with P. Diddy/Jack Johnson. Johnson had a talent never seen before his day, and lasted 7 years as champ as soon as they gave him his shot. Also, upon reaching success he flaunted his money and fame in a way much different from Diddy. Johnson dated white women in a time where that could get you and your entire family lynched in the wrong parts of the country . . . Puff holds white parties in the Hamptons. One shoved his success in society's face, the other shoved himself into high society.
Also, Johnson had unquestioned talent for the sport itself, rather than its peripheral (perhaps more important) aspects. Puff obviously isn't a great musical talent in his own right, but certainly seems to know who is and how to play the game better than just about anyone. Yet, lest we count out Diddy, he has a nagging air about him . . . you know you're not giving him enough credit. That's why I would have paired him with Ray Leonard . . . people can point to the sham tie with Hearns in their rematch or the sham victory over Hagler where he used pitter-patter combos that had no power whatsoever to impress judges who already liked him, but at the end of the day, he knocked Hearns out the first time. And that eats at the detractor (myself for instance), the one who doesn't like his style, the taunting, the relentless self-promotion, the manufactured class, the need to be a star (all Puffy traits too). He knocked out Tommy the Hitman, at the height of Tommy's power when Tommy was way ahead on the scorecards. It's the nagging knowledge that maybe he isn't all sizzle.
I don't know where you can go with Jack Johnson . . . 7 years at the top of the game, unquestioned, with the establishment bringing back undefeated champions from retirement to take him down, yet couldn't. Forced into exile and eventually thrown in jail for "unforgiveable blackness" (a very good documentary by the way). Reviled by one people, hero to another . . . important enough to cause race riots in more than a dozen American cities. I think it's just too difficult to draw a parallel. Maybe Public Enemy as a whole . . . combining the scary (to the white establishment) strength of the Black race with Chuck D's unquestioned intellect, shunning the accepted even when given notoriety. Undeniable talent and the refusal to stay in one's place. I just don't know if PE was big enough or inhabited an environment hostile enough to warrant the comparison.|
| ||I'll have to tip my hat to the stylus crew for always having fun & putting up little bits like this one (I guess I'll never see Ask A Girl ever again?). Personally, I don't see quite eye-to-eye with some of the selections. From what I know of Marvin Hagler, his carreer was seen to some as always playing "second-fiddle" to Sugar Ray Leonard. All the insiders know he easily was the best at his game, but never received the wide-spread popularity that Sugar Ray did. Put on top of this how he lost the desicion to Sugar Ray in their title-bout, he never quite got what he deserved. In this respect, I would liken him to a band perhaps more like the Smashing Pumpkins, who had an incredible run of their own, but will never be Nirvana (Billy Corgan is left-handed as well). And what, no love for B-Hop?|
| ||I totally agree with both comments. This piece is a classic example of good idea in theory, difficult to bring to life. It is a flawed model and, at times, I felt like I was crowbarring the square peg of boxing into music's round hole. I would have loved to get more into the details of boxing careers, but I wanted to respect the mission of Stylus and stick to the music without veering too much into pugilism. I contemplated so many different people for Jack Johnson conterpart since he represented so much more than just great boxing (Chuck D did come up) but after holding a quorum with several friends, this list seemed work the best. I am glad there are some boxing fans out there! |