Thanksgiving Day, appropriate for me to say I'm thankful for boxing's larger-than-life personalities of yesteryear and the present ― Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, et al. Think of how they've enriched our experiences as fight fans and writers.
I'm grateful for the Sweet Science's memorable trilogies. Arturo Gatti vs. Mickey Ward and Manny Pacquiao vs. Erik Morales, for example.
I'm forever appreciative that some of the finest writers of the past century have penned articles and books about the fight game. Thomas Hauser, Mark Kram, Jerry Izenberg, W.C. Heinz, Joyce Carol Oates, Hugh McIlvaney and Dave Kindred, among others. They inspire us and teach us in countless ways how to see every aspect of a fight and to convey in words what's happened. Click here to read a Q n A done with the esteemed Hauser.
I'm thankful my uncle Jack worked as a recreational therapist at a VA (Veterans Administration) hospital in New Jersey while I was a student. In the mid-to-late 1980s, he taped many of the big fights on HBO, showed them to his patients at the hospital and then often let me see the videos.
As a 12-year-old, I was in awe of the punching power of Mike Tyson–here are his top 5 KOs, by the way– and always looked forward to watching the tapes.
Vet Journo Appreciates What His Craft Has Shown Him
I'm also grateful that throughout my journalism career I've had opportunities to meet and interview individuals at both ends of the fame spectrum in boxing.
Conversations with community center boxing trainers in Arizona preaching in-the-ring fundamentals and a never-wavering commitment to education have been as meaningful to me as big-fight recollections with the inimitable announcer Jim Lampley and former fighters George Foreman and Buster Douglas.
It was illuminating to hear Big George discuss his daily routines, his memories of Ali, his goal of generating positive discussions about boxing and life on Twitter several years ago. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that every one of these chats was meaningful in its own unique way.
Also today, with thoughts of thanks and appreciation spinning around in my mind, I feel obliged to mention the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.
The International Boxing Hall of Fame (and other halls of fame) is dedicated to a vital job: preserving the sport's history and artifacts and celebrating the achievements of fighters, trainers, managers, promoters, writers, broadcasters and others with inseparable links to the Sweet Science.
What about fights and fighters in the 2020s?
First and foremost, I'm thankful that there have been opportunities in recent years to see one of boxing's current superstars, Naoya “Monster” Inoue, compete four times in the Tokyo metropolitan region at a trio of venues (Saitama Super Arena, Ryogoku Kokugikan and Ariake Arena).
To witness a slice of pugilistic history in person is a big deal. And whenever Inoue enters the ring, another significant chapter in boxing history must be written. I'm humbled to have contributed a small part in chronicling some of Inoue's glorious achievements.
And last but not least, I'm filled with gratitude to be one of many contributors to NY Fights, a website that elevates the overall conversation and amplifies ongoing discussions about boxing.