The Fight: The Rules of the Ring on SBS TV

The Fight: The Rules of the Ring on SBS TV

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Australia Ronprice
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After watching the first part of the television series entitled The Fight: The Rules of the Ring on SBS TV (Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:00 a.m. beginning 29 July 200 I wrote the following prose-poem to try and capture the personal relevance of the boxing story in that one hour program. I trust readers at this site will enjoy this personalized account, even if they do not share all my personal values and beliefs. -Ron Price, Tasmania, Australia. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KNOCKING THEM OUT Jack Dempsey(1895-1983) was an American boxer who was boxing history’s 9th world heavyweight champion. He held the title from 1919 to 1926. Dempsey's aggressive style and punching power made him one of the most popular in boxing history. On his way to the title Dempsey won nine straight fights in 1917 and 21 out of 22 in 1918, 11 of these by first-round knockouts. In 1919 he won five bouts in a row by knockouts in the first round on the way to fight for the title on 4 July 1919 against Jess Willard. Few gave Dempsey a chance against Willard, a big man 50 lbs. heaver and six inches taller. Many called the fight a modern David and Goliath story. Minutes before the fight Dempsey’s fight manager, Jack Kearns, informed Dempsey that he had wagered Dempsey's share of the purse. He had bet his share of the purse on Dempsey winning with a first round knockout. As a result, the first round of the fight was one of the most brutal in boxing history. Dempsey dealt Willard a terrible beating and knocked him down seven times in the first round. Willard had a broken cheekbone, broken jaw, several teeth knocked out, partial hearing loss in one ear and broken ribs. Some of the most intense minutes in boxing history are found in the fights of Jack Dempsey from 1919 to 1926. On September 23, 1926, at Sesquicentennial Stadium in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, the largest crowd ever, 120,757, saw the 31-year-old Jack Dempsey lose his title to Gene Tunney in a 10 round decision on points. Explaining his battered face to his wife Estelle, Dempsey said--in one of boxing’s most famous lines: "honey, I forgot to duck." I have taken a special interest in these seven years of boxing history for three reasons. Firstly, I have always had an interest in boxing since my father and I watched fights on TV from 1954 to 1962. In March 1962 Kid Peret was killed in the ring by Emile Griffith and my dad and I watched no more fights. Our shared interest in boxing perhaps began with Rocky Marciano’s sixth-round knockout of Rex Layne at Madison Square Garden on 12 July 1951 or with the September 29th 1952 fight between Rocky Marciano and Jersey Joe Walcott the then heavyweight boxing champion. This fight was what boxing experts have considered to be Marciano's defining moment. But my father and I had to wait until 1954 to watch our first boxing match since those first two famous fights in my young life were not televised. The first fights we watched took place over 50 years ago and my memory of them is naturally somewhat rusty. From about 1954 until 1962, when Kid Peret died from his fight with Griffith and on the eve of my pioneering life for the Canadian Baha’i community, my dad and I watched the big championship fights and many Friday night fights on TV sponsored by the Gillett Company. The second reason that I took a special interest in boxing was that just last night1 my interest was reawakened. I saw the first part of a four part television series on the history of the greatest fighters in boxing. The series was entitled 1The Fight: The Rules of the Ring1 and was being televised on SBS TV on four consecutive Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:00 a.m. beginning 29 July 2008. Thirdly, I found an interesting correlation between the history of the religion I have been associated with for 55 years(1953-200 and boxing history during those seven years(1919-1926).2 This prose-poem explores that correlation, its comparisons and contrasts. -Ron Price with appreciation to Loni Bramson-Lerche, “Development of Baha’i Administration,” in Studies in Babi & Baha’i History: Volume 1, editor Moojan Momen, Kalimat Press, Los Angeles, 1982, pp.255-300. While Dempsey was knocking them out and heading for the title, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was knocking out His Tablets, getting them ready for their great unveiling in 1919 just before Dempsey got the title. They both kept knocking them out1 in the ring and on paper--slowly--not so slowly. While Dempsey defended his title this movement connected loosely became fully organized building blocks of a future world government at local and national levels, united in doctrinal matters and focussed on teaching as its main aim in all that it did and tried to do. The fight was on and a national consciousness was emerging for the war with those right and left wings of the hosts of the world and a carrying of the attack to the very centre of the powers of the earth by God’s Hosts.2 1 Some 100 tablets were revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Baha for the American Baha’is. See H.M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Baha: The Centre of the Covenant, George Ronald, Oxford, 1971, p. 434. 2 ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan, Wilmette, 1977(1919), p. 48. Ron Price 29 July 2008

married for 42 years, a teacher for 35 and a Baha'i for 50
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