Thursday’s Thoughts! Vol 1 Issue 2 – Boxing – Wilder vs Joshua?!! WHEN???

“Heart jim, Heart! The whole world’s crying out for a little bit of heart!”

— DETECTIVE STORY

RECOMMENDED DVD/BLU-RAY PURCHASE OF THE DAY

 

DETECTIVE STORY (1951) – See my full review of DETECTIVE STORY in the last installment of Thursday’s Thoughts.

Okay so what is obsessing me this Thursday?

I am catching up with the 4th season of the blade making/competition show, FORGED IN FIRE courtesy of streaming service HULU. Other shows being POWER, AMERICAN PICKERS,

I am finishing up the 6th and last season of the surprisingly good TEEN WOLF series courtesy of AMAZON PRIME. The 6th season is a bit of a misstep, especially the last half, it feels like the writing was definitely on just ‘crank something out mode’, but a weak 1st season and a weak last season aside, it is still must own tv for seasons 2 thru 5.

Definitely along with FARGO season 2, LUKE CAGE season 1, and LEGION season 1, Blu-ray worthy.

Other show on my EXTENSIVE Amazon Prime watch list is THE AMERICANS, BAD LANDS, JACK RYAN, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE to name a few.

 

What I’m Listening to:

I’m now on the fourth audio book of the 8 book men’s adventure series from the 1970s BLACK SAMURAI. Titled PEARL this 4th entry of the series the stakes are a little more street level, but no less dire. Robert Sands, the Black Samurai, instead of averting the revenge massacre of an American town, or stopping the utilization of mass murders and global conflict to increase stock prices, or a terrorist nuclear detonation in America; must this time out save one young girl from prostitution.

Unfortunately his opposition is no less deranged, and the collateral damage… runs just as red. About 11 chapters in and simply stupendous writing. Kevin Kennerly has quickly risen into my rankings of best audio book performers.

If you have not picked up all eight MP3 Audio books on Amazon Prime, now is the time to do so. Previous experience informs that they will not be in stock long.

I pop the cd in on my way to and from work, yes I insist on having a CD player in my car 🙂 and the audio book is SO FRIGGING GOOD! Each book is a writer, the late, great Marc Olden just at the height of his gifts. As a fan of all these men’s adventure books of the 70s, from BOND, to NICK CARTER, to THD EXECUTIONER MAC BOLAN to REMO WILLIAMS THE DESTROYER, Olden’s BLACK SAMURAI is the best of the best.

 

What I’m watching:

Youtube.

I am watching a lot of great Youtube channels. I watch, via Roku, Youtube on my big screen. The Youtube shows are overall more interesting than regular TV.

This week I have in addition to my plethora of comic book shows, gotten on a boxing kick.

The heavy-weight division, after a period of stagnation in the Klitschko years, now has some really exciting champions and contenders and matchups. First and foremost you have two true undisputed champions, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.

Anthony Joshua holds the WBO,IBF, AND WBA belts. Deontay Wilder holds the WBC belt.

Both of these fighters are in the mold of Super Heavyweights, the first such Super-Heavyweight being George Forman back in the 1960s. Being well over 6 feet, and over 200 Lbs, Foreman dwarfed his heavy weight competition of the day. And only the brilliance that was Ali was able to figure out how to beat, the unbeatable George Foreman, a man who had not only height and weight but true boxing skill.

Foreman’s return to the heavy weight circuit in the 90s, in a boxing scene absent of an Ali to oppose him, saw the elder Stateman shake the world becoming decades after his expected prime, the undisputed heavy weight champion of the world… and set the mold for the champion of the future.

Someone 6’4 or above and 250lbs. That today has become the average size of the heavyweight division. Which effectively redefines the heavyweight division as a super-heavy weight division.

And redefines what has historically been the heavy weight division, as the cruiser weight division.

The domino effect of this skewing of traditional division definitions, is people who would perform far better and more competitively in the cruiserweight division, are bulking up to pursue the historic prestige of the heavy weight division. Not realizing the heavy weight champions of the 20th century would now all be cruiserweights, not heavyweights.

This new boom of super heavyweights in the heavyweight division, is part of the stagnation of the last few years. Talented fighters are putting on weight beyond their frame to compete with these new super heavyweights, to their detriment. And the detriment of the sport.

A lot of these boxers would be stunning at cruiser weight, but ‘cruiserweight champion of the world’ does not garner the respect or interest, as having the title heavyweight champion. That is why no one even knows who the cruiser weight champions are. I looked them up for this article, never heard of any of them.

There are two ways to solve this,

1/ either create a superheavy weight division, say avyone above 225lbs. And that keeps traditional heavyweights from being outmatched by someone substantially heavier than them, with a greater reach. This is perhaps the most satisfying way, in that it allows for another Jack Johnson, or Joe Louis, or Rocky Marciano to in the future become the heavy weight champion, to keep it not too far out of the scope of a regular guy. And the supersized anomalies such as Klitschko, Fury, Joshua etc, get moved to the Super Heavy Weight division. or..

2/The 2nd way would be to redefine the cruiserweight division as the most prestigious weight division. But that would likely be a hard sell as the history of what is considered the best in boxing is that heavyweight division.

So the 1st option is the one that offers the most competitive heavyweight division.

Currently in 2018 we are very blessed to have a few talented 6’6 heavy weights to compete against each other rather than just outjabbing what amounts to overweight cruserweights, but that beneficial status quo won’t last. And then we will be back to a stagnant heavyweright scene.

For the good of boxing we need to create a super heavy weight division, and that will allow exciting matches at the heavy weight division to flourish.

And right now there is one ‘fight of the decade’ match at the ‘Heavyweight’ division, as well as a couple competitive matches.

That fight of the decade is between of course Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. Both 6’6 , both knockout artists, both undefeated, and both very exciting fighters. Though clearly Deontay Wilder is the more exciting fighter both inside and outside the ring. Quite clearly Joshua’s people are running scared, knowing in a fight with Deontay, the odds favor that Wilder is either going to knock out Joshua and unify the division: and even a grueling battle that ekes out a decision in favor of their champion, will just excelerate what Deontay likes to call ‘a fighter’s expiration date’.

Now I say the odds are good Wilder knocks out Joshua, cause that is where my gut points. But quite frankly they are both proven champions, it can go either way. That is why it would be a great fight, they are both deserving of respect. The only one who seemingly doesn’t know this is Tyson Fury. Tyson Fury also is deserving of respect, but he has been out of the game for three years, and arguably the Klitschko he beat was a shadow of the one that Joshua fought.

So having not had a fight in 3 years he is trying to talk himself into a title (spelt ‘money’) match. That is not how it is done. You have to prove you still have it and are deserving of fighting a champion before anyone is interested in seeing you fight a champion. Both Joshua and Wilder would earn nothing by beating him. He has to earn that contender status again, just like any other fighter. So it is good that he is fighting again, with a 2nd fight slated for August. Though as long as there is a Joshua/Wilder fight on the possible horizon, he might as well consign himself to waiting in line.

Why?

Well, This is part of the problem with this misnamed super-heavy weight division. Outside of fighting over weight cruiser weights there aren’t really a lot of competitive fights for 6’6 250 lb guys who can really box. So Joshua’s people have their hands full trying to duck The couple serious super-heavy weight fighters out there. I think Joshua beats handily a crafty Tyson Fury, but he risks ending his knockout streak, and worse… an injury, which is always a possibility with any fight, and losing out on the real money fight… Deontay Wilder.

The only fight anyone wants to see in the heavyweight/superheavy weight division is Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua. So Joshua people, stop cherry picking fighters and make it happen.

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Ok I did not think I would do that much talking about Boxing. What can I say, after decades of stagnation, there are some really competitive fights out there.

And Boxing, for reasons I stated elsewhere, I like as a spectator sport, far more than MMA.

That is it for this installment.

Leave a comment or like if you enjoy this THURSDAY’S THOUGHTS!!!

 

 

 

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2018 : The resurgence of BOXING Interest in the US!

The last couple years have shown a real resurgence in mainstream US interest in Boxing.

 

Now that Interest has never waned abroad, and is arguably stronger than it has ever been everywhere from England to Russia, but only in the States that for most of the 20th century was the heart and head and seat of professional Boxing (The home of Boxing’s greatest champions From Jack Johnson to Evander Holyfield), has Boxing been shuffled off the main stage, into all but minor league obscurity.

And while MMA is undoubtably big these days, it is not Boxing. And it is not better than Boxing, it exercises different interests, the way Soccer differs from Football. They both have their strengths.

For my money while MMA has its strengths, and I am glad for its growth, that growth should not come at the expense of Boxing. Anymore than the growth in Rugby should mean we stop giving airtime to Football.

While I like MMA as a discipline and there have been many great matches, the standup game of Boxing and that specification of strikes, and limitation of styles, lends itself to truly epic engagements deserving of apellations such as fight of the year, far more often and regularly than MMA.

 

Boxing due to its length and its style lends itself to being… more than a sprint, when you have two great fighters and styles in the boxing ring, you get these epic engagements of will that allows you to see a fighter’s chin tested and his endurance tested in a way that the sprint, submission style of MMA, rarely lends itself to.

Again there are many great fighters and matches in the past and present of MMA, from the domination years of Royce Gracie to the domination years of Sakuraba to the domination years of Anderson Silva to the current domination years of fantastic fighters such as Jon Jones (currently the best UFC fighter and a personal favorite, who I like to introduce, whenever I see him fight, in my best Boxing Announcer voice as… ‘JON JONES…… THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER!!!!! You have to be a comic book fan to get the reference, but I think that is way better than the idiotic nickname of ‘BONES’ that they give him) and such phenoms as Buakaw (if you do not know that name, go searching for any of his over 200 professional fights. Yes I said over 200 fights!!!!! He is the stuff of legend.); but these exceptions aside, as a whole Boxing’s stand up style lends itself to far more interesting engagements.

 

I recently watched (on the big screen TV, I don’t watch video on a phone or tablet or laptop. If I am going to take the time to watch something, I want to watch it as close to its intended scale as possible. Only then can you get close to adequately consuming, or reviewing and forming and intelligent opinion on the content consumed.  David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA  seen in 70mm on a full size movie theater, which I have done, is a completely richer experience than watching it on someone’s LCD monitor. How you consume content, is part and parcel of the experience), courtesy of the Youtube App on my Roku device, a bevy of classic 70s and 80s Boxing matches, with men who fought true wars in the ring.

 

Of course Ali, Frazier, Norton, George Foreman (people remember Foreman for his later post Ali years as Champion and beloved funny guy and elder statesman of boxing, but during his first life, as a boxer, that went from 1969 to 1977, this guy… in a heavyweight scene full of fearsome men, was the most feared man on the entire planet.

He was a young, gigantic, brutal,and undefeatable force of nature breaking everything in his path. Ivan Drago’s character in Rocky 4, the character played by Dolph Lundgren (‘I will break you.’) that was George Foreman in the late 60s early 70s. An unbeatable force of nature, till a man called Ali found a way to beat him.)

 

And similar, stuff of legend wars… were fought in the lighter divisions by men with names like Tommy the Hitman Hearnes, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Roberto the man with the hands of Stone Duran, And Sugar Ray Leonard.

I watched the 1st Duran Hearnes fight, then I watched the Hearnes Sugar Ray fight, and its eight year later sequel.

Here is the thing people forget about Hearnes, he much like George Foreman, because of his height and frame and reach… was something new in boxing for his weight class. A kid, like they all were back then, coming out of Detroit he cut through the middlewight division like a knife, earning the name of Hitman by knocking out everyone he faced. An undefeated champion, he and Sugar Ray Leonard, also a champion, would meet in September 1981 for a winner take all unification match.

It was called the showdown and lived up to its billing. Being a 15 round war and one of the greatest fights of that year or any year.

I take this trip down memory lane to say that… what is great about Boxing, can not be replaced or usurped by MMA. There is a uniqueness to Boxing, that makes it, when you get a talented crop of Boxers, the stuff of legend.

I think after 20 years of neglect, and corruption (something that the UFC seems to be dealing with, as well as K1. The japanese PRIDE was the best thing to happen to MMA, and since its effective buyout and dissolution, we have an increasingly suspect, in terms of management, UFC). 

you now have a very exciting Boxing landscape starting to form, particularly at the lower weight classes. Terrence Crawford and Errol Spence being two of the most exciting fighters to come along in decades. And suddenly you begin to see this return of interest and money to the boxing landscape, that I for one am looking forward to.

For more on Boxing, go listen to two recent, pretty darn excellent John Siuntres WORD BALLOON podcasts, that veer from comic books to boxing, in interviews with two great names in the Boxing coverage landscape.

 

http://www.wordballoon.com/

http://percolate.blogtalkradio.com/offsiteplayer?hostId=1113527&episodeId=10850405#

http://percolate.blogtalkradio.com/offsiteplayer?hostId=1113527&episodeId=10858419#

Completely riveting interviews, and after listening, you, like I, will be searching Youtube for great Boxers past and present and future.

Thanks for checking out this post, and if you enjoy please leave a like, or comment. And feel free to recommend your 5 favorite recent boxing and or mma matches or websites.

To get you started here are my recommendations of must watch Youtube boxing/mma videos:

I love watching Thomas Hearnes fight. He had a fantastic jab, a great left hook attack to the body and head, and one of the best, most devastating, right hands in Boxing history. Which makes the following clip, all the more amazing. And why Sugar Ray Leonard, like his idol Muhammad Ali, is the greatest of all time. Because he fought unbeatable men… and found a way to beat them.

And if that is the past of Boxing, here is the present and future: 2018 is the year America remembers what the world has never forgotten, that the boxing ring is the place where the last legends of the world…. are made.

And for more on how to stay ontop the changing world of Boxing, I recommend the following two sites (that both offer subscriptions to their magazines):

http://www.ringtv.com

http://www.ringsideseatmag.com

BEST and WORST Youtube CHANNELS OF THE Week!

BEST:

  • EARL GREY

  • SILVER AGE DAVE

  • REGGIE COLLECTS

  • POP CULTURE PHILOSOPHERS- energetic current comic book reviews

  • COMIC TOM 101- Closest the Youtube comic community comes to really great investigative reporting. Excellent channel.

WORST:

WE LOVE COMICS- This channel has some very informative videos, and is very big to call out other channels on what they are or aren’t doing, but his recent blinders on defense of grading company PGX and spinning that conversation away from the latest PGX issue, the claim they were pressuring graders to grade books high, so they could sell such books through a shill account, is completely ignored and instead he attacks the claimant, going so far as to hint at said claimant being let go for drug reasons. An inference that both PGX and WE LOVE COMICS backed away from when questioned on it by COMIC TOM101. 

WE LOVE COMICS, as a YouTube channel, is quick to give lip service to integrity, but I find the whole relationship and shilling for PGX (given, story after story of alarming business practices by this company… ie the WALKING DEAD comic certifying fiasco), paints WE LOVE COMICS in a very disingenuous and untrustworthy light. I would love this channel to step up and be as impartial as it claims to be in regards to PGX, but the host’s failure to ask the obvious question, when he goes on about how he speaks directly to the president of PGX, speaks volumes.

************

What else is on my worst list?

Any comic channel that has an issue with Social Justice Warriors – the history of comics from Superman to Captain America is about Social Justice Warrior characters.

These characters in their origins are demonstrably Social Justice Warriors writ large, those who are there to protect the populace against the predatory and venal. So if you don’t like Social Justice Warriors maybe superhero comics is not the medium for you.

And if you are subscribed to these disingenuously named channels (the name of the channel is in complete opposition to their very negative postings and stance, such as DIVERSITY IN COMICS and COMICSPRO and CAPN CUMMINGS) I would say consider un-subscribing from them IMMEDIATELY and subscribing to one of the other channels I mention. The fact that any of those channels has more subscribers than EARL GREY, who in my opinion anyone who is a comic fan should be subscribed to, highlights the fact we live in an age where some people actually voted for Trump. 🙂

If the channel uses the acronym SJW, and are too lazy to write out the word Social Justice Warrior, it is because they want to make the short hand a meaningless curse, rather than a valid concrete idea. It is like the people who use PC as basically a curse word, realizing that if you replace ‘political correctness’ with its synonym ‘respect’, you would understand better what such people are are really arguing against.

So yeah guys, lets remove the attention and the subscriptions from the clickbait crowd and give the attention and numbers to some of the great channels I list above.

 

 

 

Streaming MOVIE OF THE DAY : THE BRIDE (2018)

THE BRIDE (2017)-This is the 2nd Russian film I’m seen by relatively new writer/director Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy, the first being QUEEN OF SPADES, and I have to say… this guy is the real deal. Showing a sense for storytelling, and pacing a scene, and building up a sense of earned dread and creepiness that few directors can equal.

I was and am a huge fan of QUEEN OF SPADES and THE BRIDE might even be better. It eschews (for the most part) the unlikeable, stupid characters, and moronic plots that make up most horror movies these days, instead offering simply baroque and hair raising film-making of the highest order.

That opening scene is how you start a movie. Look forward to more film from this filmaker. Grade: STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Watch it for free courtesy of Amazon Prime, than buy a DVD/Blu-Ray to earn. It deserves to be the permanent part of any good DVD collection .

7 Reasons AMAZON PRIME Streaming is better than Netflix STREAMING!

  1. LARGER SELECTION OF FILMS, ESPECIALLY GENRE AND CLASSIC FILMS – Netflix has a rather paltry selection of films compared to Amazon. In addition Netflix is almost completely lacking in older films in any numbers. Want to see the best in Spaghetti Westerns, or Italian Giallos or Polischei films or Paul Naschy films or Shaw Brothers Hong Kong Films or Black New Wave Films or Bigfoot Films? You wont find that on Netflix, you have to go to Amazon for such a curated selection of films/options.

  2. BETTER SELECTION OF FILMS – This goes hand in hand with point 1. In addition to having a much larger selection, they have a better selection of films.

  3. AVAILABILITY OF RATINGS FOR ALL MOVIES AND TV SHOWS – I find Amazon’s ratings on their films not only spot on, but a great way to help me find a film I might otherwise not have tried or discovered.

  4. SUPER USEFUL ‘CUSTOMERS ALSO WATCHED’ FEATURE – This feature goes along with the ratings to help me find films I otherwise would not have discovered.

  5. EASY AVAILABILITY OF TRAILERS FOR MOST MOVIES, OLD AND NEW – Trailers for all movies, old and new, is a must, and is yet another reason Amazon is far more enjoyable to browse than Netflix.

  6. BETTER SELECTION OF SHORT FILMS

  7. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK, IN ADDITION TO STREAMING YOU GET ALL THE OTHER BENEFITS OF AMAZON , INCLUDING DISCOUNTED PRICING AND FREE SHIPPING.

For all these reasons I have un-subscribed to Netflix, and am happily subscribed to Amazon and Hulu.

One caveat, I think I’ll subscribe to Netflix for one month just to see the 2nd season of LUKE CAGE. The first season was along with DAREDEVIL season 1 the best of the Netflix shows. And was easily the best written and most groundbreaking of the shows.

Those conversations, that the closed-minded called slow or unnecessary, were the very heart of the show, this understanding of a Harlem renaissance not yet deferred, and were conversations that I’ve heard and had. So to see a show embrace an other than anglo-saxon or yuppie story-telling perspective, to have stories that actually have some resonance and familiarity to a broader ethnic perspective, made LUKE CAGE 1 up there with LEGION season 1 and FARGO season 2 as truly innovative television.

Those of you who didn’t get Luke Cage, I would suggest watch season 1 again, it is one of the few shows that gets stronger, when re-watched. When watched for what it is, rather than what we assumed it would be.

Here is hoping SEASON 2 of LUKE CAGE lives up to season 1.

RIP: Harlan Ellison 1934-2018

To call Harlan Ellison one of the signposts of my life I tnink would be accurate. I think he was the signpost for much of the 20th century. He, the eternally forward moving young man, was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century,  right up there with Ray Bradbury. But Harlan’s fiction, like the man, was unique. He was in addition to one of the moist unique and brilliant writers of his age, also one of the adamant voices against ignorance.

Against small minds, and smaller imaginations.

In addition to being a wonderful writer of the speculative and strange and fantastic and cautionary, he was just as great a voice actor. Easily, with his nasally voice, but impassioned rapid fire delivery one of the greatest voice actors of the 20th century, getting an audio book of Mr. Ellison performing his work, is among the treasures of the 20th century, right up there with Orson Welles’ SHADOW and MERCURY THEATER .

We are all, here in this confused and regressive  21st century, the poorer for being deprived of a hopeful forward looking visionary. His futures, even when dark and sardonic, such as A BOY AND HIS DOG, had that of the hopeful and playful and irreverent in them. with tongue, firmly planted in cheek, had that of the possible in them, of a victory somewhere right beyond the next dawn.

His DANGEROUS VISIONS anthology changed the very way people wrote, and elevated the status of the anthology. 60 years after that books publication, and every anthology is still measured and defined against that one.

His whole body of work is replete with such game changers.

 

My deepest sympathies goes out to those he has left behind, and my deepest blessings go out to those he goes to rejoin.

You have done well Harlan Ellison, by God and by man.

 

Rest well.

 

The worst thing that can happen to movies and free news is for Disney to gobble up Fox Studios and yet another news channel..

There is a reason a hundred years ago antitrust laws , and labor laws and child labor laws and unions came to be… because we learned the hard way… unchecked capitalism and greed is indistinguishable from tyranny and murder.

Companies were literally killing people to make a penny more in profit.

Let us not go backwards.

Say no to Disney gobbling up another studio and another network and news division. That would make them even more, the makers of truth..

Too much power for any company or any man.

Comcast is no prize, but in this situation, having them buy the Fox portfolio, it is clearly the lesser of two evils.

 

Here endeth the Lesson.