|Marvelous Marvin Hagler works out in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in the winter of 1984. Photo by Michael James from his forthcoming book, Michael Gaylord James' Pictures from the Long Haul.|
Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1984
Hagler is beautiful to watch as he moves around the ring with his cool-looking Latino trainer guy.By Michael James / The Rag Blog / June 5, 2013
[In this series, Michael James is sharing images from his rich past, accompanied by reflections about -- and inspired by -- those images. This photo will be included in his forthcoming book, Michael Gaylord James' Pictures from the Long Haul.]
Fenway Park. Boston. Saturday, September 3, 1983. I was visiting my high school sweetheart Susan, and joined her and friends for the White Sox (beloved) vs. Red Sox game. The White Sox are winning in the top of the 7th, and I, alone, do a top of the seventh inning stretch and cheer.
I am roundly booed and pummeled with bags, wrappers, cups, beer and hot dog parts. No sympathy or affection for the Red Sox ever again: and always remember they were the last team to take a black player. White Sox won 9-6!
Early into the New Year 1984, I returned to Boston for a run out to Provincetown with a woman I had met on that earlier baseball excursion. Provincetown was gray, cold, rainy, windy, salty, sparse, slow motion. My first time there; its not the Provincetown I pictured. I enjoy walking and running along a beach in the mist.
We're at the Provincetown Inn. Surprise and moderate joy! "The Provincetown Inn is presenting Marvelous Marvin Hagler, undisputed Middleweight Champion of the World." He is training at the Inn. He calls the Provincetown training camp his "prison." He works out in the Inn's minimally enclosed -- and closed for the winter -- pool and patio area.
Hagler is beautiful to watch as he moves around the ring with his cool-looking Latino trainer guy.
I like boxing and the stories and images around it. I like movies about boxing. It has always been something in my life. I watched a lot of fights with my dad. I had boxing lessons as a kid, and was around an old boxer at my hometown Connecticut Y named Jim White; he would swim for miles at Compo Beach.
I grew up watching the National Boxing Commission fights on Friday nights on NBC, and the Independent Boxing Commission's Phillies Saturday Night Fights on ABC. My dad was in radio and TV and produced the Philly's fights. I was with the TV crew in the 1956 at the Boston Garden, and got to see the great Kid Gavilan from Cuba, who danced pre-Ali in those high top white dancing-and-prancing style boxing shoes.
I was with my dad at the Golden Gloves in Madison Square Garden, March 21, 1960, when Cassius Marcellus Clay won it all beating the 232-pound Gary Jawish out of DC. Clay was 172 lbs, dancing and backpeddling while battering the big man.
Muhammad Ali-to-be went on to win the Olympics that summer and begin capturing a world's imagination. He became the World Champion, a champion for all who have-want to-will stand up to the man. Once in DC I boarded a plane early. Ali was the only other person on the plane. I passed him in first class, too shy to stop, only saying, "I'm a day older than you are, January 16, 1942." The champ smiled.
In the Rising Up Angry years we sold our paper in neighborhoods throughout our town, always talking about police-war-women-race-capitalism-socialism and everyone getting along. We regularly hit Chicago Parks like Portage and LaFollette that had a boxing scene. We hung around gyms and boxing rings, went to CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) and CPD boxing events at St Andrews on Addison. Scenes of these bouts show up in footage of Peter Kuttner's film Trick Bag about the work of Rising Up Angry.
I loved the Cuban crowd in Havana during the Pan American Games in 1991. I still attend events at Loyola Park and St. Andrews gym, and visit the boxing room at Loyola Park. And when flicking that clicker I see bouts on TV, still enjoying, but find myself wincing more.
[Michael James is a former SDS national officer, the founder of Rising Up Angry, co-founder of Chicago's Heartland Café (1976 and still going), and co-host of the Saturday morning (9-10 a.m. CDT) Live from the Heartland radio show, here and on YouTube. He is reachable by one and all at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more articles by Michael James on The Rag Blog.]
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