Think of boxing superstars and you probably think of Muhammad Ali. When you think of Ali what is it that sticks in your mind? The Ali shuffle? The public persona? It’s no secret that Ali took more than just a touch of inspiration from a certain Walker Smith Jnr, better known as Sugar Ray Robinson calling him “The king, the master, my idol”.
So what is so special about Sugar Ray, why all the fuss?
Sugar Ray Robinson
Put simply he personified the sweet science – knockout power in both hands, dazzling hand speed, stunning footwork, brash super confidence, he knew every punch in the booking text-book and could throw them all, from any angle at any time with explosive power.
He was so good the whole notion of a pound for pound best boxer was created just for Sugar Ray – that’s how special he was.
If you have seen the great film Raging Bull you may remember Robinson’s epic battles with Jake laMotta, they actually fought six times, with Sugar Ray winning five of the six battles.
Robinson retired from boxing with a record of 175-19-6 with 110 knockouts in 200 professional bouts. If you compare that to todays great fighters who tend to retire after around 50 professional fights that will give you some context to this achievement.
I genuinely struggle to put into words how good Sugar Ray Robinson was, to watch him in action is to see something that perhaps only comes around once in history.
Words like genius and legend are banded around so often these days that they have lost their impact, but Sugar Ray really personified both traits.
Watch this video – really do watch it – if you’ve never seen him in action before you are in for something very special indeed:
Posted in boxing
Tagged ali, Best Boxing News Sites Around!, boxing, Gene Fullmer, GOAT, jake la motta, jake laMotta, Light heavyweight, lightweight, Middleweight, muhammad ali, p4p, pound for pound, randy turpin, ricky hatton, robinson, sugar ray, WBC, welterweight
Takashi Murakami Louis Vuitton design
Think you don’t know Takashi Murakami, think again.
His collaboration with fashion house Louis Vuitton for a range of handbags and wallets became some of the most counterfeited fashion products in the world – the best gauge of the public’s hunger for a product. If you’re a fan of Kanye West have another look at his album covers.
With Murakami’s marriage of high and low art, commercialism and a Warhol ethos of factory production, he is often the target of critics that point to a cynical manipulation of low culture in his work.
Takashi Murakami standing with his work Hiropon
The prices his work features speak for themselves though – in May 2008 “My Lonesome Cowboy” (1998), a sculpture of a masturbating boy, sold for $15.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction. His work is coveted across the globe and his grand exhibition at the MOCA gallery in LA last year reportedly sold $4 million worth of limited edition prints from the galleries boutique shop – situated in the main gallery itself – perhaps Murakami’s tongue in cheek reference to the dialogue on the commercial aspect of his work?
Time magazine has rated him in their power 100 for the last 2 years – he is the only visual artist to feature on the list.
Check out the video from the Japanorama series on Murakami:
Posted in art
Tagged art, auction, fashion, handbag, japanorama, louis vuitton, MOCA, murakami, prints, sotheby, sothebys, superflat, takashi murakami, time
Childhood memories are sacred things. An abiding fixation of my formative years relates to weekend visits to the upper echelons of the Science Museum and to the Wellcome collection that still today resides in some semblance there.
Shrunken Head, Shuar people
One object out of all the treasures in that collection became a vivid obsession for me – a shrunken head. This object of such complete wonder, such allure is now housed in the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road in London in their ‘Medicine Man’ gallery. It is now presented in all its wonder alongside other artifacts from all corners of the globe that were amassed by the great medical curiosity collector Henry Wellcome.
Henry Wellcome was a man of many parts: entrepreneur, philanthropist, patron of science and pioneer of aerial photography. He also created one of the world’s great museums: a vast stockpile of evidence about our universal interest in health and the body.
More than 150 years after his birth in 1853, this exhibition reunites a cross-section of extraordinary objects from his collection, ranging from diagnostic dolls to Japanese sex aids, and from Napoleon’s toothbrush to George III’s hair. It also provides a very different perspective on some of our own obsessions with medicine and health.
In ‘Medicine Man’ some objects are gathered by type and others by broad cross-cultural themes. Objects that can to some represent the grotesque and repellant are shown to be fascinating reflections of the culture they were products of. What is clear to me even all those years ago with my nose pressed to the glass display case of the shrunken head is that beauty can be found in places far from where you would expect, and while I still want a shrunken head of my own I will content myself with visits to this fine gallery for now!
For those wanting to know more about the Wellcome collection Frances Larson’s An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected the World is a fine insight into the mind of the man behind it all.
Acupuncture Figure, Chinese
Mummified Male Body, Peru 1200 – 1400
Shrunken Head (Tsantsa) Shuar People
Shrunken Head, Shuar people
Tattoos on human skin, French 1850 – 1900
Trepanned Skull, Jericho, 2200 – 2000 BCE
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged acupuncture, chinese, mask, medicine, mummified, museam, peru, science, shrunken heads, skulls, tattoo, Wellcome museam
There are many experiences to be found in Peru for even the most seasoned and cynical amongst us, food poisoning being undoubtedly my most visceral and recurrent.
While Machu Pichu steals all the column inches in every tourists guide-book there is to be found lurking in certain markets and Inca temples a treat of the animal kingdom rarely praised or recognised for its brilliance….the Peruvian hairless dog!
Your intrepid reporters initial encounter with this fascinating gem of the canine world happened by chance on a tour of Lima’s downtown animal market. There was I, ignoring scents and sights of dubious origins, gazing into cages, tanks and all manner of containers, when there before me, paws to the glass, was a vision of evolution at its finest.
Devoid of hair other than a gingerish protuberance on the skull and another dash on the tail, the Peruvian hairless dog, cuts a striking figure. Older animals have their skin tanned in the thrashing sun to a wonderful dark hue.
The temperament of the older animals can appear to be a tad aggressive – expect enthusiastic barking, howling and occasional showing of teeth when you approach but fear not this is merely a preamble to an imminent warm reception. Once tamed this breed shows itself to be a companion of exceptional intelligence – perhaps key to its longevity – depictions of the hairless dog date back to 750 AD.
As always the addition of a harness, some intensive training and a cigar of your choice is strongly recommended if one was to consider ownership of such a fine animal.
So by now you should have chosen your desired colour and make of harness and broached the task of introducing your cat to the fitting of said harness. Now for the great outdoors.
I would recommend identifying a nearby area of suitable tranquility – for those lucky enough to have a garden then this is perfect, for urban flat based dwellers even a quiet patch of pavement or even a corridor will do. Some cats will take to this new experience better than others – welcome distractions in the shape of pigeons, trees and natural foliage of surrounding hedges or walls will provide much needed reassurance to your feline companion.
Initially let your cat walk you – don’t give them too much freedom on the leash – especially if busy streets are in close proximity. Be aware of your surroundings – loud noises, dogs and all kinds of abstract interferences may startle and scare even though most streetwise and bold cat. Speak to your cat – any level of chatter is positively encouraged for beginner and seasoned pro alike. Talking is comforting and helps to build a rapport with your pet – don’t be fooled – they can understand even the subtlest forms of communication and will be increasingly looking to you, their owner for encouragement and direction on your walks together.
Patience is a virtue – remember this at all times on your first voyages together – your cat may demonstrate a total apathy at your carefully purchased harness in all its finery and splendor, dont harbour ill feelings over this slight, accept that they will gradually grow to admire your foresight of such pursuits. Patience is also key in the inevitable sniffing and glancing around that may take up a large amount of these early excursions. Learn to use this time for inner reflection, channel your inclination to tug that leash into a mediation on Tulip Mania in the Dutch Golden Age or something equally stimulating.
Perhaps the most devastating force in world boxing today, Edwin Valero stands on the cusp of mainstream success despite career setbacks that would have derailed lesser fighters.
In 2001 Valero riding a motorbike without a helmet was involved in an accident that resulted in a fractured skull and surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain. Cleared by a Venezuelan doctor to fight, in January 2004 he failed a brain scan for an upcoming fight with American network HBO and was banned from fighting in the US.
Forced to fight wherever would take him – and he spent much of his early career fighting in Japan. His southpaw stance, ultra aggressive style – walking his opponent down, cutting the ring off combined with his disregard for boxing basics – he keeps his guard low, head straight up and his chin exposed, mouth open as he punches, continues to bring a raw charm to this fighter.
A few facts and figures – he has won all 27 of his fights by knockout. 19 of those knockouts in the first round. That is devastating power.
In his last outing Valero added previously hidden boxing skills to the power and aggression that are his trademark – forcing the highly regarded Antiono De Marco to be pulled out by his corner at the end of the ninth round. Valero suffered a deep cut to the forehead in this fight (caused by an accidental elbow) – the WBC in its infinite wisdom has now made him “Lightweight champion in recess” while he recovers. A rumoured move to light welterweight – the territory of Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton and Timothy Bradley could and should propel this fighter to boxing mainstream.
If he could carry the power up two weight divisions to welterweight – as Manny Pacquiao has done, then big pay days in Vegas could lie ahead. Texas has now cleared Valero to fight there – a US audience and following is vital in today’s market.
So what are your thoughts? Does Valero have the boxing skills to compete in the hardest weight classes in boxing? Will his explosive power move up with him? Will the brain scan scupper mainstream US fights? Is there anyone out there better?
Here’s a little taste of him in action:
Posted in boxing
Tagged amir khan, Best Boxing News Sites Around!, edwin valero, knockout, light welterweight, lightweight, Manny Pacquiao, ricky hatton, southpaw, valero, venezuela, WBC, welterweight
Terry Richardson – not for the faint hearted or weak stomached, the fashion photographer extradonaire publishes one of the best photo blogs going.
Check it out – http://www.terrysdiary.com/
To some the idea of walking your cat on a leash is preposterous but to the curious and engaged it is a pastime of kings! The key is to start when they are of the age where resistance is futile – the younger the kitten the easier the pupil to this fine art. If the cat in question is of advanced years then this is not the reason to despair – a battle of wills may scupper early attempts but persevere.
Begin with selecting a harness of suitable size – with room to grow. Don’t be seduced by the ease of just using a collar and lead – this will fail you at first road test. I have found the Puppia (dog) harness the best in breed for the job and they come in a variety of colours. Camouflage adds a certain urban chic I’m sure you will agree?
Most cats will struggle on first introduction to a harness, but be strong, this is to be expected. Ensure the leash is firmly held without too much slack, beckon your cat by any means at your disposal and being to walk. If they follow then you have a natural.