The Mongoose

By Jack Murphy The New Yorker 1961 Archibald Lee Moore, the light-heavyweight boxing champion of the world, is 44 years of age by his own account and 47 by his mother’s. She says that he was born on December 13, 1913, in Benoit, Mississippi, but he insists that the...

My Dinner with Ali

By Davis Miller The Louisville Courier-Journal 1989 I’d been waiting for years. When it finally happened, it wasn’t what I’d expected. But he’s been fooling many of us for most of our lives. For six months, several of his friends had been trying to connect me with him...

The Impression

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports December 1980 When I heard Ali had agreed to fight Holmes, the first thought I had was that Ali would be killed. The punch was five years gone, his hand speed had been mediocre over his last half dozen fights, and he’d been getting hit by...

George Kimball: The Professional

By John Schulian Bronx Banter July 8, 2011 George Kimball was blessed with the kind of voluble charm you find in an Irish bar, and, brother, let me tell you he’d been in a few. No amount of drink, however, could rein in his galloping intelligence. It was as pure a...

The Longest Day of Sugar Ray

By Dave Anderson True 1964 The great ones never lose their style. Even today Joe DiMaggio swings the bat majestically in the Old Timers games. Sammy Baugh can show a rookie quarterback how to lead a receiver slanting across the middle. Put Eddie Arcaro up on a...

The Better Man

By Juan Williams The Washington Post Magazine May 17, 1987 When I was a little boy, the one event I dreamed of seeing in person was a big prizefight. Other sports were on television or available to a kid who wanted to sell Cokes. The big fights were in exotic places...

The Champ and the Chump

By Murray Kempton The New Republic March 7, 1964 Just before the bell for the seventh round, Cassius Clay got up to go about his job. Suddenly, he thrust his arms straight up in the air in the signal with which boxers are accustomed to treat victory and you laughed at...

Battling Siki

By John Lardner From White Hopes and Other Tigers 1951 Hell’s Kitchen, the region west of Eighth Avenue around the Forties, won its name many years ago and continued to deserve it until about the time the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed. Things are different there...

Bedtime Story

By Carlo Rotella From Playing in Time 2012 I was in a city far from home, working on a magazine story. I spent the day and evening going around asking questions, watching people do what they do, filling up a couple of pocket notebooks. Among other places, I visited...

“Make Way For Brother Mike!”

By Richard Hoffer From A Savage Business 1998 At this time of year, at this time of morning, it was still dark. A small crescent moon hung in the Indiana sky and, beneath it, four helicopters balanced, as if some fantastic throbbing mobile had been constructed for the...

The Fight: Patterson vs. Liston

By James Baldwin Nugget February 1963 We, the writers—a word I am using in its most primitive sense—arrived in Chicago about ten days before the baffling, bruising, an unbelievable two minutes and six seconds at Comiskey Park. We will get to all that later. I know...

The Good, The Bad and The Marvelous

By Pete Dexter Esquire May 1985 All right, let’s start with the head. Say check-out time is 1:00 and everybody who reads this magazine is stuck in a room at a Holiday Inn somewhere in Louisiana because nobody can figure out how to unlock the security chain, and...