More T.M.I. blog oldness circa. April 2008.
In the UK we really need to stop deifying mediocrity. Mediocre isn’t the word – ‘shit’ might be more ample. Zoo shifts copies, Danny Dyer is better known than Paddy Considine. Kasabian bandmembers get laid. British heavyweights are…British heavyweights. Pass me the Wilkinson Sword blades. Life isn’t fair – and of all sports, boxing really isn’t fair.
For all the overzealous refereeing, corruption and winning breadline/brain damage combo that awaits any Brit also-ran, our fellow Americans seem to get the money and props – that’s not to say that it’s not crooked out there (you’ve got to hand it to him for that logo), but while Lennox rocked the SPX and dropped science on a boring Reflection Eternal album, and Naz rocked with the Kaliphz, Roy chilled with Noreaga, Mike scuffled with Mitch ‘Blood’ Green outside Dapper Dan’s and Muhammad rolled with Sam.
That’s not to say there wasn’t tragedy stateside, but for the most part, some of our best fighters lost out on the glittering legacy. The mere notion of Herol Graham fighting again in June ’08 leap-punched the nostalgia floodgates.
People know who Audley Harrison is, but Leamington’s Randy Turpin gets snoozed on hard. To rephrase – life isn’t fair. The Scots deserve props in the shape of Ken Buchanan and Benny Lynch, Liverpool’s John Conteh was nice with his too and for a while, he had the glitz and glamour, but those full-length furs, champagne and Rollers took their toll and he was relegated to “could’ve been a contender” status.
Freddie Mills could take some serious pain until he killed himself/got whacked and then had the posthumous dishonour of being accused of serial killing.
Eubank might have lost some of that lethal uppercut after the Watson tragedy, but if one man could represent swagger, UK style, he done did it in all its firework blasting, monster truck cruising, bespoke jodhpur rocking glory.
But Randy Still takes it – having survived near-drowning as a child, resulting in partial deafness he rose through the middleweight ranks, ultimately taking on Sugar Ray Robinson in 1951 and beating him. No lucky punches, no excuses, just a sound beatdown to become middleweight champion of the world for 64 days until he lost in a pretty decent rematch. Easy to smirk until you consider that Sugar Ray Robinson is, pound-for-pound, the greatest fighter of all time.
And what became of Randolph? A slow decline, money and woman troubles leading to mental illness that made him try to kill his 18 month old daughter before taking his own life in 1966, two years after he defeated Charles Seguna, seemingly getting his mojo back. An undignified exit, but an achievement that’s unsurpassed. 13 years later, the ‘Leamington Licker’ got his own statue, and in 1985, a feature length documentary, but that was then, this is now – instead of settling for contemporary crap, and before we can truly elevate, we should discard the taboo of mental illness and pay homage to a real past master regardless of his leprechaun short reign at the top.