Quentin Tarantino’s Top 5 Boxing Movies

Boxing Clever at the Boxing Scene recently posted Quentin Tarantino Breaks Down His Top 5 Boxing Movies.  The first one mentioned was Rocky and here is what Tarantino had to say…

“If we talk about boxing and cinema, the first thing that comes to mind is Rocky. By far the most successful boxing film in history. The story of the Italian-American boxer Rocky Balboa was written by and starred Sylvester Stallone, in the role that catapulted him to stardom.

“The history of cinema mixes the necessary ingredients to be liked by most of the public. The humble man who attains fame by pure heart, a love story behind the rise of relevance in a super emotional finale. And some action in a fight worthy of the great boxing evenings in boxing history.

“The film won 3 Oscars and was a huge box office success, as well as being the kickoff for its sequels.”

Tarantino rounded out his top five with Million Dollar Baby, The Fighter, Cinderella Man and Raging BullClick over and check out Tarantino’s thoughts on each film.  (If it was my list I would have found a spot for The Set-up! – Craig)

RIP – Franco Columbu

Franco Columbu died yesterday of an unspecified illness.  He was 78.

Columbu was a boxer, weightlifter, bodybuilding champion, actor and chiropractor.  Franco met Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1960s and they became lifelong friends, with Columbu serving as Arnold’s best man when he married Maria Shriver in 1986.  Columbu is a two-time Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding Champion.  He also appeared in Stay Hungry, Pumping Iron, The Terminator, Conan the Barbarian, The Running Man, Big Top Pee-wee, as well as other movies and television shows.  In addition, Franco trained many celebrities (including helping Sly Stallone get in shape for Rambo and other films).

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Franco Columbu’s family, friends and fans.

You Don’t Mess with William Afflis!

The gentleman above is William Afflis, but if you grew up anywhere in the midwest from the 1960’s or later, you knew him as Dick the Bruiser.  As you probably guessed (if you didn’t know) Mr. Afflis was a professional wrestler.  Beyond that Afflis was a legitimate tough guy and smart business man.

Brandon Davenport has written an informative profile of The Bruiser that details his early life, his amateur and pro football career, his brawls with coaches, police and the riot he and Alex Karras caused when they got into a bar fight with each other, as well as his Hall of Fame wrestling career from newcomer to owner of the World Wrestling Association.  Even if you’re not a fan of pro wrestling, I think you’ll get a kick out of You Don’t Mess with William Afflis.

Justin Bieber vs Tom Cruise + Conor McGregor vs Mark Wahlberg – Craig’s Thoughts

So Justin Bieber issued a challenge to fight Tom Cruise in a cage match.

Any way you look at this…

If Bieber did it for free publicity…

If Bieber thinks Tom Cruise is a real fighter because of his movies…

If Bieber believes he is a tough guy and wants to prove it by fighting Tom Cruise, an actor who is more than twice as old as Bieber…

…it is just plain stupid.

If Bieber wants to prove he’s a tough guy, then he should challenge someone known for fighting like say, Nate Diaz.  Nate would probably show up at any location for free if Bieber called him out.

How could this get any dumber?


Oh, boy.  I shouldn’t have asked.

So Conor McGregor, the former UFC Champion and now also a sports and entertainment promoter has offered to promote/host the Bieber vs Cruise fight should it ever happen.  If it wasn’t for the fact that McGregor is already known for saying outrageous things and looking for free publicity where he can get it, I’d say he should know better than to get involved in something so stupid.

Well, at least McGregor didn’t go full on stupid and challenge an actor to a cage fight.

Are you kidding me?

So McGregor has upped the ante and challenged actor Mark Walhberg to a cage fight?  For my thoughts on this please refer back above to “Any way you look at this…” and substitute McGregor’s name for Bieber and Wahlberg’s name for Cruise.

I also offer the same suggestion as to an alternate fight — McGregor should challenge Nate Diaz to a cage match.  They’ve already fought twice with each man winning once, so a third time would make sense.

Hey!  I’ve got an idea: How about Bieber and McGregor fight each other?  McGregor could promote it and each of them would get what they want.  Bieber would get a chance to prove he’s a tough guy.  McGregor would get to fight a celebrity.

The reality is of course that Bieber would get knocked out.  McGregor would be ridiculed for taking the fight and hardly anyone would tune in.

You know I started by saying that Bieber challenging Cruise was stupid.  I still think it is, but I will say this, Bieber is sure getting the publicity.   The news of his challenge is blowing up everywhere.  Heck, in all my years of blogging, I’ve never mentioned Bieber even once.  Yet today I’ve devoted a long post to him.

Well played, Justin Bieber.  Well played.

The 50 Best Sports Movies of All Time

Tim Grierson & Will Leitch and Vulture.com present The 50 Best Sports Movies of All Time.  I’m happy to report that Creed came in at #28 and Rocky at #3.

The list is a good one, but I’d have included The Set-up, Requiem for a Heavyweight and a couple more from the Rocky series and Paradise Alley. (Would you expect any less?)

Here’s what Grierson and Leitch said about Rocky and Creed:

28. Creed (2015)
The Rocky series had run out of gas several times by the time Ryan Coogler got together with his Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan to inject the whole franchise with adrenaline and soul … and even liven up old Rock himself in the process. The best scenes of Creed aren’t even about boxing at all, as we see young Adonis Creed struggle with his identity, his purpose in life, and the power of his feelings for a young, hearing-impaired musician (played wonderfully by Tessa Thompson). Putting Rocky Balboa in the Paulie role is a brilliant idea, and the relationship between the young boxer and his trainer works … and even manages to transcend the whole 40-year-old enterprise.

3. Rocky (1976)
Roger Ebert famously wrote, in his initial review of Rocky, that Sylvester Stallone reminded him of a young Brando, and while that classification hasn’t, uh, aged so well, you can understand what he was thinking. Before all the sequels, before the montage sequences, before Stallone became a muscled, chiseled ode to misguided masculinity, he was just a guy who wanted to tell a story about a past-his-prime palooka who met a girl and then suddenly finally got his chance at the big time. This is a big hokey underdog story, but it’s told with a grit and realism that matches the era; Rocky’s just a good-hearted schmo from the neighborhood who doesn’t have the stomach to break thumbs for the mob but isn’t sure what else the world has for him either. But he’s got heart, kid. This series is more than 40 years old now, but, as Creed showed, this story remains eternal. It’s probably going to outlive us all. Even Stallone.

RIP – Bart Starr


Bart Starr, the Hall of Fame quarterback has died at the age of 85.  Mr. Starr had been in failing health since 2014 when he suffered a heart attack and two strokes. 

Starr was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1977 after playing for 16 years as a Green Bay Packer, leading them to five NFL Championships and victories in the first two Super Bowls.  Personal awards include being picked four times for Pro-Bowl, two times as an All Pro, being selected as the 1966 NFL Most Valuable Player, the Most Valuable Player for the first two Super Bowls and selected to the All Decade Team for the 1960s.  The NFL also named an award after him.  The Bart Starr Award is given out annually to a player of outstanding character.  The Green Bay Packers retired Starr’s jersey in 1973 (as just the third player to ever receive that honor).  What a legacy!

I have always been a Chicago Bears fan, but also a Bart Starr fan.  I can remember watching Starr dive into the end zone for the winning touchdown with just seconds remaining in the NFL Championship game in 1967!  When we played football, all of the kids wanted to be Bart Starr when quarterbacking (myself included — even if he wasn’t a Bear).  And could there have been a cooler name for a NFL quarterback than Bart Starr?

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Starr’s family, friends and fans.

“The Dark Side of the Ring” / Z-View

On April 1st, I posted The Dark Side of the Ring is a 6 episode series airing on Viceland with the series summary and trailer below…

From backstage controversies to mysterious deaths and unsolved homicides, this series explores the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling, and tries to find truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality. From backstage controversies to mysterious deaths and unsolved homicides, this series explores the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling, and tries to find truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality.

I’ve had a chance to watch the first two episodes and was impressed.  The series interviews the wrestlers, referees and behind-the-scenes folks that were actually involved in the events that each episode covers.  If you have any interest in the business of old school professional wrestling, then The Dark Side of the Ring is worth checking out.

Rating:

Rob Schamberger Wrestled with How to Make a Career in Art

Robert Schamberger wanted to be a comic book artist but wasn’t setting the world on fire.  So he decided to branch out into other types of art — especially painting.  Despite making gallery sales, he still hadn’t found his niche.

After some thought Schamberger decided to combine his love of art with his love of professional wrestling.  He started doing paintings of professional wrestlers.  A successful Kickstarter followed.  Then within a year, the WWE contacted Schamberger and brought him on board as their resident artist.  Schamberger’s story is an inspiring one in that he worked to figure out how to make his love of art become his career.

Source: Syfy.

The “Dark Side of the Ring” Trailer is Here!

The Dark Side of the Ring is a 6 episode series airing on Viceland and premieres April 10th.

From backstage controversies to mysterious deaths and unsolved homicides, this series explores the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling, and tries to find truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality. From backstage controversies to mysterious deaths and unsolved homicides, this series explores the darkest stories from the golden age of professional wrestling, and tries to find truth at the intersection of fantasy and reality.

Throwback Pic – Ready, Wrestle!

This “Take You Back” photo is from my 10th grade year.  I was a sophomore and, as you probably guessed, on the wrestling team.  Man, that was a great year.  Our coach, Ron Pinnell, was the most inspiring leader.  I learned a lot from him in just the one year he was my coach (for football and wrestling).  We all did.

Coach Pinnell took photos of every team member and gave each of us our picture.  You’re looking at mine.  (Oh, and those are his wrestling shoes I’m wearing.)