Category: Sports

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.)


Me-TV presents 12 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT ‘BRIAN’S SONG’.  Here are three of my favorites…

It seems James Caan grew up playing high school football and could run circles around Billy Dee Williams, so when they had to film their racing scene, Caan had to make himself go real slow to convince viewers that Williams’ was the speedier of the two.

Louis Gossett Jr. was originally cast as Gale Sayers, not Billy Dee Williams. Just before shooting started, Gossett managed to tear his Achilles’ tendon. That’s when Williams stepped in and took over the role, shattering Gossett’s spirit worse than the pain of his injury. As the story goes, producer David L. Womper made a big promise to cast Gossett in the next beefy part he could place him in to cheer the actor up. That promise took six years to fulfill, but it was worth the wait when Gossett’s 1977 performance as Fiddler in Roots won him an Emmy and made him a star.\

For airing Brian’s Song, ABC took home four Emmys and a Peabody Award. They also received commendations from both the NAACP and the American Cancer Society. In total, the movie was nominated for eight Emmy Awards. The only other ABC Movie of the Week films to get that kind of attention was The Immortal in 1969 (1 Emmy nomination) and That Certain Summer in 1972 (7 Emmy nominations, 1 win).

Ric Flair Faces the Music with Regret but No Excuses

Odds are, pro wrestling fan or not, you know that the photo above is of the “styling-and-profiling, limousine-riding, jet-flying, Rolex-wearing, champagne-drinking, kiss-stealing, wheeling-‘n-dealing, dirtiest player in the game,” Ric Flair.

Yahoo Sports!, Dan Wetzel has written an excellent profile – Ric Flair Faces the Music with Regret but No Excuses – and it is well worth a read.

10 Self-Defense Tips from Boxer Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey, the Heavyweight Champion who many call the Greatest Heavyweight Fighter of the 20th Century wrote a book on self-defense.

Jake Rosen and Mental_Floss present 10 Self-Defense Tips from Boxer Jack Dempsey.  If you click over you can see all 10 tips as well as a pdf of Dempsey’s book.  In the mean time, here are my top three tips from the Champ…

Has a hooligan drawn you into a physical confrontation? Before you even think about raining blows upon him, consider your arena: “Let me suggest that any time you are about to be drawn into a fight, keep your head and make a split-second survey of your surroundings,” Dempsey cautions. “Decide immediately whether you have fighting-room and whether you have good footing. If you haven’t, try to force your opponent to shift to another battleground, where your knowledge of fighting will leave the percentage in your favor. Yell at him, for example: ‘Okay, wise guy! You want to fight! Let’s see if you’ve got the guts to come out into the street and fight me like a man!’”

This, Dempsey says, will allow you to avoid obstacles and crowds, “so that you’ll be able to knock his head off when you get him where you can fight without footing handicaps.”

Any pro will tell you that straight punches are the key to victory: Wild, looping punches dilute your guard and lack precision. Dempsey is no different. “Some current fighters attempt a long-range right upper-cut called the ‘bolo’ punch. They even attempt to lead with it. Let me warn you that the bolo is more showy than explosive. It’s more dangerous to the user than to his opponent. The bolo, or any long-range uppercut, is merely an underhanded swing. And you know that any type of swing, against a good straight puncher, signals to the mortician.”


The number one obstacle to victory in any altercation, Dempsey writes, is fatigue. “True, your opponent also may be getting fatigued; but you can’t be certain about his exact condition unless he’s blowing and staggering. You know for sure only that you’re nearly ‘all in,’ and that he’s still out there swinging at you. Accordingly, the longer he keeps fighting, the less chance you have of winning; but the greater chance you have of being battered, cut up, knocked down, knocked out, or injured.”

The “Manassa Mauler” has practical advice to combat this issue. “Because of the danger in a fist-fight, it is imperative that you end the brawl as quickly as possible; and the best way to do that is by a knockout. The knockout is far more important in fist-fighting than in boxing, YOU’VE GOT TO KNOCK ‘EM OUT IN FIST-FIGHTS.”

Mike Tyson vs. James ‘Buster’ Douglas: An Oral History of Boxing’s Most Remarkable Upset

If you’re a boxing fan you won’t want to miss Eric Raskin’s excellent Mike Tyson vs. James ‘Buster’ Douglas: An Oral History of Boxing’s Most Remarkable Upset. (Sadly, the link no longer works, so I instead present James ‘Buster’ Douglas recounts the biggest upset in boxing history. – Craig, 2021)

Mike Tyson, Buster Douglas, Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant, the fighters’ trainers and others all weigh in on the events and fight that was the greatest upset in boxing and perhaps sports history!

Joe Kubert’s Cover for Superman vs Muhammad Ali

My guess is that nearly all of you have seen the cover above created by Neal Adams for the Superman vs Muhammad Ali treasury comic.

Seen it.  Owned it.  Old news, right?

Well, how many of you knew that Joe Kubert created the original cover (see below) Apparently Ali’s folks weren’t happy with The People’s Champ‘s likeness, so Neal Adams was brought in to do the book.

Source: David J. Spurlock.

Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson – R.I.P.

Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson died yesterday from heart complications at the age of 42.

Ferguson rose to fame after a series of videos showing him participating in one-on-one backyard brawls for money became an internet sensation.  Because of the popularity of the fight videos and his charismatic personality, Ferguson was able to become a professional MMA fighter (for EliteXC, UFC and Bellator), an undefeated professional boxer and even a movie actor.  People tuned in to see Ferguson fight and his bouts were always entertaining.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson’s family, friends and fans.

Muhammad Ali – Rest in Peace

Muhammad Ali, Olympic Boxing Gold Medal winner, three time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and world icon passed away yesterday.  Ali had suffered for 32 years with Parkinson’s disease.  He was 74.

Before I went to bed Friday night the reports were coming in that Ali was in the hospital on life support.  Things didn’t sound good, but Muhammad Ali had overcome great odds before.

I can’t say I was shocked (that would come later) when my wife woke me at about 2am to say that Ali had died.  We had fallen asleep with the bedroom tv on and she woke up to the news.

The next morning reports and rememberances of Muhammad Ali were all over the tv and internet.  And rightly so.  Muhammad Ali was the self-proclaimed “Greatest” who later was ready to give up the braggadocio title, but could not because the world had accepted it as reality.  Muhammad Ali transcended boxing.  Especially to those of us old enough to remember his start as Cassius Clay.

In 1960, at the young age of 18, Cassius Clay won the Gold Medal in Olympic boxing.  He was an American Hero and ready to become a professional boxer.  Yet when Clay returned to the states, he was refused service at a diner because he was black.  In 1963, Clay became a American Muslim but kept it a secret.

In 1964, the undefeated Clay (19 – 0) got a title shot against the Heavyweight Champ, Sonny Liston.  Liston was heavily favored because of his knockout power, his intimidating presence and reputation as a thug.  Liston would be a man fighting a boy.  Clay taunted Liston prior to the fight and backed up the taunts with a 6th round TKO.

After winning the title, Clay announced his conversion to the Muslim faith and his name change to Muhammad Ali.  Although this didn’t sit well with some of his fans, Ali stayed true to his beliefs.

Ali gave Liston a rematch and knocked him out in the first round. Ali then went on to win 8 more title matches before being stripped of his title in 1967 for refusing to comply with the draft due to religious reasons.  Ali was convicted of draft evasion and sentenced to five years in prison.  Although released on appeal, Ali was not allowed to fight or leave the country, so he took to the lecture circuit to speak out for civil rights.  In 1971, Ali won his appeal and could once again box.  Still, he had lost 4 years of his prime.

Ali’s comeback fight was against Jerry Quarry.  I remember watching the fight on tv with my dad.  Ali won in by TKO in 3 rounds.  Ali had another fight which he won before challenging Joe Frazier for the title.

The fight against Frazier was the first of their 3 meetings.  It went 15 rounds in what some called the “Fight of the Century” and ended with a unanimous decision for Joe Frazier.  It was Ali’s first loss.

Between 1971 and 1973, Ali reeled off 10 more wins.  Then he fought Ken Norton and lost on a split decision.  Ali went through most of the fight with a broken jaw.  Seven months later Norton and Ali fought again, but this time Ali won the split decision.

In 1974, Ali and Frazier II took place.  I remember listening to the radio for round-by-round updates to learn that Ali won on a split decision.  Ali and Frazier were now 1 and 1.  Ali’s win put him in line for the title shot against George Foreman.

Foreman was 40 – 0 with most of his wins by KO or TKO.  Ali was the underdog, but as we all know won by 8th round KO.  Ali defended his title 3 more times and then was ready for the rematch with Frazier.

The fight went 12 brutal rounds before Ali won by a unanimous decision.  Ali jumped into another brutal battle when 9 months later he took on George Foreman in a bout Ali won by KO in the 8th.

Ali’s next fight (which he won by TKO in the 15th), against Chuck Wepner, inspired Sylvester Stallone to create Rocky.  Ali racked up two more wins and then it was time for the rubber match with Frazier.

Dubbed, by Ali, “The Thrilla in Manila,” the fight went 14 brutal rounds before Ali won by TKO.  Ali would fight six more times including wins over Ken Norton and Ernie Shavers before Ali signed to fight Olympic Gold Medalist Leon Spinks.

The fight was televised and I remember watching it.  Ali didn’t look to be in the best of shape perhaps taking Spinks too lightly.  As the fight went the 15 rounds it became obvious that it would be a close decision… and it was.  Spinks won via split decision and became the new Heavyweight Champion.

The Spinks – Ali rematch was set up 7 months later and Ali came back in much better shape winning a unanimous decision.  Ali retired after that fight only to come back two years later to lose by TKO in the 10th to Champion, Larry Holmes.  The following year Ali lost a 10 round decision to Trevor Berbick and then retired for good.

Most fighters when they finally retire slowly drift away from the public’s consciousness.  Not so with Muhammad Ali who over the years had increased his popularity through displays of his wit and charm with appearances on many entertainment programs.  So people were shocked to learn just a year after Ali had retired from boxing that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

That didn’t stop Ali from traveling the world to promote humanitarian causes.  In 1985 Ali went to Lebanon and in 1990 to Iraq to broker the release of American hostages. When the Olympics were in Atlanta in 1996, Ali was chosen to light the Olympic flame.  In 2005, President George W. Bush honored Ali with the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest award a civilian can achieve.

Muhammad Ali was a boxer who transcended boxing. Ali’s popularity wasn’t limited to the United States or people that shared his same faith.  Ali was a man of the world, a true people’s champion.  And it will be a long time before we ever see another like him.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Muhammad Ali’s family, friends and fans.