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February 28, 2014     Post-Gazette
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February 28, 2014

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Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 28, 2014 A short while ago I was having a conversation with former New England Middleweight Champion Danny Long. While we were talking Danny said he wanted to show me something. He brought out a copy of an old book entitled The Ring's Training for Boxers by Nat Fleischer, the original publisher of Ring Magazine. Seeing that book immediately brought back memories as I had both the training book as well as Fleischer's How to Box when I was a kid. Danny related to me how he also bought both books at an early age, and he, like me, read them from cover to cover and would then practice the moves on a makeshift punching bag. I looked through my library and discovered that I still had my original copies of these books that so influenced my life. While it may seem odd to learn how to box by reading about it in a book, I found both volumes to be very informative. The books have sketches as well as photos of some of the great fighters demonstrating different moves. Perusing them now, I am very impressed with the amount of boxing knowledge they contain. It was by reading these books that young aspiring boxers such as Danny and myself learned the terms: parry, feinting, infighting, side stepping and many more. Not only do the books make you familiar with these terms, they also go into detail on how to execute these moves. Boxing by the Book A great portion of How to Box deals with defensive moves, something that is becoming a lost art today. The first chapter contains a short interview with Jack Dempsey where he talks about the value of the pivot. He also goes on to discuss how important it is to become a complete boxer by learning all the moves so the fighter can deliver blows while still being able to protect himself. There are nine pages of photographs of the great Benny Leonard demonstrating many defensive and offensive techniques such as making the opening and the art of getting away. Benny Leonard Looking through the table of contents at some of the chapter headings gives you a real picture of how well thought through the sport was back then. Chapters entitled: The Proper Stance, Useful Hints in Sparring, Infighting, and Methods of Footwork give you a sense of why boxing is called The Sweet Science. I think any young person who has an interest in taking up boxing would still be well served by these books today. For one thing, by reading these texts and studying the photos, you get an understanding of how much thinking is involved in being a good boxer. It is really a game of physical chess, and while it still takes great conditioning and muscle memory to succeed at the sport, a boxing match can also be a battle of the minds. It is what makes the Manly Art of Self Defense so interesting. It would be great if both boxers and fans would learn more about the finer points of this art as we would have much more interesting bouts and the fans would be able to appreciate the finer details while watching two fighters compete. It would no longer be a matter of just sitting and waiting for the knockout, but would become an appreciation of two skilled athletes using all of their talents in trying to outsmart each other in order to come out victorious. Though everyone in these books has passed on, they still speak to us through the printed word. As with learning from all great teachers from the past, they have left us the knowledge, we just have to listen to them. [] [] [] ! | In other boxing news, the Ring 4 Banquet scheduled for April 6, 2014 is sold out. Tickets went fast this year thanks to the hard work of President Mickey Finn. This year's Hall of Fame inductees are former contender Johnny Rafuse and former Golden Glove Champ Jack Morrell who also had a great pro career. Mickey Finn will be given the rare and well deserved designation of Lifetime Honorary Member. I was proud to nominate Mickey for. all the work and dedication he has devoted to the club. Without him there would be no Ring 4. Bobby can be reached at bob2boxer@yahoo, com It wasn't a miracle on ice because the two teams were pretty much evenly matched but it certainly was memo- rable in that it harkened back to that epic game that occurred 34 years ago this winter. The Miracle on Ice, of course, was the men's hockey game at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. where Team USA, with a roster made up mostly of col- legians, defeated the Soviet Union, considered by many to be the best team in the world. The huge victory electri- fied the hockey fan base in Greater Boston since four of the players -- Mike Eruzione, Jack O'Callahan, Dave Silk and goalie Jim Craig had played for Boston University. It was the ultimate focal angle story for sportswriters based in the Hub. Fast forward to another Olympics, this one in con- temporary times featuring another big game. It was Team USA versus Team Canada in the women's gold medal game, a match- up that had been widely predicted. Just like in 1980 the game would come down to a thrilling conclusion and fea- ture four players from Bos- ton University. Yes, you see, when Team Canada came from behind in the final three and a half minutes to tie the contest and eventu- ally win 3-2 in overtime, it did so with a roster that had four BU players --just like Team USA some 34 years ago. The victory also recalled the men's victory in the 2009 NCAA Division I National Championship game when the Terriers came from two goals down with less than a minute left in regulation to tie things up before going on to beat Miami of Ohio for the title in overtime. At Sochi the proceedings also were dramatic and cer- tainly provided excitement as the team from north of our border also came back from being two goals behind in the final minutes to tie before also winning in OT. For Marie-Philip Poulin, Jenn Wakefield, Catherine Ward and Tara Watchorn it was the most memorable moment of their young lives, winning the gold for their country and perhaps in the back of their minds, for their university as well as for BU head coach Brian Durocher.  Their success served as another validation of his pro- gram, one that has advanced to the NCAA title game in two out of the last three years. The fact that these players accomplished their gold medal feat by defeating Team USA should take noth- ing away from their victory in this area of high hockey interest. For several years they walked the streets of Boston and lived among us. They could have played any- where. They chose to play in Boston. As for Marie-Philip Poulin, she did something that even Mike Eruzione, who scored the winning goal against the Soviets all those years ago, did not do. She gave an encore performance. You see, four years ago she scored both goals as Team Canada defeated Team USA 2-0 to win the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olym- pics. Then at Sochi, she scored both the tying and winning goals to defeat Team USA once again. And for all of you who want to see a true Olympic hero, you won't have to go far. Marie has stated that she'll be returning to BU for her senior season next fall, ready to compete in Hockey East where she was a First Team All-Star in the 2012-2013 season. Back then the 5-6 forward from Quebec set a BU school record for assists with 36 en route to a personal career high 55 points. This time around she's indicated that she will have another goal in mind -- to win an NCAA Championship. The other three Terriers have since moved on from their days on Common- wealth Avenue- but not without leaving their marks on the BU program. Jenn Wakefield, a forward from Ontario who trans- ferred in after two years at UNH, served as team cap- tain during her senior sea- son (2011-2012) while play- ing in 36 games. She is the only player in Hockey East history to score at least 100 career goals (she finished with 120). In addition, she's only the second player in the history of the confer- ence to have gone over the 200 career point mark by amassing 206. For teammate Catherine Ward, who hails from Montreal, it was also her second trip to the top of the medal podium since she was a member of the 2010 gold medal winning squad. She played three years of college hockey for McGill University in Montreal, helping to lead the team to consecutive Canadian college champion- ships in 2008 and 2009. As a graduate student at BU during the 2010-2011 season she was named a Hockey East First Team All- Star and selected as the best defense-man in the confer- ence. She also made her presence known on offense, piling up 31 assists. Rather than concentrating on a single sport, Tara Watchorn was something of a throwback from another era as she excelled in multiple athletic endeavors while growing up in Ontario. She didn't just participate in basketball, volleyball, soccer and hockey -- she earned high school MVP honors in all of them. Plus, in the classroom she was an honor (Continued on Page 14)