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, ii r CJ iii>>iiiiii i iiiiiii PAGE 12 BOSTON POST-GAZE'R'E, SEPTEMBER 9, 2016 ,.-~ JERSEY JOE WALCOTT VS. ELMER "VIOLENT" RAY A Split Second in that Fight Followers of this column know I occasionally like to take a photograph from a fight that took place years ago and study it to see what it shows about how the contestants plied their trade. The reason I chose photos from an earlier time in box- ing is because it is frnpossible to find any taken today that show the fighters doing any of these moves. The art and technique no longer exist, and that is borne out by these photos. The latest in this series is a shot taken during either the second or third fight between Jersey Joe Walcott and Elmer =Violent" Ray. Both fights took place within a few months of each other and both resulted in very close decision wins, one for Ray and the final contest for Walcott. The two had fought each other once before early in their careers when Walcott scored a knockout over Ray. The first fight was in 1937. The final two were in 1946 and 1947. Fight fans are weU versed in the career of Walcott, the man who at the time was the oldest to win the Heavyweight Title. It can be strongly ar- gued he was the best heavyweight of all time when it came to technical skills. He was fast, agile, could punch with the kick of a mule, and had great stamina. He was a true artist in the ring, and like any great artist he constantly practiced his craft, always striving to improve and learn new things. I have been told that if he was in the gym and through working out, he would sit and watch other fight- ers training, even the amateurs. When asked why he would take the time to observe amateurs sparring, he reportedly answered, =Because I might learn something, a new move, that I don't already know." Walcott was a master tactician who study box- ing the way a medical student.studies anatomy. He would practice his footwork as if it were cho- reography, which it actually is. To watch Jersey Joe in the ring is to watch a true master at work. Relaxed yet intense. Elmer =Violent" Ray is an intriguing figure. The man had an incredible record--a total of 108 bouts with 85 wins. A remarkable 64 of those wins were by knockout. He lost just 17 contests Taste of the North End 13th ANNUAL BOCCE TOURNAMENT To ~ [unds for scholarships and the North End Community Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 10 am LANGONE BOCCE COURTS, Street (North End) Yes, I would like to participate in the Bocce T~ which includes entry fee, toumame~ lee shirt, Joe Pace cookout. Please indicate the number of: TEAMS __ $100.00 per team (2 people per team) . or $,.50.00 per player Spectator and Dinner. at $25.00 per person PLAYER NAME PLAYER NAME Address City or Town Phone Email Please circle shirt size S M L XL XXL Make Checks Payable to Ta~lo of the North End and mail to P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113 db. For fzxther information, please contact t Chaim'mn Dona~ Frattaroli, - dCrat~mli@gma#.com or F~m Morlug~o at 781-956-7441 and had 5 draws. From October of 1943 until his third fight with Walcott in March of 1947, Elmer had 50 consecutive fights without a loss. Not only is that an outstanding accomplishment given the period he was fighting in, it is also a huge number of fights to have in approximately three and a half years. While some may question the quality of the opposition he faced, a few names do jump out at me. He kayoed Lee Savold and Jay D. Turner as well as having the win over Walcott. He couldn't have been fighting all stiffs and been able to come up with those wins. There is little known about Ray. No film exists of his fights, and nobody seems to know what became of him after he gave up box- ing. He just seems to have disappeared. If he had won the third fight with Wal- cott, it is likely he would have gotten the title shot against Joe Louis instead of Jersey Joe, Instead, he fought on for a couple more years, winning a close de- cision over Ezzard Charles and then being kayoed by Charles in a rematch. Not long after, he quit boxing and vanished like Keyser Soze in the movie The Usual Suspects. Now to the photo. This is another of those amazing pictures that captures so much of what is happening in this fight. Though it is just a fraction of a second of action, it shows us two very skilled fighters at work. We see that Walcott has moved to his right and has let fly a very hard fight hand. It is pos- sible he feinted Ray with a jab before doing this, as Elmer's right hand appears to be in position to parry a jab. His left is low, but also in position to deliver a hook to the body. Joe is putting the force of his entire body behind the blow. You can see how he has shifted the weight of his body from his fight foot to his left, up on the toes of his right and fiat-footed with the left. He has also dropped his fight shoul- der, further increasing the force of the blow. Just look at the power and torque in his shoulder and chest muscles. His eyes are focused on Ray, and you can see he is ready to follow up with the left hook. Jack Dempsey used to say he got his power by punching from his hips. You can clearly see how Joe has put his hip into this blow. His entire core is in play here. In this photo, Walcott is giving a master class in how to throw a fight hand. So, what about Elmer Ray? Well, he certainly is no slouch. As great a move as Walcott has just pulled off, it appears from Elmer's position that he was sucked in by the feint, but he has reacted well to the move. As soon as he realized what was coming he went to a defensive move and slipped under the punch. Because it happened so fast, he is still feeling the power of the blow, but Walcott does not connect to a vulnerable area of Ray's anatomy. Elmer Ray shows us the art of slipping a punch. Remember, he didn't have time to think about what he was going to do. He made this great move because he had practiced it over and over again. You are seeing two masters at work. I would also call your attention to the referee. He is on his toes and as focused on the action as the boxers. He is out of the way but in a position to step in if needed. All three of these men are consummate professionals. I get more enjoyment just looking at this photo than I can get out of watching any of the so-called champs of today in a live fight. Maybe they should take some time to look at pictures like this. They might learn something. Of course, it would prob- ably just confuse them. HOOPS and HOCKEY in the HUB by Richard Preiss He's been a Bruin for a while need be, or perhaps giving them now, but those days are the lighter nights on occasion by ones we know as the lazy days spreading the minutes around. of summer, the ones where the But he said wherever he's sees Stanley Cup makes the rounds action, =those minutes need to (thank you Mike Sullivan for be high quality and not just bringing the trophy to the eating them to run time off the Bay State) and NHL players clock. We need to be productive go hither and yon as summer in everything that we're doing moves on. on the ice." So, it was back in July that Backes indicated that he David Backes, a quality free expects to share a lot of the agent formerly employed by St. responsibility with Bergeron Louis, signed up to be a Bruin. and Marchand. =That way, you He's an NHL veteran coming don't burden one guy with all of to Causeway Street with a the hard ice or the heavy lifting smile on his face, a paycheck because we have responsible in his pocket, and an outlook guys that can share those roles. that makes the prior years Thus, we can all flourish and of disappointment melt away have tons of energy still left like ice on a warm summer for ends of games -- to close it afternoon, out or score a late big goal. Or, Yes, that's what a new over the course of an 82-game acquisition can do for you. season, to have plenty of gas left A person who hasn't experienced in the tank at the end of the year the past can only engage the to make a push for the playoffs. present and look to the future, Hopefully, we'd be playing our one that will hopefully see best going into the playoffs and a return by the B's to post- could take it up another notch season play in the spring of so we could have success and 2017. play into June." =I know a bit about the Bndns One of the reasons that culture and what the team is Backes should fit right in going to look like and how good is that his game has always it should be," said Backes in his been a physical one. That's a introductory press conference, positive attribute to have in "I think it's going to be a very the game of hockey. However, competitive team that should be it also means that the player able togetinto the playoffs and experiences wear and tear be able to make a mark when over those numerous 82-game we're in the playoffs. We're regular season schedules. not going to take a back seat =I think that physical style to anyone. It's Boston Bruins has been one ofmy calling cards hockey and I'm excited about over the last 10 years. I'm 32, being up to it." not 52. I think there's plenty of And, of course, the financial legs and plenty of physicality aspect helps things along nicely, and energy left in me." For his time with the B's, it's a He admits that' some have five-year deal for David worth questioned whether hell be $6 million a season, or $30 able to give the same effort in million total, the final year of his five-year Already there's been a contract when he will be on the personal connection beyond verge of turning 37. Perhaps the dollar signs. Backes made that's also because last year, reference to Patfice Bergeron when he scored 21 goals and having an eight-month-old son added 24 assists for a total of 45 while he has a one-year-old points, it was his lowest point daughter. He mentioned that he production since the 2007-2008 and his wife are Vdoing a little season. research on the Boston area. But Backes firmly believes I~e probably been here seven that he can perform in an times to play in 10 years and it's outstanding manner for the life pretty much just for the night of the contract. and then you're out of there. =I expect to still be on the But the more I learn about the top of my game for that last New England area and what year and be a contributing Boston has to offer as a city member of the Boston Bruins. from a family living standpoint, The training improvements that the family life seems to be a have come along, being really match made in heaven as well. able to take care of my body, When we talked to people (about listening to it and being able Boston), we just fell in love with to give everything I e got makes it and can't wait to experience me think I can expect to still firsthand what it's going to be be really good in that fifth like to live here." year." Introduced as a forward, Like we've said in the past, Backes has the ability to play long term deals are a gamble. wing or center, a quality that Everyone in the Bruins front the B's may make extensive office knows how David Backes use of throughout the coming is today, as he prepares for season, the start of the 2016 training =I'm into winning games so camp. No one knows how he, if Claude (Julien)thinks we're or any other player on the going to win more games with current Bruins roster, will be me playing wing, then I'm able to perform several years in. If he thinks we're going to from now. win more games with me So it's a roll of the hockey playing center, i'm in. It may be dice, but if the B's are indeed one of those things where it's playing in June a year or two schedule-dependent, opponent- or three from now, it will be dependent or dependent on a seen as one that yielded an bunch of different variables." impressive payoff. If not, there Backes also sees himself as will be another player, another perhaps being used to give large contract signed, and Bergeron and teammate Brad another time when hope springs Marchand a day or two of rest, if eternal.