Friday, November 19, 2021

Quote of the Day (A.J. Liebling, on Unsolicited Fan Advice at Boxing Matches)

“Watching a fight on television has always seemed to me a poor substitute for being there. For one thing, you can't tell the fighters what to do. When I watch a fight, I like to study one boxer's problem, solve it, and then communicate my solution vocally. On occasion my advice is disregarded, as when I tell a man to stay away from the other fellow's left and he doesn't, but in such cases I assume that he hasn't heard my counsel, or that his opponent has, and has acted on it. Some fighters hear better and are more suggestible than others--for example, the pre-television Joe Louis. ‘Let him have it, Joe!’ I would yell whenever I saw him fight, and sooner or later he would let the other fellow have it. Another fighter like that was the late Marcel Cerdan, whom I would coach in his own language, to prevent opposition seconds from picking up our signals. ‘Vas-y, Marcel!’ I used to shout, and Marcel always y allait. I get a feeling of participation that way that I don't in front of a television screen. I could yell, of course, but I would know that if my suggestion was adopted, it would be by the merest coincidence.”—American journalist A.J. Liebling (1904-1963), “Boxing with the Naked Eye,” in The Sweet Science (1956)

No comments: