Ball point pen on today's newsprint
Kids now probably have a hard time relating, but growing up in the seventies I was a boxing fan. My father boxed in the service and looking back, I guess he wanted to teach his boys to protect themselves. We had a speed bag on our back porch and we would get boxing gloves as Christmas presents. I enjoyed learning the timing and rhythm of the speed bag, which I learned to hit while standing on planks stretched between two saw horses. But in truth, I was better at jumping rope than hitting or getting hit, which probably worried my dad.
It really wasn't until these two larger than life personalities came along that we started to take interest. I shared a room with my brother Tom and remember lying in our bunk beds in the dark listening to the Ali Frazier fights, the only light coming from our clock radio with a flip number display and faux wood grain finish. The same clock radio that brought the fights to life and would wake us in a few hours to deliver the morning newspaper. You had to admire Smokin Joe's determination - always moving forward, but at the time I was routing for Ali. Years later, after watching a documentary on the great fighters, I sympathized with the working class Frazier for the public abuse he took from Ali.
R.I.P. Smokin Joe