Watch a boxer beat up a tennis ball hanging from his hat

Ukrainian professional boxer Vasyl Lomachenko jabs with incredible precision at a tennis ball attached to his hat. It's a neat training technique! All that's missing, of course, is a soundtrack of "Gonna Fly Now/Theme from Rocky."

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Hear Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali's spoken word album from 1963

In August 1963, Cassius Clay released a spoken word/musical LP titled "I Am The Greatest." This was before he became the heavyweight champion of the world and renamed himself Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam. Above is the title track from that album, which was also released as two different 7" singles. The first single's b-side was a song called "Will The Real Sonny Liston Please Fall Down," (released after Ali beat Liston), and the second was a cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," both below:

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Muhammad Ali, RIP

Muhammad Ali, three-time world heavyweight boxing champion and cultural icon, died today at 74. He was the greatest. From the New York Times:

Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.

But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain. He entertained as much with his mouth as with his fists, narrating his life with a patter of inventive doggerel. (“Me! Wheeeeee!”)

Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition...

If there was a supertitle to Ali’s operatic life, it was this: “I don’t have to be who you want me to be; I’m free to be who I want.” He made that statement the morning after he won his first heavyweight title.

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Watch these tough little kids duke it out in the ring!

This is footage from the 45th annual Junior Boxing Program Championships, held in 1964. From History's Playlist:

The Naval Junior Boxing Program was founded in 1919 by Spike Webb, and was made available to the children of naval Officers and cadets stationed in Annapolis, MD. Children ranging in age from 5 through 11 and weighing 30 to 100 pounds were allowed to enter the ring and fight during these tournaments... This youth boxing club was meant to teach the children sportsmanship and how to have a strong body and mind under pressure.

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If Rocky IV was real

Rocky's 1984 defeat of Ivan Drago was a singular moment in professional boxing that had massive cultural and political implications. "If I can change, and you can change, everyone can change!"

(College Humor)

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Cat gives boxers unasked-for advice

Sock 'im! A right! A left! A ... gahhhh! You let 'im too close!

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What it's like to be a journeyman boxer

The BBC reports on the sport's professional midlist: fighters with no prospects, but necessary opponents for fighters who are. Read the rest

Blindfolded boxing

Following the 1939 craze for underwater boxing, a dark new spin on the sweet science took the country by storm: Blindfolded Mens Boxing. (via Weird Universe) Read the rest