Legendary reporter Adela Rogers St.Johns once asked legendary boxer Jack Dempsey what qualities were needed to be a champion.  Dempsey said, “There are only two.  You’ve got to be able to do it at ten minutes after ten in Madison Square Garden on a Tuesday night, and you’ve got to be able to get up off the canvas when you can’t.”


I met Dempsey once in the 1970s and got his autograph at his restaurant on Broadway in New York City.  Saying that feels like saying that I met Achilles once and got his autograph down by the Greek ships at Troy.

Such men no longer exist in our world and may never exist in the world again.

Click on the images to enlarge.

5 thoughts on “CHAMPIONS

  1. Actually, I think they may very well exist all over the place, although they’re not always celebrated. There are all kinds of examples of getting up off the canvas when you can’t. I even know a few writers who have done it!

    • Yes, they do exist, though not as celebrated public males, like Achilles and Dempsey.

  2. They don’t make ‘em like they used to! That lament has been around for a long time. Homer said, “Then Aias, son of Telamon, was first to slay his man, even great-souled Epicles, comrade of Sarpedon, for he smote him with a huge jagged rock, that lay the topmost of all within the wall by the battlements. Not easily with both hands could a man, such as mortals now are, hold it, were he never so young and strong, but Aias lifted it on high and hurled it, and he shattered the four-horned helmet, and crushed together all the bones of the head of Epicles.” The answer to the lament is, Yes, they do, and they always will.

    • See my answer to Adrienne above. I once saw Diego Corrales, in person, get up off the canvas when he couldn’t and hold on long enough to knock his opponent out. It felt like something out of Homer.

      • The picture at the head of the post shows Dempsey getting knocked OUT OF THE RING by Firpo. He fell onto some reporters and cut the back of his head on a typewriter but manged to get back in the ring and knock Firpo out. It was later claimed that some reporters helped him get up and that 14 seconds elapsed before he got back on his feet in the ring, both of which should have disqualified him, but it was still a hell of a thing.

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