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The Post's Shirley Povich

Shirley Povich Tribute

  From Dempsey to Tyson, a Ringside Seat

Compiled by Steve Fox
Washingtonpost.com Staff

Povich at 18
An 18-year-old Shirley Povich as a Post copy boy in 1923. (Post File Photo)

One of the earliest Shirley Povich articles found in the deep archives of The Post is on the 1927 heavyweight bout between Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey. Povich covered boxing through its glory years, writing about fighters like Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis, but has had little patience for the people and events that have contributed to the sport's recent decline.

Povich did not let the Mike Tyson ear-biting incident pass without comment, writing that despite the sport's penchant for self-destruction, boxing will survive. After all, he notes, boxing has survived mob control, Sonny Liston, Jake LaMotta and Don King.

  • 1927: Tunney vs. Dempsey
    Sept. 22, 1927
    In Jack Dempsey's comeback attempt against Gene Tunney, Dempsey failed to recapture the heavyweight title, even though he showed glimpses of his old greatness when he knocked Tunney down in the seventh round.

  • Graziano, He Knew the Ropes
    May 25, 1990
    In a tribute to Rocky Graziano, Povich recalls the boxer, who knew how lucky he was to rise to the top, and was fond of saying: "Somebody up there likes me."

  • Not All Comebacks Are Magical
    Feb. 3, 1996
    The sports pages have always been filled with comeback stories, but few sports are as dominated by this scenario as boxing. In the end, however, Povich notes that former boxing stars usually end up answering one too many bells.

  • Zale Was No Ordinary Boxer
    Mar. 3, 1997
    To read Povich's accounts of the battles between Rocky Graziano and Tony Zale is to read of an era where the winner was whomever was the last one standing.

  • Blood, Sweat and Jeers
    Thursday, July 3 1997
    When Mike Tyson shocked the sports world by biting off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear during their heavyweight title bout, Povich joined the chorus of sportswriters wondering whether boxing could survive yet another catastrophe.

  • Not Enough Rings for This Circus
    Sunday, July 13 1997
    There was a circus atmosphere following Tyson's "Bite of the Century," culminating with Tyson's apology to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Povich gave little weight to Tyson's words after he went out and bought a Ferrari afterwards.

© Copyright 1997 washingtonpost.com

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