Monday, February 14th, 2011

Fire: Actress, Model–And "Boxing Diva" Who Wasn't

Everyone calls Keisher McLeod-Wells “Fire"—or, more formally, “Fire the Boxing Diva." That second one is a bit of marketing hype, though, as she’s generally very un-diva-like, and can often be found working the front desk at Gleason’s Gym, perched behind an old desk from some long-forgotten school.

Fire is a rare species: the professional boxer-model-actress. The acting and modeling came first. She’s 33, and she’s been boxing since 2002, when she wandered into the gym after her agent suggested to her that she’d have a better shot landing a role in Terminator: 3 if she got some muscle on her arms like Linda Hamilton. And boxing just seemed like [...]


Fight Night: Boxing Is a Bad Job, Badass

Oh! to be a professional boxer. To train and train and train and train, to sweat and bleed and trade blows upon blows, all in pursuit of the glory of beating an inferior opponent, in front of a horrifying crowd of drunk gangsters, in a basement club in Times Square. Last week I wedged into the packed house at BB King's on 42nd Street for Broadway Boxing, an event featuring up and coming fighters-the level of pro who might make it onto HBO one day, but then again, might not.


Fight Night: Douchebag as Role Model: The Case of Paulie Malignaggi

"You know who was the first guy to beat up Paulie Malignaggi? Me!" said an older acquaintance of mine at Gleasons Gym. "He came in here when he was 15 and they asked me to spar with him. And I get in and he starts belting me. This 15-year-old kid, belting me! So I,"-and here, he pantomimes crouching down and throwing huge body hooks-"bam, bam, and I cracked his rib. Yeah, I cracked his rib, Paulie Malignaggi."

This anecdote is related simply to illustrate the fact that Paulie Malignaggi is the type of guy who inspires others to want to beat him up. He is boxing's greatest Guido; he [...]


Fight Night: Five Lessons from the New York Golden Gloves Finals

At Madison Square Garden on Friday night, there came five important lessons in as many bouts.

1. 165-pound novice division: Frank Galarza vs. Allen Brunner. Allen Brunner has a classic boxer's build: long arms and a lean, muscular body. Frank Galarza, a tattooed 24 year-old with a modest mohawk, stood a few inches shorter, with a shorter reach. The fight, it seemed, was Brunner's to lose. But after the bell rang, Brunner (who "trains full time," surprisingly) revealed a Gumby-like style devised by a crackhead and executed by a fighter who was not, alas, Superman. When he came in, he held his hands low, and gave the impression of [...]


Fight Night, with Hamilton Nolan: The Glorious Racism of Boxing

John Duddy is the fightingest Irish guy in New York. This, as historic stereotypes go, is right up there with being the chop suey-cookingest Chinese guy in San Francisco. Duddy, furthermore, fights with a fists-forward style that lends him a certain resemblance to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish mascot, minus the jaunty little suit.

This is all for the best. John Duddy is a boxer, and boxing is the world's last respectable cauldron of bloodthirsty racial pride. Soccer is for patriots; boxing is for tribes.