In 1976, the most famous athlete in the world, Muhammad Ali, squared off with the most famous wrestler in Japan, Antonio Inoki, at the Budokan in Tokyo. According to a new book from our guest, Josh Gross, despite the fact that the fight itself was widely panned and didn't do well financially, this seminal event paved the way for mixed martial arts and UFC, and instigated a shift in pro wrestling, pushing it towards the concept of "sports entertainment." Gross' new book, "Ali vs. Inoki: The Forgotten Fight That Inspired Mixed Martial Arts and Launched Sports Entertainment," gives the fascinating background on how the fight came together, as well as the aftermath. We discuss what led to the fight, how pro wrestlers taught Ali to promote, and just how big of a star Inoki is in Japan.
Presidents usually get most of the attention, but First Ladies have their own legends as well...join us as Feather Foster, author of "Mary Lincoln's Flannel Pajamas," delves into several interesting stories about the wives of American Presidents. Listeners will recognize several familiar names, including Mary Lincoln, Julia Grant, Edith Wilson, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Hear why Lincoln wore flannel pajamas, how Grant accidentally showed support for the Confederacy, whether or not Wilson tracked mud into the White House, and how Roosevelt changed the First Lady role.
This week's episode features part two of our discussion with biographer Douglas Century, the author of "Barney Ross: The Life of a Jewish Fighter." On this show, we talk about how the Pearl Harbor attacks led him into World War II, and why he may have been looking to commit "suicide by war." We also discuss the details of his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal, where he personally killed 22 enemy soldiers, saving many of his fellow soldiers' lives in the process. Awarded the Silver Star as a result, but also suffering from his injuries, he became a drug addict. He kicked the habit, and become a drug addiction advocate, and later testified at childhood friend Jack Ruby's Warren Commission hearing. And that's not even all of it...enjoy!
#tags: boxing, Jewish, war, Ruby, WWII
Though his name has been forgotten by many, Barney Ross packed more into his 57 years than most will ever come close to accomplishing. Born in New York but raised in Chicago, Ross was a childhood friend of Lee Harvey Oswald's killer, Jack Ruby. He later testified at Ruby's murder trial as a character witness. Ross' father was killed in a robbery of the family deli; he was forced to grow up quickly as a result. He later turned to boxing. Ross' amateur career was supported by gangster Al Capone, and he went on to become a three-division world champion and Hall of Famer in boxing. After his retirement, be became a marine, and was awarded a Silver Star for his heroic actions during the Battle of Guadalcanal. While recovering from his wounds, he became addicted to morphine, which developed into a heroin addiction. Ross later kicked the habit and became an advocate before dying of cancer at the age of 57. What an incredible life! You do now want to miss part one of our discussion with Ross biographer Douglas Century, author of "Barney Ross: The Life of a Jewish Fighter."
#tags: boxing, war, Jewish