Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

GaryVee Talks To Pro Athletes About How to Make An Impact

If you saw the “30 for 30″—then you already know the story.

“By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress; within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke.”

Former Tennessee Titan, Derrick Morgan, is looking to change that.

Last Friday, Morgan spearhead a financial conference called “I AM Nation.” It included guests speeches from the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk and Anthony Pompliano.

“Life is only about access. And the great mistake of athletes is not going aggressive enough, to make relationships in the cities where they have played,” Vaynerchuk had to say when speaking at the event, emphasizing the need for personal connections.

In addition to increasing financial literacy, Morgan, and a slew of other current and former athletes, are hoping to also make an impact. They’ve laid out their priorities as capital, community, and culture.

When players are in the primes of their career, financial strategy and investing are rarely discussed in the locker room. The event was made to provide a forum for players to learn, network, and open that conversation.

The “I AM Nation” group has put together quite the team. The roster includes Josh Childress, Byron Jones, Stephen Tulloch, Winston Justice, Justin Forsett, EJ Manuel, Vincent Fuller, Kevin Byard, and Spencer Paysinger.

These players’ backgrounds are all different. Some of them have already dabbled in entrepreneurship and others are just getting started. Either way, their involvement is helping diversify the investment space.

At the event, the conversations revolved around NFTs, real estate, cryptocurrency, and stock trading. Each subsection was given a speaker dedicated to providing valuable information for the group.

“[Athletes] are playing in real cities, with real die-hard fans. Football is one of the great passions of our society.  And because of that passion, you can access some really influential people, who will take a meeting with you, who will say yes to doing business with you” Vaynerchuk emphasized.

The event united the focuses of Morgan’s vision, by bringing capital, community, and culture together.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The Best ‘Fast and Furious’ Movies, Ranked

Ride or die, remember? 

Oh yeah. We remember. 

With the release of Fast and Furious 9, it is only appropriate that we dissect and break down the entire Fast Universe by ranking them from worst to first. 

And don’t forget, it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.

9) The Fate of The Furious

Listen, I am going to see these movies no matter what. At this point, I’m hooked. 

But F8 just did not do it for me. I know that these movies have evolved into giant blockbuster action movies, and I’m OK with that. I just want it done well. And I didn’t get that vibe with F8

Charlize Theron is a nice addition to the already studded Fast-cast and she plays a quality, cruel villain. Sure, you still get some witty one-liners from Tyrese Gibson and co. – but outside of that, this movie is not that memorable. 

The two Shaw brothers bring the action in the plane hijacking scene. The scene is also ignited by one of the more enjoyable lines of the film, “you just took your foot off the tiger’s neck.” It is probably the best sequence in the film, but it all just feels meh to me. 

Standout Song: Hey Ma – Pitbull, J Balvin, & Camila Cabello 

Fire Quote: “I’m going to beat you like a Cherokee drum.”

Scene:

8) Fast 9

It has only been in the theaters for a few days, but I was able to make my way to catch Fast 9 in a timely manor.

Being completely transparent, I think I am still processing the film. So I will do my best to provide commentary on some of the things I am sure of.

Yes, it is over the top. Yes, there is some mildly funny commentary. Yes, it certainly helped that I smoked a joint with friends before going into the movie.

In the trailer, it shows them going to space. With that information alone, you have everything you need to know. While I found myself smirking, giggling, and enjoying some moments – I also felt insulted at times. The action is RIDICULOUS.

*SPOILERS*

Where I was surprised was in the backstory of the Torreto family. I thought that was really dope. It explained how John Cena’s character fit into all of it. And, although it was brief, I thought Cena and Diesel had some quality moments and chemistry. Even just by way of a look or a grin.

But the space stuff was too much. I couldn’t do it. On top of that, the movie was insanely meta. Tyrese Gibson is making jokes for the entire movie about how they shouldn’t be surviving all of these outrageous crashes. (Dom and Letty drive off a cliff, hook onto a rope, and then crash into a different cliff WITHOUT A SCRATCH)

The movie glances over Han’s death pretty quickly, but at least that is acknowledged in the mid-credits scene.

The franchise has announced the final installment of the sega will come in two parts. They also announced a new solo film for The Rock’s character, Hobbs. And then teased a potential film with Han and Shaw in that mid-credits scene. They are going to milk the shit out of this.

But I just want one more. A gritty, low-budget, and grounded film set in LA. I am convinced that it can be done. And I believe it would be the perfect way to conclude the franchise.

Standout Song: Fast Lane – Don Toliver, Lil Durk, and Latto 

Fire Quote: “How in the hell are you not dead?”

Scene: Opening racing scene at the old track

7) ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’

For years, I missed this one. But I think over time it has grown on me slightly. Obviously, this one sticks out amongst the rest when you look at the films from a distance. But there is a little bit of nostalgia that sucks me in from time to time. 

I’m never going out of my way to watch it. But the perception of the movie was so bad, I think it is slightly underrated. If anything, the movie kills it when it comes to Han. In a series filled with overacting and cheesy lines… Tokyo Drift treats Han differently. He is calm, cool, and collected. He says so much with just a smirk or a look. I wouldn’t suggest going out of your way to rewatch this one, but if you stumble upon it, it is worth giving a few minutes just so you can appreciate the legend, Han.

And who can forget that final scene? When the music suddenly shifts from Tokyo Drift… into “Los Bandoleros.”

Standout Song: Tokyo Drift – Teriyaki Boyz

Fire Quote: “He was when he rolled with me.” 

Scene:

6) ‘Fast and Furious 6’

When I originally saw this one, I felt like it had been a minor letdown. Obviously, there was a ton of momentum coming into this addition to the franchise. Fast 5 blew people out of the water, and The Rock had become an official staple in the series. 

Now, Fast 6 was not bad. It has a lot of very memorable moments to the franchise and Owen Shaw is a solid villain. It was actually one of the few times in the series where the team felt overpowered. Shaw’s team had a beat on Dom’s. And perhaps most importantly, we get the return of Letty.

While the climax of the movie has its flaws, like the length of the runway (lol), it does also give some outstanding spots as well. It is not too often that you get to see Vin Diesel lift up a giant man and then have The Rock clotheslining that man to hell. 

The closing action sequence takes away Gisele, played by Gal Gadot. It is a heartbreaking loss. It also gives us a semi-bizarre after-credits scene that reveals Jason Statham as the next villain. I’m not going to go down a rabbit hole of evidence, but in Tokyo Drift, they are using flip phones… but in Fast 6 they are using incredibly advanced technology. Someone messed up there.

If you like the other movies, you are going to like this one.

Standout Song: We Own It – Wiz Khalifa & 2 Chainz

Fire Quote: “It’s not that simple. The crew we are after, they hit like thunder and disappear like smoke. You go in alone? You won’t ever touch ‘em. I’ve been chasing this guy across four continents and 12 countries. And believe me the last damn place I want to be right now is on your front doorstep, selling girl scout cookies. I need your help Dom. I need your team.”

Scene:

5) ‘Furious 7’

OK, now we are talking. And get the tissues ready. 

This was an incredibly tricky movie to manage. Of course, this film’s production was interrupted by the tragic death of Paul Walker. For about a decade, Walker helped carry the load in the Fast and Furious franchise. He was more than a staple. This might be a “hot take,” but I think Walker was more Fast and Furious than even Vin Diesel. 

This was a tough task, and coming into the movie, I was hesitant and unsure. But holy shit, they fucking nailed it. 

The movie comes with the usual over-the-top action sequences. It has the cheesy one-liners that we have grown to love. Deckard Shaw’s introduction is world class, as is our meeting with Mr. Nobody. 

But when you talk to people about Fast 7, they immediately talk about one thing. The final shot. 

Yeah, I cried. Right around the time Dom goes, “it is never goodbye.” 

Then I cried some more when Dom and Brian saw each other on the road. 

And god damnit, I’m crying right now. 

On its own, I don’t know how this movie is. For people who were introduced to the series, later on, I don’t know what they thought. But for the tried and true Fast fans, this was an emotional installment. 

Standout Song: See You Again-Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth

Fire Quote: “Dom, cars don’t fly.” 

Scene:

4) ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’

I will defend this movie until the day I die. I don’t care if it is corny. I don’t give a damn if it is too much. This movie has it. You know, the thing. The thing that, despite all its flaws, makes a movie so fucking fun. 

You will be hard-pressed to find an art piece that encaptures the early 2000’s better than 2 Fast 2 Furious. I’m well aware that a lot of people consider this one to be on the goofier side. But this movie is very near and dear to my heart, so I want to point out a few things. 

First of all, I’m gonna be straight up. Paul Walker is an all-time “hot-guy” in this classic. This might be a Mt. Rushmore All-Time Hot Guy performance from Walker. In the opening scene, he rolls up as a late entry to the race. The blue underglow on his car is shining bright as ever. And the first thing he wants to do is up the stakes. 

Bad. Ass. 

The other thing worth mentioning about this one is the introduction of Tej and Rome. Obviously, early on we get to meet Tej. And Ludicrous is a really solid addition to the universe. But this movie absolutely takes off with Roman Pearce’s appearance. The character comes with mysterious mythology, an undeniable swagger, and some of the most classic one-liners in the history of the franchise. 

EJECTO SEATO CUH

Standout Song: Too Fast Too Furious – Lucacris

Fire Quote: “I said forget about it, cuh.”

Scene:

3) ‘Fast and Furious’

The one that brought us back. 

Just solid. Across the board. We get a little bit of everything that we want. Fast fans get the sexy racing scenes, Dom sipping some Coronas, and Brian looking sick as ever. We are also introduced to Gisele, who quickly became a fan favorite. Brian is climbing his way through the ranks of the police force and is absolutely slick.

When rewatching Fast and Furious, some of the intensity is lost in regards to Letty’s death. Like a lot of other movie franchises, Fast and Furious has no problem bringing back characters who the audience presumed to be dead. I love Letty, but bringing her back in the sixth film takes away from the high-stakes nature of the fourth installment.

At times, it feels like any other action movie from the 2000s. But it stays more grounded than a lot of its counterparts and ultimately does the job it was set to do. Bring. Us. Back.

Standout Song: G-Stro – Busta Rhymes 

Fire Quote: “Pussy.” (I apologize for the crude choice. It is so good though.)

Scene:

2) ‘The Fast and The Furious’

I know that people just automatically assume that the first movie is the best. And to be truthful, this is like asking me to pick my favorite child. 

This movie is almost perfect. The tuna. The car vocabulary. The music. The aesthetic. The southern California vibes. The Corona. 

Honestly? It is hard to explain how much I love this movie. 

Plenty of people talk about how incredible this movie is. And it is all valid. But there is something in this movie that I think is often overlooked. At the end of the day, this is a movie about an undercover cop – just as much as it is a racing movie. And perhaps the best thing this movie does is showing the transition that Brian has. At the beginning of the story, he is a young, hot-shot in the police. He wants to do whatever it takes to take down the “bad guys.” And by the end of it, he feels for Dom and his family. And if you compare The Fast and The Furious with other undercover movies, like The Departed, that is something that is slightly different. 

The Fast and The Furious changed car culture. It gave people a new insight into a different side of Los Angeles. It changed people’s choices in beer. The importance of the movie that started it all cannot be understated.

Standout Song: Area Codes – Ludacris & Nate Dogg 

Fire Quote: “Ask any racer. Any real racer. It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.”

Scene:

1) ‘Fast 5’

*Perfection*

My friends, this is the best Fast and Furious movie. 

Let’s start with the opening scene. Dom is sentenced to prison for his crimes committed in the previous film. With the help of some of his friends, Dom never makes it behind bars. 

When you think about heist movies, there are some vital ingredients. Somewhere on the totem pole is a good soundtrack, a last minute reverse uno card, and a getting the team together moment. 

Ocean’s 11 is often considered the gold standard of heist movies. And it is for good reason. But I’m not sure even Danny Ocean and Rusty can compete with the team-up scene in Fast 5

This… is an elite group. 

And then, of course, fans get the ultimate showdown. Dom vs Hobbs. Vin vs The Rock. And HOLY SHIT does that scrap deliver. The two are exchanging blows that would make Rocky and Creed jealous. It is the fight of fights. It can only be described as back-and-forth action at mythological proportions. 

Dwayne Johnson’s introduction into the franchise was massive. First and foremost, it wasn’t forced. At this point in time, The Rock was yet to hit that insane level of superstardom that he would reach a few years later. The series was still known for its driving sequences. And when the two meet, it was a perfect match. Johnson’s role as Agent Hobbs gave life to the series that would continue to today.

When the movie is all said and done. Our family wins. And the fans want more…

“Hey Toretto, I’ll see you soon.”

Standout Song: Danza Kuduro – Don Umar & Lucenzo 

Fire Quote: “We are gonna need two precision drivers.” 

Scene:

Categories
Sports Strength

Anthony Smith Explains What “Lionheart” Is All About

One of the very cool things about combat sports is the different people that you will meet along the way. Some of those people are nice, and some aren’t so. I’m not the first person to say it, but I will gladly echo what other people have said for years:

Anthony Smith is one of the “good guys.”

Smith joined ‘In The Fight” during a live event for GCX (Gaming Community Expo). The event went incredible and ONE37pm raised $6,900 for St. Jude’s Children Hospital.

When “Lionheart” fights, he brings the action. He is notorious for action-packed scraps. He has 10 wins in the UFC and his last nine have all come by way of submission or TKO.

“For a while, I was the only fighter who fought in a major promotion who had 40 fights, who had never gone to a decision. On one hand, that’s cool. On the other, that means I get in fiery spots sometimes. I’ve never really chased a finish. I just put my foot on the gas and go.”

Smith has been in the game a long time. He’s seasoned. He has dealt with everything that comes with fighting, and that includes the media. So as a younger member of the media, I thought this would be a good opportunity to ask him about the questions that really bother him.

“The first one is, ‘I know you don’t want to give us a game plan, but what is your prediction?’ Like, I don’t know man. I’m just trying to win… that’s the fun. When the ref asks if I am ready… I don’t know. He is lighting a bomb in the middle of the cage and we have to go stand on it.”

Smith is on a two-fight win streak and is scheduled to get back into the Octagon in September.

Categories
NFT Sports

NFTs and Injuries, Lamelo Ball Wins Rookie of the Year

They say “Pikachu can’t tear his ACL.” It is what separates non-sports assets and sports assets. When investing in the sports NFT world, you are banking on a player’s health. 

You look at the last week in the NBA and the playoffs have been decimated by injuries to some of the league’s biggest stars. 

Predicting injuries is impossible. But factoring in this concept of, “what if this player tore their ACL? How would it impact their career?” can be incredibly important in deciding where you want to invest your money in the NFT landscape.

With the Kawhi Leonard news, it’s incredibly disappointing, but most likely, it won’t impact his career arc. Can this be said for some of the younger players who have yet to establish that tenure in the league. 

Even the rookie of the year, Lamelo Ball was dinged up for a small portion of the season. It almost cost him the rookie of the year. 

Speaking of Lamelo, the youngest Ball brother dropped an NFT collection a few weeks ago. And with him winning the prized accolade, it will be included in his NFT series.

Investing in players’ whose careers are already somewhat established can keep you safe from the always possible threat of injuries. 

And if you want to completely avoid the threat of injuries, you can always look to non-sports related NFTs. 

Whether it be a meme, digital art, and digital horses. 

There are risks in other NFTs. An artist can be canceled for things they say. Artist’s careers are not guaranteed either. Decentraland could become the preferred landscape of the metaverse over Sandbox. All of these could impact the value of a non-sports NFT.

I’m not saying that there is necessarily a better NFT group to be invested in. I just want people to understand the importance of weighing all of these different factors that go into it. 

Categories
Sports Strength

Drew Dober Fights With a Smile, Previews UFC 263

When most people think about fighters, they imagine a tough, rugged figure. Drew Dober is not that.

Dober fights with a smile. He is in that octagon to provide the audience with a show. He doesn’t view the rankings as some end-all, be-all type of system. He simply wants to give fans some entertainment. It’s refreshing, but he will be the first to tell you that he didn’t start this method of fighting.

Dober: “I think it is the mentality that (Justin) Gaethje and Donald Cerrone carry. Anywhere, anytime. But it is not reckless. It is sheer enjoyment. It is contagious. I think people really enjoy watching these fighters enjoy themselves… win or lose – we are still watching them fight.”

Dober is a member of one of the best fight teams in the country in Colorado. The Elevation Fight Team is elite. From top to bottom the team is full of studs: Justin Gaethje, Cory Sandhage, Curtis Blaydes, and plenty more…

In addition to being great fighters, they are also performers.

Dober: “I think it is just the enjoyment and fans put you in the zone to perform the best. Some people have different ways of using it, like with Cory and Curtis. But coincidentally, Justin Gaethje and I just so happen to have the same mindset, on the same team, on the same mat. I love bouncing, not only ideas but techniques and skills. It’s a sheer coincidence that the two most entertaining men in the lightweight division are in the same camp.

When Dober entered the UFC, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Dober’s time in the UFC started with two losses and plenty of people have been cut by the company for less. Of course, Dober is an incredibly positive guy. But trying times can get the best of anyone.

Dober: “The first fight was a struggle… Man, it was just tough. And I went out there and I gave my best. I didn’t get the decision win. Giving your best, no matter the outcome, giving your best is the only thing you can do. Giving 100 percent of something and it not going your way, it doesn’t hurt as bad.”

Dober’s positivity and mentality are contagious. He takes a very unique perspective and outlook on life.

Check out Dober’s fight against Brad Riddell on Saturday night on ESPN+ at UFC 263.

Categories
NFT Sports

NFTs Are NOT Dead, According to Jack Settleman

I Promise… NFT’s Are Not Dead

I’m not sure people understand how early on we are in this NFT movement. 

The total Top Shot market cap is at 605 million dollars. 

At one point, it was over a billion dollars, so naturally, people are showing concern.

Did I mention that we are early?

Clearly, the public perception is that NFT’s are dead. But I am here to tell you they are not. We are seeing a pullback. We are seeing similar reactions to the dot.com era, where 99 percent of websites failed. But the one percent that survived (Amazon, Google) became monsters. 

Quick reminder, we are early. 

What is important is that NFT’s, celebrity cash grabs are gone… which we’ve been saying. But the tech of NFT’s is going to be the thing of the next decade. As of now, all people know are the youtube clips they are watching. But we are still so early, people don’t understand what this wave can be.

The general idea from Top Shot fans is that it re-engaged them with the NBA. Who captures your attention? That is what matters. The MLB does a terrible job with it. The UFC is making a Dapper Labs product… and is asking you to pay for the viewing experience and give them your time. With the NFL, they own Sunday and Monday… but even our generation watches RedZone. Once again, the tech and utility of NFT’s are an attention and engagement capture. 

Over the next decade, the competition will be over people’s time and attention. 

To finalize things, we are super early in this. It could be five years before we see the fruits of NFT technology.

Categories
Sports Strength

Jordan Fuller Talks Sports Psychology, Getting Stronger, and Family

When you play football at THE Ohio State… and then play in the NFL, you do a lot of interviews and answer a lot of questions. 

The prompts get old and repetitive, but for the most part, the athletes are gracious enough to answer without too much attitude, even though I am sure that they are uninterested. 

Jordan Fuller is no exception. For every question asked, he gives a thoughtful response.

Even the questions that he gets asked over and over, like ‘what is it like playing with Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald?’ or, ‘what was it like to intercept Tom Brady twice in the same game?’

“Yeah I get it asked a lot,” he laughed. “It’s all good though.” 

Fuller has dedicated a good portion of his offseason to his mental training. Of course, when you are in the early stages of your career, you need to get stronger physically. But he also realized that the mental fortitude needed to be as much of a focus.

ONE37pm: How does the body feel now compared to last season? The body is still growing. 

Fuller: “I definitely feel like I am getting stronger. As a rookie, I found out other things I need to work on. Strength, mobility, and overall wellness. My mental. I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a person too. The body feels great. Mentally and spiritually.” 

ONE37pm: So many players have committed to seeing a sports psychologist. Is that something you have dabbled in? 

Fuller: “I wanted to delve into speaking things into existence. And I have, I feel like I am in a good place.”

With the high-stress nature of football, there is a yin and yang to the mental approach of the sport. He explained how going too far on one end can be costly. 

“Get into your zone. Having enough stress so the adrenaline is pumping, but not too much to where it paralyzes you. You wanna get there on command. I’m not there yet, but I am trying” Fuller says.

ONE37pm: Which way do you lean, the pumped up side or chill side?

Fuller: “I’m a thinker, so I’ll be on the more stressed side. So sometimes I need to scale it back. Understanding that nothing is good or bad, don’t make judgments in the moment cause it wastes time.”

Fuller dove deeper into those early judgments. 

“Living with regret. That’s what I hate. The way I approach workouts, games… I hate that. Why wouldn’t I give it my all? That’s what motivates me. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, I hate that” he explains.

Fuller’s awareness is really impressive. He understands his strengths and accepts some of his weaknesses. But his biggest focus is changing HOW he views his weaknesses.

Fuller: “My strengths… I’m smart. I’m consistent. I try to be a good teammate and be another coach on the field. But a lot of times, people won’t see that with the naked eye. There are a lot of things I will bring to the table. Maybe I’m not the quickest or the strongest… there are a bunch of other guys who have that on me. But talking to the psychologist, he reversed that thinking. At Ohio St., as a Freshman, it was a really big jump for me. That might have scarred my thinking a little bit. Thinking like, ‘man, these guys are way better than me.’ My thinking didn’t make sense. I just got in my head sometimes. 

ONE37pm: You make it sound really easy, but there is no way that is the case. Changing your thinking also means changing years and years of habits. So how do you rewire that process?

Fuller: “The other thing I am working on is being present. A little bit of meditation to center myself. Taking a few deep breaths and understanding that a lot of my worries aren’t real or things I can control.”

Needless to say, Jordan Fuller does not sound like your typical 23-year-old. 

ONE37pm: So many people talk about the cliche “welcome to the NFL” feeling or moment. But since you came from Ohio State and your entire family is full of superstars…was that still the case for you? 

Fuller: “In training camp, it might have happened. I was playing with the ones (starters)… blah blah blah. But then I got a pick or something and I said, ‘yeah, I am supposed to be here.’ 

Then we played the Cowboys, with a ton of big names. But then like the first play of the game, I made an assisted tackle with Jalen Ramsay on Amari Cooper. I feel like God sent that knowing that I needed it. Once you get that first hit, you’re good.”

ONE37pm: When you do these interviews, and you do 1,000’s of them, what do you want to be asked? 

Fuller: “Honestly, I want to be asked about other people that I care about. Whether it is my family or a teammate who had a great game. I don’t want to be like, ‘look at me.’ 

I am big on family. The people I am close with… My dad played at TCU. My brother was drafted by the Falcons, and he is one of my best friends. He’s into coaching, and I’ve gotten to watch him grow. Obviously, my mom is one of the best backup singers of all time. My little sister has grown into her own. My brother married into the Holiday family, if you know Jrue, Justin, and Aaron. I’m living rent-free because of Jrue and Lauren right now. She’s the real superstar. Real deal. Great, great people. For real. 

They’ve poured so much into me. It’s been really dope. Being surrounded by excellence has pushed me further. They are the reason why I am so motivated. I definitely think I have the best family in the world.”

That’s the kind of person Jordan Fuller is.

Categories
Sports Strength

Muhammed Ali’s 10 Best Fights, Ranked

61 pro fights. 56 wins. One unforgettable career. Out of all those incredible fights, it’s hard to pick which may be the best, but we took a crack at it. Let’s look back at Muhammed Ali’s 10 Best Fights. 

10) Muhammed Ali vs Henry Cooper 2

May 21, 1966

Arsenal Stadium, London, England 

One thing you have to admire about Ali was his willingness to perform anywhere, anytime. There are a ton of variables that need to be accounted for when fighting out of the country. And Ali took every single one of those fights in stride. 

I had a hard time deciding what would take the final spot on this list. I ultimately decided on a fight in the first half of Ali’s career, because that’s where I believe the magic was. Every description you have heard of Ali’s style was true. He did float. He did sting. 

When Ali rematched against the British champion, Henry Cooper, the crowd was backing Cooper hard. With every thrown punch by Cooper, the crowd roared. But Ali remained laser-focused. After a few rounds of effective jabbing, Ali started to land on the courageous Cooper. In round six, Ali landed a nasty right hand that cut open the left eye of the Brit. It was graphic. The fight was called off shortly after.

9) Muhammed Ali vs Jerry Quarry 1

October 26, 1970

Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia 

This fight meant more than just a win or loss. Ali hadn’t fought in three years due to his stance on the Vietnam war. People were wildly curious about how Ali would look after the long layoff. Would he be the same fighter? Would he experience ring rust? 

No. He looked sharp as ever. The snapping jab was still there, and it did the damage. By the end of the third round, Quarry’s right eye was busted up, and the fight was stopped. 

This proved… Ali was back.

8) Muhammed Ali vs Brian London

August 6, 1966

Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England

I have tons of respect for anyone who enters the ring. The possibility of humiliation and severe physical damage is daunting. 

However, Brian London brought nothing to the table for Ali. While he was game and tough, Ali proved there are levels to this profession. It is also commonly known that taking on a fighter on their home turf can be costly if the fight goes to a decision. 

Well, Ali didn’t let it go that far. In round three, Ali provided one of his most sensational moments in the boxing ring. After hurting London and pressuring him into a corner, Ali threw a barrage of punches all in a matter of seconds. It is a combination straight out of a movie. London went down and couldn’t recover.

7) Muhammed Ali vs Joe Frazier 3

October 1, 1975

Philippine Coliseum, Quezon City, Philippines

It might not have been one of his “best” performances, but this fight is a landmark moment in Ali’s career. Until October of 1975, Frazier gave Ali trouble. After losing the first fight, and only edging out Frazier in a close decision in the rematch—Ali still needed to prove that he was the better man.

 One of the most fun dynamics of rematches and trilogies are the adjustments made by the fighters. In the second fight, Ali lessened the number of straight right hands thrown. For Ali, he wanted two things in this fight. The first thing was a larger ring size. This allowed Ali to dance and use his supreme footwork. The second thing was to capitalize on Frazier’s notoriously slow starts. 

Again, this was not Ali’s most dominant performance. But it may have been his most impressive. This match was violent, bloody, and brutal. Ali said it was the closest to death he’d ever felt. After a grueling 14 rounds, Frazier’s corner called off the fight. And although Ali had asked his corner to do the same, they ignored his wish. This was a fight of mythological proportions.

6) Muhammed Ali vs Zora Folley

March 22, 1967 

Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York 

The biggest bummer about Ali’s career was that we most likely missed the prime years of his career. So this bout is interesting because it was the final fight before he served time in prison. At 25 years of age, and a few years of experience as the champion of the heavyweight division, it is possible that this was the fight in which Ali was at his peak. 

And it showed. Ali’s speed was as prominent as ever. He was developing a savviness in the ring. In round four, Ali delivered one of his patented over-the-top counter right hands. Folley hit the canvas as Ali stood over him. Folley made it back to his feet for the ten counts, but Ali knew he could hurt him. In the seventh round, he would deliver a similar punch that would put Folley out for good. 

Aside from the fight itself, this is a really cool match because of the high-quality footage available online.

5) Muhammed Ali vs Cleveland Williams

November 14, 1966

Astrodome, Houston, Texas 

There are a few things that standout in this fight. 

Like the last entry, this could have been Ali’s physical prime. He looked in incredible shape for this bout. He had defended his belt a few times by this point and was now gathering experience in the ring. 

From round one, this was a matchup nightmare for Williams. Ali’s footwork and speed was almost unfair. Williams appeared stiff as stone, missing almost every punch that he threw. For most of round one, Ali spent his energy processing Williams’ timing and habits. By round two, the story was already written. Ali peppered jabs and left hooks until Williams dropped. The Ali shuffle was on display on multiple occasions and Ali appeared to be enjoying himself in the ring. With just seconds remaining in the second round, Ali landed a sensational blow that hurt Williams badly. He was saved by the bell, but was finished shortly after in the third round. 

Many people recall the image of Ali standing over Sonny Liston as the most iconic photo in his career… but this fight may have given us the runner-up.

4) Muhammed Ali vs Floyd Patterson 1

November 22, 1965

Las Vegas Convention Center, Winchester, Nevada 

Ali was coming off of back-to-back, career-defining performances against Sonny Liston. You know what they say, right? “It is easy to get to the top. It is harder to stay there.” And this fight proved Ali wanted to stay.

Some of the footage from these fights aren’t great. Most of it is in black and white, but even then, Ali’s flair and style is undeniable. His footwork was so ahead of its time, it is mind boggling. 

These old-school, 15 round affairs were no joke. And Ali knew that. He took his time and waited for the perfect opportunity. In round 12, it was nothing but cruel and unusual punishment. Ali’s speed stayed with him, while Patterson faded. To my surprise, the referee actually did the right thing and stopped the bout after Patterson ate numerous unanswered punches. 

3) Muhammed Ali vs Sonny Liston 2

May 25, 1965 

Civic Center, Lewiston, Maine

Oh yeah. It’s *THAT* fight. 

You know… the one. 

Sure, there is plenty of controversy surrounding the fight. It is called the “phantom” punch for a reason. Do I think it landed? Yes. But you can’t watch that round one and not have some suspicion. 

The results are the results. Ali delivered an iconic first round knockout in the rematch against Liston. 

Hell yeah, I am putting it in my top five.

2) Muhammed Ali vs Sonny Liston 1

February 26, 1964

Convention Center, Miami Beach

Sometimes in fighting, there is a feeling-out process in the first couple of rounds. Sometimes, a fighter’s strategy is hidden until they feel their opponent let their guard down. However, during the first bout between Ali and Liston, the two strategies were obvious from the get-go. 

In round one, Liston pressed forward. Ali did as he often did… dance. And oh, was it beautiful. Liston continuously missed on big, looping left hooks. Ali’s head movement was next level. 

In round three, Ali cut Liston. From that moment on, the great one took complete control. It really did look like fighters from different generations. Liston was trying to grit his teeth and swing wildly. Ali peppered Liston with a snapping jab for every attempted punch. Ali had trouble in the middle rounds with his eyesight, which was attributed to a substance placed on Liston’s gloves. 

Ali was 22 years old. He won his first heavyweight championship. He delivered an iconic performance. Considering all of those dynamics, it would be hard to not to consider this to be one of the greatest performances in Ali’s history.

1) Muhammed Ali vs George Foreman

October 30, 1974

Stade du 20 Mai, Kinshasa, Zaire

This fight is full of great mythology. 

Ali disobeyed his corner. 

He did the opposite of what people thought he should do. 

He trash talked Foreman for the duration of the bout, asking the power puncher if that was all he got. 

And… although it may have existed before this fight, this bout was THE textbook example of the “rope-a-dope.” For most of the fight, Ali welcomed the power puncher to lead the dance. He would lean against the ropes, hoping Foreman would punch himself out. And it worked. By the sixth, seventh, and eight rounds, Foreman was gassed. After a few wild punches from Foreman, Ali fired back a series of punches from off the ropes and Foreman collapsed. Too tired to get up, the fight was over. 

There are many great performances in his history but this stands out among the rest.

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Sports Strength

Get to Know Michelle Waterson aka “The Karate Hottie”

It is easy for fighters to talk to the media after they win. They get a lot of easy questions that are fun to answer.

After a loss? Not so much.

Michelle Waterson was kind enough to come on In the Fight and talk about her most recent loss to Marina Rodriguez.

In addition to her last fight, Waterson talked about life lessons, social media bullies, and what her life might look like after her fighting career.

Waterson is known for having a very open relationship with her daughter when it comes to her fighting career. Her daughter has seen every fight that she has been in, something that is somewhat rare in the fight game.

Templin: If your daughter’s memory was wiped clean, and she could only watch one fight of yours… which would you choose?

Waterson thought about it for a second.

Waterson: Good question.

We talked about her time working at Hooters, being a stuntman for a Marvel movie, appearing on the classic MTV show Bully Beatdown, and what she has in mind for life after her career.

Categories
Sports Strength

Meet Jerald Spohn, the Emerging Fighter With a Unique Mind

Listen, let’s be real for a second. 

If you want to fight, you’re probably different from most people. 

Fighting comes with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and by the nature of the sport, you need to be willing to take risks. 

So what draws fighters to the sport? Is it the highs? Is it the thrill of the lows? 

For MMA up and comer Jerald Spohn, it is both. 

“I think it is the upside. I’ve always been a go-big or go-home kind of guy. Even in football, I was allowed to call audibles as a WR, and I would do it if I could beat the man… even if it failed, I would get my ass ripped. I’m willing to bet on myself on anything and everything,” Spohn says to ONE37pm. 

I could tell you that Spohn trains at the infamous Strong Style gym with one of the GOATs Stipe Miocic.

I could tell you that he has an abundance of nicknames that we workshopped and some of his teammates call him “the Ginger Riff Raff and the Neon Don.” (I am pushing hard for “The Albino Rhino.”)

I could tell to you that Spohn is a deep thinker who understands life at a very worldly level.

But fight fans generally want one thing: someone who will bring a fight. 

Bo Templin: What stands out when you fight?

Spohn: It is chaos man. I come forward. I pride myself on being a well-rounded but creative fighter from walkout to after. I look at this as a big party.

Templin: OK, so how do you balance entertainment and effectiveness? How do you know when to say “fuck it” sometimes… and know when to dial it in? 

Spohn: I probably lean towards the “fuck it” side. If this is a fight to get to a title, I might be more cautious. But who knows… maybe I hop into character for each fight. I have had an idea for doing an “old” movie theme for each walkout. Ace Ventura, for one, Wesley Snipes as Blade, or Zoolander, and it would be a fun wrinkle to what I do. The way I look at it is, the fighting is why I am here. But why not have a blast? I can’t control things, but for as much as I can control, why not be exactly how I want it?

“The Neon Don” bases his MMA with wrestling. It is how he got started and he knows it is his bread and butter. But he can’t just look to one person as his model. He is trying to take a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, to make his own secret recipe. 

“I always wanted to fight. I wrestled for wrestling… but as soon as I started doing MMA—I realized my wrestling is phenomenal for MMA. My wrestling caters to MMA, it is a high-paced, unorthodox, scrambling type. A lot of movement and positions. I only have split seconds to secure something. I don’t need perfection…I wanted to wrestle like Ben Askren but fight like GSP. I want to add a few more elements, but I love his approach to his sport,” Spohn elaborates.

We continued to talk about the early days of his career for awhile. 

Spohn: I came into MMA, not just wanting to be the wrestler who only wrestles. So I spent my first few months only doing boxing and kickboxing. I took two boxing matches before MMA. The balance for me is I try to seek out things I don’t understand. 

Templin: How do you remember boxing? 

Spohn: I just remember it being different from wrestling. You could win spectacularly and still get injured. Once you accept that death is inevitable… then you stop worrying about it. It will happen at some point… whether in the cage or 28 years. I carry that mentality in my everyday life… I’ve had many deaths in my life. You aren’t guaranteed shit. I wake up every day, and I say, “what can I get out of today?”

Spohn knows what he wants, and he knows the cost. He sees what it takes to accomplish his goals, and he intends and grabbing them, and even in defeat, he will take something away from the day. He is just that kind of guy.

Spohn fights on May 28th. If you like bright minds, a unique perspective on life, and a chaotic entertaining fighter, tune into the UFC fight pass and watch Spohn go to work.