top of page

The Meteoric Rise and Fall of "Big" John Tate

By Robert Mladinich on February 13, 2020


Tate spent his teenage years picking cotton in the South and apples in upstate New York.

Tate won the WBA title from white South African Gerrie Coetzee before 86,000 fans, and unwittingly became a symbolic emancipator to the millions of black people living under the tyrannical rule of apartheid in that country at the time... READ MORE


Sonny Liston Meets the Beatles

August 30, 2021

The Beatles wanted to meet heavyweight champion Sonny Liston, not “that loudmouth who’s going to lose,” in the words of John Lennon…


Beantown Boxing 1896

April 3, 2020

Forty men worked all night to erect a suitable ring, the sand packed hard, covered with boards, and blanketed with a resin-coated canvas…

harry wills.jpg

The incredibly shrinking Harry Wills

April 17, 2020

“If I had told the boys about my fasting they would have said: ‘Harry is daffy. Taking socks on the chin has made him goofy...’”


Monster Mash

October 24, 2020

The Buddhists say all sorrow lies in the past and dwelling there is not the best choice. We have a tendency to glorify such times…


The World of Billy Walker

December 16, 2020

Filmed in gritty black and white, the documentary explores the life and times of the former heavyweight contender known as the “Golden Boy” and “Blond Bomber…”

Leon Spinks 6 copy.jpg

Ten-Count for Leon Spinks

February 7, 2021

Former undisputed heavyweight champion Leon Spinks, the one-time Olympic gold medalist, started Muhammad Ali on his long goodbye on February 15, 1978...

Pete (l.) and Nick Spanakos-photo-Paul B

Diddly boppers Pete and Nick Spanakos

April 2, 2020

“I’m very appreciative that I’m here and my brains are unscrambled enough where I can ask those kinds of questions…”


Stone Cold Sigmund Wortherly

March 25, 2020

While growing up in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem, New York, in the 1940s and 1950s, Sigmund Wortherly had no shortage of positive role models...


Charley Green: The Devil Made Him Do It

March 22, 2020

Although there was overwhelming evidence to suggest otherwise, Charley “Devil” Green always insisted he was not a triple murderer…


Ring of Fire—The Emile Griffith Story.

March 18, 2020

“Ring of Fire” tells the harrowing story of former welterweight, junior middleweight, and middleweight champion Emile Griffith…

Jack-Johnson 3.jpg

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

March 20, 2020

The State sought to destroy Jack Johnson out of fear that some Americans might get the wrong idea…


125 Must-Read Boxing Articles (Part 5)

March 12, 2020

You find this sublime and sordid sport mentioned in politics, philosophy, business, fashion, the arts, religion, and in medicine…


Bump City Blues

February 24, 2020

He first looked old and beaten like a rich man who had just lost his fortune in the stock market and did not know how to get the money back...


Sonny Liston vs. Floyd Patterson 1

February 26, 2020

On September 25, 1962, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois, heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson defended his title against fearsome Sonny Liston...

requiem 4.jpg

Requiem for a Heavyweight

March 9, 2020

Appearances by former world-class pros like Max Baer and Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom add authenticity to the televised proceedings…


Twin Peeks: Reggie and Ronnie Kray

March 9, 2020

They lived a life of fast cars, fast women, hot blood and easy money and left countless busted noses in their wake…


Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo 1

February 21, 2020

Nonstop action and rugged noncompliance with basic survival instincts, it was boxing at its most primordial, the very essence of a sport still full of surprises…


The Meteoric Rise and Fall of "Big" John Tate

February 13, 2020

He wanted the world to know that beneath the great big welcoming Southern smile was a good and decent man who deserved another shot at life…


125 Must-Read Boxing Articles (Part 4)

February 10, 2020

The sweet and sour science is omnipresent—universal—and comes with spiritual overtones; it touches upon science, and it is, arguably, an art form…

Sugar Ray Seales 4.jpg

Sugar Ray Seales: Blind Man's Bluff

February 10, 2020

“Sure, you can love to box but as a professional you need to earn a living wage. No one will take care of you in your old age. I learned that the hard way…”


Joe Louis vs. Jersey Joe Walcott 1

February 3, 2020

The Brown Bomber was approaching the end of his singular career and would retire, albeit briefly, after the rematch with Jersey Joe in June of ‘48...


The Great Rollino, Strongest Man in the World

January 8, 2020

Rollino’s love affair with boxing reached its apex in 1919, when his brother took him to Toledo, Ohio, to see Jack Dempsey knock out the gargantuan Jess Willard…

Benny_Leonard 5 sh.jpg

125 Must-Read Boxing Articles! (Part 2)

January 13, 2020

Boxing is a bloody ballet—a compelling, captivating, and enthralling business. The reporting of this insane sport goes well beyond sport pages and The RING…


Muhammad Ali Goes to Mars

January 15, 2020

During the interview Ali riffed on going to Mars, how boasting got him to his first title, and why he first learned how to box....

Battling Butler.2WEB.jpg

Charlie Chaplin vs. Buster Keaton

January 19, 2020

“The Great Stone Face,” as Buster Keaton was known, created a boxing template from which Charlie Chaplin drew inspiration in “City Lights”...


125 Must-Read Boxing Articles! (Part 3)

January 26, 2020

The tug-of-war moral ambivalence of boxing is one reason why media coverage of boxing goes well beyond sport pages and Ring Magazine…

Tyson 2a.jpg

When Tyson dissed Mayweather

December 19, 2019

"Greatness is not guarding yourself from the people. It's being accepted by the people. He's a little scared man. He's a very small, scared man..."


Quarry Family Values

December 20, 2019

Boxing, it seemed, was the only Quarry family business. The patriarch, Jack, who was 81 when I spoke with him, wouldn’t have had it any other way…


Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries

December 22, 2019

 With 10–7 odds favoring Jeffries, 20,000 fight fans crammed into a specially built arena in downtown Reno to watch history being made...


Long Count Broadcast Surfaces

December 23, 2019

We hear a man describe this historical event as it unfolds in front of him, just a few feet away from the microphone. He has no idea what’s going to happen... 


125 Must-Read Boxing Articles! (Part 1)

January 3, 2020

The ring is a violent place where skin, bone, and brain are damaged. But it is also a place where a boxer discovers, deep down, who he, or she, really is…


Revisiting the Heartbreak of Sonny Liston

November 20, 2019

"Someday they’ll write a blues song just for fighters. It’ll be for slow guitar, soft trumpet, and a bell."—Charles "Sonny" Liston...

Foreman vs Frazier.jpg

George Foreman ranks Deontay Wilder

November 26, 2019

"He’s good, but he hasn’t approached Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson—no, he hasn’t approached that type of recognition yet. No way..."


Jack Dempsey vs. Luis Angel Firpo

December 2, 2019

Jack Dempsey defended his heavyweight title against Luis Angel Firpo on September 14, 1923, at the Polo Grounds in New York City...


Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran 1

December 7, 2019

The difference between the two men, in and out of the ring, couldn't have been more stark, and the result shocked the world...


George Foreman vs. Ron Lyle

December 14, 2019

"The media had said so many bad things about me and I kept trying to defend myself. What better way to defend yourself than to prevail in a fight like that?"

bottom of page