Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
28 January 2015
This story might even read like a corny sports joke - but I saw it in a pile of my notes not so long ago - its a boxing story from a long time back - and is worth retelling here I think.
You might recall a very tough American boxing heavyweight called Chuck Wepner from back in the 1970s. He was a brawling, big hitting white guy who came from the wrong side of the tracks (After him it was said the 'Rocky' character was written by Sylvester Stallone)
Wepner won the right for a world Heavyweight title fight against the great Muhammad Ali and after a month's excellent training he became very confident he could beat Ali.
It got to the point where the day before the fight (in Cleveland, Ohio in 1975) Wepner went to the city's best lingerie store and bought his wife a beautiful blue negligee. He took it back to his wife and gave it to her with the words 'When I get back to the hotel after the fight you'll need this. That's because you'll want to look good as you'll be sleeping with the heavyweight boxing champion of the world!'
In the fight the next night Wepner did put up a great showing. He even knocked Ali down in the ninth round (The story goes he went back to his manager at the end of the round and said, 'Al, start the car. We're going to the bank, we're gonna be millionaires after this!')
But Ali regained his composure and over the next few rounds he beat the courageous challenger to the point where the referee stopped the contest with 19 seconds left to go in the 15th round. Wepner by then looked a mess; his face was badly puffed and cut and he had a broken, bleeding nose.
When he got back to the hotel it was his wife who had the last word. There she was wearing in the blue negligee and looking an absolute picture.
It was she and not brave Chuck who then uttered the classic post-fight line, the one which has gone into boxing legend; 'Chuck baby,' she said, in her New York accent, 'What happens now? How does it work? Do I go to his room or does he come to mine?
True story! I've seen Wepner tell it on TV.
The All Blacks beat USA by 51-3 at Berkeley, California. The result plus big defeats by Australia in 1914 helped USA concentrate on their own football!
GEFFIN, AARON (‘OKEY’)
Transvaal and South Africa
7 internationals for South Africa 1949–51
A prop who made the headlines in 1949 when his prodigious goal-kicking for the Springboks helped them to beat the touring All Blacks 4–0 in the test series.
In the first test New Zealand led South Africa by 11 to 3 at one stage. Goal-kicking duties had been allotted to the Griquas fullback, Jack van der Schyff, for the match, but after he missed two shots Geffin picked up the ball and, uninvited, took the next penalty.
Geffin put over five penalty attempts, virtually beating New Zealand, 15–11, on his own. It was a record number of penalties for any player in a test match up to that time. He did the same in the third test, scoring all of South Africa’s points in its 9–3 win, and in the other two tests he kicked three further goals.
Hailed as a hero that year, Geffin made the Springbok team for the 1951–52 tour of Britain where he also scored impressively with seven conversions –a test record – against Scotland. South Africa won 44–0.
By then Geffin was 31 years old and he eventually lost his place in the Springboks’ scrum. But he will always be remembered as a match-winner by fans of the Springboks – and by disappointed New Zealanders!
His nickname of Okey came from his habit of responding ‘Okay’ when called to take a shot at goal.
Who were the players who first took successfully kicked test match penalties past the 6,7,8, and 9 World Record Marks?