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.
NZ tumbled out of the 4th Rugby World Cup at the semi-final stage; ahead 24-10 at one stage,
the AB's then leaked 33 unanswered points to lose 43-31.
Cardiff and Wales
21 internationals for Wales 1978–85
1 international for British Isles 1980
A stylish and efficient Welsh flyhalf and an excellent tactical kicker, Davies played his first game for his country while on tour with Wales in Australia in 1978. That game and his next two, another against Australia and one against New Zealand, were all losses.
Davies overrode those disappointments to become a vital part of Wales’s effort over the next four seasons. He formed a strong halfback combination with Terry Holmes, the two playing together in tests 17 times. He went on to captain Wales in the 1981–82 season, when it scored two wins and three losses. Davies was also a Lion in South Africa in 1980.
A graduate of Oxford University, he was manager of a building society for a while before becoming the head of sports broadcasts for the BBC in Wales. He also became a powerful figure in Cardiff and Welsh rugby administration and in university academia.
Which international rugby player who went to two Rugby World Cups also won two Olympic Games Gold Medals and 2 World Championship bronze medals in a chosen 'other' sport?