Convicted Artist Magazine

Apr 25th
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boxing-injuriesInjury is a part of any althetes life.  Even the legendary ironmen like Cal Ripken and Lou Gehrig, who never missed a game, often talk about the pain they had to endure to maintain their perfect attendance.  Given what we are learning about the effects of exersion too soon after a concussion, Gehrig's work ethic likely cost him his life.  We know more these days.  More about how to reduce the chance of injury, as well as treat injuries, and repair broken bodies.  There are still those career-threatening injuries that happen, however, and one is never the same.  Bo Jackson and Fernando Vargas are two examples of athletes who were diminished by injuries while still young.  However, here are a few men who made it back from injuries that could have ended promising careers.

Vitali Klitschko
Not only are Vitali's only two losses due to injury (Shoulder - Chris Byrd / cut eye - Lennox Lewis), but he also lost 4 years of activity due to excessive injuries.  His knee, his back, his shoulder, his skin.  All were going out just as a product of age and genetics, or so we thought.  Being a 6'8" 250lb man could not have helped.  However, what did help, was truly impressive.  Although he lost even more prime years than Muhammad Ali, the elder Klitschko was not in fact shot, and came back to reclaim his old belt, and defend it several times since, scarcely losing a round.  The 40 year old Ukranian is likely nearing the end, but the fact that he sustained so many injuries in 2004 that he turned his back altogether, only to come back 4 years later, and dominate for 4 more years, is something to remember for the next generations.

Kassim Ouma
On the list of things that have been overcome by "The Dream", this one is usually lost in the shuffle.  Kidnapped by the Ugandan Rebel Army as a 7 year old boy, Ouma spent his childhood committing atrocities against opposition, under threat of death to himself or family.  When he found his saving grace in boxing, and defected to the U.S., the trouble did not end.  His father was murdered as retaliation, and his rise up the ranks was hiccupped by a loss, and a shooting.  He was shot twice while working in a restaurant in Florida, in December 2002, while climbing up the ranks as a boxer.  Very little information was given about the shooting, other than he was quickly recovering, and that it was ironic that he had made it so many years in an army without being shot, only to have it happen here.  The whole thing seems fishy if you ask me, but regardless, overcoming a shooting, with only an 8-month layoff to recover, is quite impressive.  He returned to winning ways, and captured a world title belt.  While nothing can compare to the mental anguish Ouma endured throughout his life, this physical challenge is rarely mentioned, and bears repeating.

Willie Pep
Like Ouma, Pep's plane crash in 1947 put not only his career on the line, but his life as well.  To come back from a plane crash, especially in the days before advanced medical techniques, is truly quite remarkable.  Prior to the crash, and during his prime, Pep was untouchable.  A light-hitting defensive wizard, who ofetn went round after round without getting touched... Pep was a long time and two time Featherweight champion in the 1940's.  In fact, it took a plane crash, plus wear and tear from the ring, plus age, plus meeting a fellow hall of famer with advatntages in nearly every category in Sandy Saddler, for pep to be toppled.  And get this, Pep even beat Saddler once, with all that against him.

Chris Strait

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