Before he left South Korea to challenge Ray Mancini for the world lightweight title, Duk-Koo Kim promised his pregnant fiance that one of them would die in the fight. He punctuated that prediction with two additional symbols of his intent — a coffin he kept next to the ring during training camp, and a lampshade he brought with him to Las Vegas embossed with an ominous message written in Korean.
What happened in the ring at Caesars Palace 37 years ago changed the lives of both fighters, Kim’s mother, and referee Richard Green.
The story of the infamous and tragic Kim-Mancini fight is one of multiple stories told by Dr. Jonathan Gelber in a sensational new sports book, entitled “Tiger Woods’ Back and Tommy John’s Elbow: Injuries and Tragedies that Transformed Careers, Sports, and Society.”
Dr. Gelber, a sports medicine doctor and orthopedic surgeon, joins us this week for an in-depth preview of his book, which also delves into Lyle Alzado’s belief that steroid use caused his malignant brain tumor, the deaths of college basketball superstars Len Bias and Hank Gathers, the fatal crashes of auto racing legends Ayrton Senna and Dale Earnhardt Sr., the NFL’s obsession with protecting its star quarterbacks, how Tiger Woods’ “perfect” swing destroyed his spine and diminished his career, the elbow surgery that saved Tommy John and countless baseball players who followed, and much more.
Our conversation with Dr. Gelber is preceded by our weekly report from British correspondent Paul McLaughlin, who brings us an inside peek at last Saturday’s spectacular showdown between 140-pound unbeaten champs Josh Taylor and Regis Progais at England’s 02 Arena.
And we open with insight from expert analysts Rizwaan Zahid and John J. Raspanti, who offer their own perspective on Taylor-Prograis, Shakur Stevenson’s dominating performance on Showtime, Tyson Fury’s suggestion that he’ll retire after three more fights, the reasoning behind the WBC’s absurd “Franchise Champion” label, and Errol Spence’s decision to face Danny Garcia in his first fight since surviving that horrific 100-mph Ferrari crash in Dallas.
Needless to say, this week’s podcast has wall-to-wall appeal.
Dennis Taylor is host of The Ringside Boxing Show, editor/publisher of www.ringsideboxingshow.com, and co-author (with John J. Raspanti) of “Intimate Warfare: The True Story of the Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward Boxing Trilogy,” an Amazon bestseller.