The Life And Times Of Joe Grim

In days of yore, over a hundred years ago, a man of immense bravery and fortitude plied his trade. His name was Saverio Giannone and he was a boxer, he went by the name of Joe Grim.

On paper his record wasn't very good, to say the least, in fact he is believed to have lost all 63 of the bouts he contested. He fought the best fighters of his time, Joe Walcott, Jack Johnson and Battling Levinsky in an era when fights were often over 20 rounds long and there were virtually no safety precautions, but no one ever knocked him out.

He used to draw large crowds to his bouts as the people flocked to see his remarkable ability of getting punched in the face very hard for upwards of an hour without losing consciousness. He took terrible beatings from the greatest fighters of his generation yet always ended his fights by walking to the ropes and shouting to the crowd, "I am Joe Grim! Nobody can knock me out!"

He once underwent a medical examination, doctors opined that he had a thicker than average skull.

His face showed the effects, though; his nose was broken so many times it was no more than a lump of tissue, his ears were cauliflower ruins. What effect it had on his mental condition seemed not to concern the people of the times. They paid to see Grim take a beating and refuse to stay down and nobody expected him to win. Grim didn't disappoint on either score.

Eventually, when past his prime, Grim was finally knocked out, he retired shortly afterwards.

Joe Grim died, forgotten about and in poverty, in 1939. He is known to have spent some time in a mental institution before he passed away.

Sometimes, on a bad day, the author of these words feels like he too is paid just to take as much punishment as humanly possible. In this instance the torment is mental and not physical, your scribe comes home feeling like a verbal punchbag on a fairly regular basis.

The author of these words raises a glass to Joe Grim tonight - and hopes that he doesn't follow him in to obscurity and a mental institution.

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