Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Before "The Money Fight" (Mayweather Jr. Vs. McGregor)

Many people both inside and out of the fight business didn't believe that the upcoming professional boxing match between Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. and "The Notorious" Conor McGregor will ever happen, myself included. Before "The Money Fight" goes down on August 26th, I think it's important to provide an overview of the two competitors and highlight their accomplishments inside the fight game.

History of Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a professional boxer and promoter who's currently has a perfect boxing record of 49-0. Many sports outlets consider him as both the pound for pound greatest boxers of all time and the greatest defensive boxer of all time.
Before his professional boxing career, Mayweather Jr. had over ninety amateur boxing bouts and compiled an impressive record of 84-8. During his amateur run, he also won three national Golden Gloves championships in 1993, 1994, and again in 1996. Mayweather Jr. comes from a family of professional boxers including former champions as well. Combined his uncles and father, Roger, Jeff and Floyd Mayweather Sr. have a total of 119 wins, competed in 8 different weight divisions, and held multiple titles.

Mayweather Jr. developed defense boxing techniques that he learned from Roger and Mayweather Sr. and received the nickname "Pretty Boy" from his teammates because of his ability to received less damage (scars and bruises) from his opponents. Mayweather Jr. competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where he won a bronze medal. He made his professional boxing debut on Oct 11, 1996, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and defeated Mexican boxer, Roberto Apodaca by way of TKO in the 2nd round of a 4-round bout. Since then, Mayweather Jr. became a five-division world champion, won fifteen world titles, and has victories over top boxing stars such as Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Canelo Alvarez, and Manny Pacquiao among others.

History of Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor is an Irish professional mixed martial artist who's signed to the UFC and will make professional boxer debut on August 26th against Floyd Mayweather Jr. After his short amateur career, McGregor made his professional MMA in Dublin, Ireland on March 9, 2008, in a lightweight contest between Gary Morris. He successfully defeated Morris via TKO in the second round. Before entering the UFC, McGregor gathered 12 victories all by finishes (eleven via KO/TKO and one via submission).

On an eight fight winning streak, Conor McGregor made his UFC debut on April 6, 2013, against Marcus Brimage where he won by way of knockout in the first round. Since then he has defeated top fighters on the UFC roster such as Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier, Chad Mendes, Nate Diaz, and his most impressive victory was over Jose Aldo where he stopped him in only 13 seconds. He continued to make history on November 12, 2016, after defeating then UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 and becoming the first UFC fighter to hold titles in two divisions simultaneously. Additionally, in his nine years professional MMA run, McGregor has already headlined in four out of the six highest selling UFC pay-per-view events.

The Money Fight

On August 26th, all of the trash talking will come to an end. The best in boxing and the best in MMA will finally face off. The build up gathered a lot of attention, and it will be interesting to see what happens when these two meet in the boxing ring.

Fight On!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Boxer at Rest (Hellenistic Greek sculpture)

       The Boxer at Rest is a Hellenistic Greek bronze sculpture of a seated nude boxer wearing only his cestus, an ancient battle glove. It was excavated in Rome in 1885 on the south slope of the Quirinal Hill at the same site as the Baths of Constantine. This surviving statue is considered as a prime example of magnificent bronze sculptures from the ancient world. Sitting on a rock is a battered, exhausted, bloody individual looking upwards. Now, it is displayed in the National Roman Museum.

       Impressively, the statue uses a significant amount of inlaid copper, mainly for his wounds and the drips of blood spotted on different parts of his body. “Extensive cold-working of the statue, especially the hair, was part of the finishing process. The stone base is modern but is probably a close approximation of the ancient base. Originally, the use of stone would have added to the realistic effect so powerfully rendered in the bronze.” (The Boxer, N.D.)

      There are multiple wounds on his body which indicate that he survived an intense battle. Blood is dripping from his cuts onto his forehead, cauliflower ears, cheeks, arms, and thighs. Both of his eyes are swollen and bruised, and he suffered a nose broken as well. Scars on his lips are visible. Despite the physical damage, based on this battered boxer’s body language, he seems tense and ready to challenge another opponent. 

       Ancient Greek boxing also is known as Ancient Olympic boxing was a revered sport. In 688 B.C it was introduced into The Olympic Games. It became a significant competition at major panhellenic games and religious festivals where athletic events were held. Rules for boxing in ancient Greece are different from today. Then, a boxer had to fight one combatant after another without breaks. Additionally, boxers could only deliver punches exclusively to the face and head.

Rosenberg, Karen. “‘The Boxer.’” The New York Times, The New York Times, 4 July 2013.

Rosenblatt, Josh. “You Should Fly to Los Angeles to See This Ancient Statue of a Boxer. Seriously.”

“The Boxer.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I.e. The Met Museum


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sandro Botticelli (Italian painter)

Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, well known as Sandro Botticelli was an Italian painter and draughtsman of the early Renaissance. During his youth, his father was a tanner, and because of his deep passion for painting, he introduced him to Filippo Lippi, an admired Florentine painter who later became Botticelli’s mentor (Lightbown, 2014). During Botticelli’s lifetime, humanist admired him for contributing in the decoration of the Sistine Chapel in Rome which led to wealthy families of Florence supporting his work. “The theological themes of the [Sistine Chapel’s] frescoes were chosen to illustrate papal supremacy over the church; Botticelli’s are remarkable for their brilliant fusion of sequences of symbolic episodes into unitary compositions.” (Lightbown, 2014). 

Other than Botticelli’s Primavera painting, also known as Allegory of Spring of the Primavera, one of his other most notable work is the Birth of Venus. This famous painting was created between 1484–1486 and is considered the most important work of the Renaissance (Puchko, N.D.). In the 1480s, artists and intellectuals offer gathered together in Florence in effort challenge the past by creating new ways of thinking with approaching the world (Wilde, 2013). Lorenzo de Medici, also known as Lorenzo the Great was an Italian statesman and was the most powerful patrons of the Renaissance era. Lorenzo organized humanists, philosophers, and artists to form groups of intellects interested in literature. Together under the influence Lorenzo and other leaders, they interpreted works and generated ideas that soon inspired works of art and literature (Birth of Venus, N.D.).

Botticelli created this piece of work for the House of Medici, an Italian banking family. It is important to take note that this is a tempera painting on canvas. “During this time, wood panels were popular surfaces for painting, and they would remain popular through the end of the sixteenth century. Canvas, however, was starting to gain acceptance by painters. It worked well in humid regions, such as Venice, because wooden panels tended to warp in such climates.” (Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, N.D.). Canvas at the time was more affordable than wood, and it was more suitable for paintings to be displayed at non-official sites like Countryside villas (Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, N.D.).

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is considered the first large-scale canvas created in Renaissance Florence. This fresco painting today remains solid and flexible with a few cracks. Also, Botticelli utilized techniques uncommon at the time. He developed tempera pigments and added a layer of pure egg white which was uncommon among painters at the time. “Venus is illustrated as a beautiful and chaste goddess and symbol of the coming spring. Her depiction as a nude is significant in itself, given that during this time in Renaissance history almost all artwork was of a Christian theme, and nude women were hardly ever portrayed.” (Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, N.D.). The pose of Botticelli's Venus is similar to Venus de Medici, a life-size marble sculpture portrays the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite which is a classical gem of the Medici collection.

House of Medici of Florence commissioned Botticelli to paint the Birth of Venus. Through commerce and banking, the Medici family, also known as the House of Medici, successfully become powerful family in Florence in the 13th century. In the early 1430s, the family’s support of artwork and literature created Florence helped them rise to power during the start of the Renaissance era (The Medici Family, 2009). This family was also well respected because they developed four popes: Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV and Leon XI. 

The theme of this painting was set up by Lorenzo de Medici inspired by the writings of the Greek poet, Homer. “This filtered through to [Sandro Botticelli] and he scrupulously followed the text in order to design the artwork.” (Birth of Venus, N.D.). According to ancient literature, after Venus was born, she rode on a seashell to an island called Cythera. The painting displays Venus in the center emerging from the sea as a grown woman. On the left of this painting, it shows Zephyrus carrying Chloris, a mythological spirit, while guides Venus by blowing the wind behind her (Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, N.D.). Venus's hair is long and golden which gently flows down her left shoulder. 

A lot of movement and various shapes are shown in many aspects of Botticelli's Birth of Venus. In the background, the leaves of the orange trees, Venus’ long golden hair, the roses floating behind her, and the waves in the sea are moved by the breeze. “The proportions show their greatest exaggeration, yet the long neck and torrent of hair help to create the mystifying figure.” (Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, N.D.). Most of the figures in this painting display gentle facial expressions as well.
In Roman mythology, Venus is the goddess that embodies beauty, victory, love, sex, and fertility. Also, Venus is the Roman counterpart to the Greek goddess Aphrodite. “According to Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite was born of the foam from the sea after Saturn castrated his father Uranus and his blood fell to the sea. This latter explanation appears to be more a popular theory due to the countless artworks depicting Venus rising from the sea in a clam.” (Garcia, 2013). Venus is offer connect with growing fields and gardens. Along with The Birth of Venus painting, the goddess Venus represented in important art pieces including Venus de Milo, ancient Greek statue.
Today Botticelli’s Birth of Venus painting is displayed at the Uffizi Gallery, the world's top art museums located in Florence, Italy. The Uffizi Gallery has historical work from notable Italian artists: Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci among others. It is the largest collection of great work between the 12th and 17th centuries. 
Bayne, Jen. "Artwork Of The Week: Sandro Botticelli's 'Birth Of Venus'." The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 14 May 2012. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.

"Birth of Venus." Artble. N.p., 20 Jan. 2016. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
"Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli at Uffizi Gallery in Florence." Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli at Uffizi Gallery in Florence. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
"Botticelli's Birth of Venus." ItalianRenaissance.org. N.p., 06 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
Jones, Jonathan. "Botticelli's Birth of Venus Breathes New Life into an Ancient Religion." Jonathan Jones on Art. Guardian News and Media, 28 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
Lightbown, Ronald W. "Sandro Botticelli." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 30 Sept. 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
"The Medici Family." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
Robert, Wilde European History. "Renaissance Humanism." About.com Education. N.p., 08 Oct. 2013. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
"Venus." Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2017.