Happy Monday dudes and dudettes! It’s Dave here, trying to squeeze in one more post before I start my second year of grad school on Tuesday. It’s gonna be a fun time – we’ll start out studying oncology (cancer stuff), then onto epidemiology and biostatistics, and then into arthritis, rheumatology (joints), and dermatology! Woohoo!
But more important than any of those things, or even Step 1 (everyone’s favorite 7-hour long licensing exam, which I’ll be taking in May)…. is funny names!
There, I said it! Funny names above all else!
This summer I had a chance to watch a lovely movie about… you guessed it… boxing! The movie is called Cinderella Man, a 2005 film directed by Ron Howard, and starring Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, and Paul Giamatti. It chronicles the story of James J Braddock, a world title contender who also was forced to go on government assistance to support his family during the Great Depression.
It’s a lovely film. In my opinion, it should have won the Oscar for Best Picture. Then again, if I had my way, movies like Rocky, Million Dollar Baby, and On The Waterfront would have all won Best Picture.
Oh wait – they did!
But Raging Bull didn’t, which is a gosh-darned crime!
In any case, we’re here to talk about a fantastically-named fella named Corn Griffin.
He was born John Charles Griffin in Blountstown, Florida, and turned pro in 1929 ( not a great year for job prospects).
Young Corn had an incredible string of wins in Georgia to start off his career. His first opponents were (in order): Grumpy Gordy, Ox Marquette, Pep Causey, Kenneth Osteen, Gunboat Farley, Bobcat Morris, Layon McDuff, Grumpy Gordy (again), Shootie Copeland, and Autyro Staines.
Griffin beat them all, before losing 2 of his next 6 fights to Glenn Chancey and Bob Tow. Undaunted, he kept winning, and the highlight of his career was in 1934 when he brought his 44-10 record to Madison Square Garden to fight for a world title against ghd 41-23 record of heavyweight champ James J Braddock. Both guys went down in the second round, and Braddock won by TKO in the 3rd.
Griffin fought for another 2 years, although never again for a world title. But he fought guys with names like Barney Brock, Adolph Wiater, Yale Okun, Gordon Fortenberry, Natie Brown, and my new favorite boxing name ever…
Griffin beat Battling Bozo by a 10 round points decision in Asheville, North Carolina.
During his career, Griffin also served as sparring partner for former world champ, “The Ambling Alp” Primo Carnera, and after hanging up his gloves, Corn Griffin went on to lead one of the more fascinating post-boxing lives of anyone I’ve encountered in the archives.
He served in the US Army in World War 2, and then became a police officer in Columbus, Georgia for 20 years. Griffin was a badass about that too – the Panama City News-Herald says Corn didn’t carry the typical policeman’s club “since his old one-two sledgehammer-like fists are as good as ever, but may not be as fast.”
That’s one officer I wouldn’t mess with. (He said, as though he’d ever mess with any police officers 🙂 )
Griffin died in 1973 at age 61, and left behind a meaningful and fascinating story, that included his portrayal in Cinderella Man by Art Binkowski, an actual Polish boxer who was an Olympic quarterfinalist who “Went All Hollywood” for his role in Cinderella Man.
Amazing movie, superb names, seriously shoulda won Best Picture! Enjoy your Mondays, folks!