I'm not sure why Van Gogh appears in 2 quotes about boxing, but it gave me the excuse to finally use this title :-)
On the one hand, boxing writer Pat Putnam said -"Most fight fans would not spend a dime to watch Van Gogh paint
Sunflowers, but they would fill Yankee Stadium to see him cut his ear
And I'm sure he's right.
Blood and guts keeps a audience entertained, and generally a betting crowd is far less interested in subtle technical skills or the fine art of defensive positioning than in watching one fighter knock another down.
Then Ben Dirs writing for BBC sports ( http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/snooker/25816658 ) said:
"But even in the brutal world of boxing, there are some who are
able to look both sweet and scientific. The beauty of Floyd Mayweather
is that he manages to make the almost impossible - hitting without being
hit - look simple. But perhaps boxing's greatest beauty was
Mayweather's fellow American Pernell Whitaker, who won world titles at
four different weights in the 1980s and 90s.
"Whitaker's moves," wrote boxing historian Bert Sugar,
"were pure poetry in motion. Or, more correctly, pure poetry in many
motions. Whitaker did for boxing what Edgar Degas did for ballerinas and
Vincent van Gogh for sunflowers." In truth, what Whitaker did defied
description. Get on YouTube and see for yourself.
Whitaker was able to appear weightless in the most
oppressive situations. He made fellow legends - Oscar de la Hoya and
Julio Cesar Chavez among them - look like they were plodding after him
in diver's boots."
And what do Mayweather and Sweetpea Whitaker have in common?
Great Defensive skills.
I quote Sonny often when I discuss martial arts, particularly when he pointed out that "To hit is easy. To get hit is even easier ... but to NOT get hit ...? That's where the art is."