Boxing clever?

Boxing clever?
Nov 1, 2019 (WiC 472)

Many of the world’s best boxers have taunted their opponents – such as the time Muhammad Ali brought along a mop and bucket and declared George Chuvalo to be “nothing but a washerwoman”. But even seasoned boxing reporters were taken aback by a video of Jack Ma trying to goad boxing legend Floyd Mayweather to fight him. Ma is seen punching a pair of pads held up by Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao before declareing his wish to take on the American champ (fought 50, won 50). “I am ready. Any time, any place,” the recently retired Alibaba boss vows.

Ma has some form in the fighting domain. A tai chi practitioner, he released a short movie two years ago in which he took on martial arts opponents including superstars Jet Li and Donny Yen. But in this more recent video, the taunting may be more about Pacquiao and his desire for a rematch with Mayweather – to whom he lost in a massively-hyped fight in 2015.

There has been speculation that the two could meet in a rematch and in the video – titled “Message to Mayweather” and posted on Twitter – the 40 year-old boxer declares: “Floyd Mayweather, if you want a real fight, fight me. If you want an exhibition, my guy, my friend Jack Ma will take care of you.”

A fight like this would be one of the rare occasions when Mayweather isn’t the wealthiest of the two contenders. But when asked what he thought about Ma’s challenge, he replied: “Who? I don’t even know who he is.”

A different kind of record

A different kind of record
Oct 25, 2019 (WiC 471)

Among the stranger of the Guinness World Records is the most toothpicks stuck into a beard (3,500) and the highest jump on a pogo stick (just over 11 feet).

But now add to this unusual bunch the world’s highest-altitude pop concert. On October 12 Hong Kong singer Karen Mok took her tour to Lhasa in Tibet, where she played to an audience of 12,000. The local authorities were so excited by her arrival that they called the Guiness World Record bosses, who flew in an adjudicator from Beijing to supervise proceedings. After belting out her repertoire in the thin air at 3,646 metres above sea level, Mok took the record for performing the “concert at the highest altitude”.

According to Hong Kong Tatler, the singer-songwriter was “in tears” after getting her Guiness World Record certificate.

“Today is the day when dreams come true,” said the world’s newest record holder, who has been in the entertainment industry for 25 years.“I seldom cry on the stage, but today is really an extraordinary experience. I have always dreamed of having a concert here. Thank you all for accompanying me to complete this challenge.”

Is it genius or ‘bananas’?

Is it genius or ‘bananas’?
Oct 18, 2019 (WiC 470)

It was only a month ago that a life drawing class in southwest China stirred huge attention on social media due to the use of nude models.

But now a nude painting by a self-exiled Chinese artist named Sanyu in the 1960s has taken over the headlines in the Chinese art world, after news that it was sold in Hong Kong for HK$198 million ($25.24 million) – topping the price paid for Pablo Picasso’s 1932 work Nude, Green Leaves and Bust in 2010.

Titled Nu, or “female”, the work features a nude woman on an unadorned background, with her legs folded in an L-shape. The brushstroke is bold, while the heavy use of black outline is reminiscent of Henri Matisse’s style, or the type of Chinese calligraphy Sanyu learned in his youth (he died in 1966).

Netizens struggled to fathom the price that had been paid for such an abstraction – “bananas” was a popular comment on social media. However, Sotheby’s – which auctioned it – described its importance as a symbolic liberation of the gendered body from romanticism and eroticism. The fact that the painting is one of the final masterpieces of a rare member of the Paris School from the 1920s, and the cover image of the invitation to Sanyu’s final solo exhibition in 1965, also enhanced its value, the auction house reckoned.