On July the 2nd, any gentleman with a lust for blood will have his thirst quenched in the event we’ve all been waiting for (“we all” being me and Steve from work). No, I’m not talking about another shitty Eclipse film. It’s the most anticipated boxing match of the summer. David Haye versus one of the Klitschko brothers. I’m 50% sure it’s Wladimir. This is particularly exciting because we haven’t seen a decent Haye fight since 2009 when he combed the WBA heavyweight title out of Nikolai Valuev’s back hair. Of course, I’m not even going to count that miserable “fight” back in November when he knocked over poor old Audley Harrison who wobbled about like a stick of steamed asparagus. I’m still in talks with Sky Box Office about getting my money back on that one. My anticipation for this one is high. But let’s be honest, heavyweight boxing has somewhat lost its shine. The word “classic” seems to have hung up its gloves years ago. From my baseless evidence, it may have something to do with diet.
I’m convinced that somewhere out there right now, Haye and Klitschko are sucking back raw eggs and devouring whole cows while they carry logs in the snow and smash their fists into dead animal carcasses. You could read acres of pages on the Internet about the perfect boxer diet and how to tone those flabby punching bags around your tummy. But perhaps we, and boxers everywhere, should really be looking at how those “classic” fighters trained their taste buds.
For example - Max Baer, the butcher of Livermore, who literally killed guys in the ring, often didn’t bother with training at all. He preferred nights on cocktails than days in the ring. Ricky Hatton, bless him, always prepared for battle with a power-punching fry up at his local greasy spoon. And who can forget George Foreman with his fat busting grills and love of hamburgers? So could an alternative diet be the key to creating a memorable champion?
Perhaps the best example is the boxer who most famously fought on an empty stomach. In terms of impact, James Braddock may not be up there with Frazier, Louis or Ali, but the 2005 film Cinderella man, starring Russell Crowe, made sure that we never forget his incredible journey.
We’ve all experienced a recession. We’ve all had to live off beans on toast while we wait for our next pay-day. But that is probably more like a day at Thorpe Park in comparison to the poverty of the great depression. As the film shows, James Braddock made a remarkable career comeback in the 1930’s with nothing in his pockets and even less in his stomach. So it’s only natural that once the money problems cleared, Braddock went on to open up his very own restaurant, serving every sort of food he probably ever dreamt of during those cold and hungry days. For a short time, “Braddock’s Corner” in Manhattan served a delectable menu of food including Broiled Maine Lobster, Charcoal Hamburgers, Rice Pudding, French Ice-Cream and Old Fashioned Sliced Beefsteak on Toast with English Beef Sauce.
So in preparation for July the 2nd, I suggest instead of boring old “raw eggs and chicken”, we follow the example set by a true classic fighter. From the actual menu - here is my suggested way to make “Braddock’s Sirloin Steak” with a side of “Broccoli Hollandaise”.
For a good sirloin steak:
Take your steak out of the fridge 20 minutes before you want to cook it.
Drizzle it on both sides with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Don’t pour oil in the pan unless you want to fill the kitchen with smoke.
If you cook it in a heavy bottomed pan, the steak will get much better heat off it.
Turn it every couple of minutes for about 8 minutes for a medium sirloin steak.
Press it down with your tongs to give it good contact and lift it onto the side to get the fat nice and crispy
Let it rest on a plate and give it a good drizzle of olive oil.
For the Broccoli Hollandaise:
Melt 250g of unsalted butter in a pan and remove from the heat
Then put 3 egg yolks, lemon juice and pinch of cayenne in a bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Whisk it together then slowly drip in the melted butter and keep whisking until it’s all thick and glossy.
Stir in two teaspoons of wholegrain mustard, chopped chives and seasoning.
Then drizzle it all over a plate of steamed or grilled purple sprouting broccoli.
In closing, I would also like to settle a personal bout between my fellow kiwis and our closest neighbours. Is Russell Crowe from Australia or New Zealand? Perhaps we can just agree on a sort of split decision? New Zealand will take him in “Gladiator”, “LA Confidential” and “A Beautiful Mind”. When it comes to “A Good Year” and “throwing phones at people”… he’s yours.