John Gibson: Caught in the draught with Earnie

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A NIGHT to remember. How could I forget it? Earnie Shavers, outpointed over 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali, took a swing at me. I ducked instinctively but the draught floored me and when I woke up in the Infirmary Earnie had sent me a wreath.

We met in Edinburgh at a fundraiser for Parkinson’s in the Grosvenor Hotel (this is a punchy excerpt from the Gibcress File, an occasional series).

Alabama-born Earnie, a gentle man as I discovered, told me then that he’d been born again, in 1986. ‘‘I’m now a knockout evangelist for the Lord.”

What made this hallelujah evening even more memorable was that I was sat between Shavers and former world flyweight champ, Motherwell-based Walter McGowan.

They just don’t breed boxers – men as a species – like 
them any more. Still got the wreath.

Life’s a beach

You mean to tell me they don’t like our beaches? What’s wrong with them? Evidently foreigners are not at all for bucket-and-spading on Britain’s beaches. Our seaside resorts have no attraction for visitors from abroad. So says VisitBritain’s boss.

They just don’t know what they’re missing. Lacking in their lives, the unrivalled delights of Portobello sands. A postcard from Porty must be one of life’s pleasures.

Afterwords . .

. . .How do you stop a French army on horseback? Turn off the carousel.

It’s a joke, it’s a joke! I love the French, I really do. I eat French fries every other day.