Miles Davis / The Boxer


[Part 3 in a series of posts featuring articles, photographs and opinions about the relationship between the sport of boxing and the life and music of Miles Davis]

The latest installment and excerpt is from Scoop Malinowski. The writer decided to research Miles Davis and what he said about ‘the art of pugilism’ in John Szwed’s enjoyable biography – “So What: The Life of Miles Davis.”

“Bill Cayton, fight manager and president of Big Fights Inc. was directing a documentary about Jack Johnson (“Breaking Barriers”) and asked Miles Davis to do the music for it. Davis went to work on it enthusastically, reading everything he could about Johnson and boxing history, watching films of classic matches and sleeping with a photo of Johnson near his bed.

He would discuss boxing with an intensity you couldn’t imagine, said Cayton. He’d come to our office and ask for a bunch of films. He’d put the spool on the projector, then sit there and watch for hours. Every once in a while he’d come running up to me and say, Bill why did this happen? How come Joe Louis got hit with that shot?”

Miles in Boxing Ring 1971 © Jim Marshall


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