Many a tall man has a weak middle.
Note: In English one might say, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Ironically, this English aphorism was made popular in the 1900s by a Celtic fighter named Robert Fitzsimmons, born May 26, 1863 in the town of Helston in Cornwall. Fitzsimmons was a middleweight with a height of 5 feet, 11 3/4 inches. He weighed between 150 and 175 in his fighting days. Fitzsimmons took the heavyweight crown from a larger Gentlemen Jim Corbett, with a height of 6 feet and 1 1/2 inches. Corbett boxed at a weight between 173 and 190 pounds.
However, Fitzsimmons later discovered , “The bigger they are, the harder they hit.” Fitzsimmons lost the crown to an even larger James J. Jeffries. He knocked Fitzsimmons out in the eighth round. Jeffries was a tall man, 6 foot, 2 1/2 inches. His weight varied from between 206 to 280 pounds during his career. Jeffries won 18 fights to only one loss, to Jack Johnson, the first African American Heavyweight Champion. Jeffries won fifteen of his eighteen fights by knockouts.
This week’s Irish proverb is a little more practical then Fitzsimmons aphorism. It points out that the powerful can be defeated, not that they will. But, there is a chance. An té nach bhfuil láidir ní folair dó a bheith glic. For a Celtic warrior facing a taller opponent, it even suggests where to attack. Fitzsimmons defeated Corbett by creating the solar plexus punch. In other words, Fitzsimmons knocked out the taller Corbett by hitting him in his weak middle. However, in the case of an opponent like Jeffries, perhaps Fitzsimmons should have heeded another Irish proverb. Is fearr rith maith ná droch-sheasamh.