|Bela Szilagyi/Credit: You Tube|
What a great story in the Mar. 22 edition of the New York Times about classical pianist Bela Szilagyi. (The Times has a paywall but click here.) Turns out Szilagyi was not only a boxing enthusiast – you can find some interesting stories about him on You Tube – but he was a massive archivist for the sport too. His collection became so well known boxing fans, fighters and managers all borrowed tapes to watch them.
Szilagyi, who died in 2012 at the age of 78, video taped 55,000 boxing matches, starting in 1979. The collection of 8,000 VHS cassettes is housed in his New York City apartment, with his widow Elizabeth the keeper of the flame.
The Times story notes that Bela continued her husband’s tradition, recording one on DVD during a recent Sunday night, when the Times interviewed her. But keeping the flame has become too much and has become an “albatross.” At age 76, herself a pianist and teacher, Elizabeth wants to unload the collection, which lines apartment walls and collects dust.
Szilagyi’s collection comes with the recordings and index cards for each tape and DVD noting details of each bout. She tells the Times, however, that it is time to move on. Elizabeth Szilagyi says the video library is up for sale but that she won’t give the tapes away and won’t toss them either.
It is not only a great read, but a reminder that boxing – once one of the USA’s most popular sports – still has an ardent following.