February 27, 2014

Then again, Secretary Kerry, maybe this is "Rocky IV"

From The Independent:
Ukraine crisis: Kerry warns Putin 'This is not Rocky IV'
This picture of Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who towered over George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential debates, meeting a month ago with three leaders of the former Ukrainian opposition (From left: heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko, Petro Poroshenko, John Kerry, and Victoria Nuland's favorite Arseniy Yatsenyuk), reminds me of just how many Eastern European politicians are Ivan Drago-sized.
For example, here's a picture of Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, who came in third in the 2012 Russian presidential election with 8% of the vote. He's now owner of the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA. The only one of his three players in this picture who is taller than the boss is Kevin Garnett, who is a seven-footer.

The Russians don't lack enormous boxer-politicians either. From today's NYT:
Three high-profile members of Russia’s lower house of Parliament arrived in Crimea on Thursday, visiting the city that is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. “I arrived in Sevastopol to support residents of Crimea,” Nikolai Valuev, a former boxing champion who was elected to the Parliament in 2011, wrote on Twitter. “Friends, Russia is with you.”... 
Mr. Valuev, an unmistakable presence at 7 feet 1 inch tall, described the visit as a fact-finding mission “to personally interact with the residents to know the situation from the inside.” 
Like many officials in Russia, he said the crisis in Ukraine, or at least the foreign news media reporting on it, was clouded by Western propaganda. “There is an information war,” he wrote on Twitter.

Valuev is quite the debonair-looking fellow. Polish sculptor Stanislaw Szukalski (1893-1987) would have felt vindicated.

I was hoping to find a picture of Parliamentarian Valuev with President Putin. But, perhaps not surprisingly, Putin doesn't seem to have been enthusiastic about arranging that photo-op.

Here's a photo of Putin with Leonardo DiCaprio (5'11.5"). (And here's a link to a photo of DiCaprio sitting on Szukalski's lap, but that's getting completely offtrack.)

The Klitschko-Valuev dispute isn't just geopolitical, it's personal. From Bleacher Report in 2010:
Vitali Klitschko Calls Russian Giant Nikolai Valuev a "Chicken" 
By Colin Linneweber , Senior Writer Mar 11, 2010

WBC world heavyweight champion Vitali “Dr. Iron Fist” Klitschko called former two-time WBA heavyweight titlist Nikolai Valuev a “chicken” this week for rejecting a $2.5 million contract offer to fight this spring.

Instead of scrapping the enormous Russian Valuev (50-2-0-1, 34 KOs), Klitschko (39-2, 37 KOs) will defend his crown versus Polish pugilist Albert Sosnowski (45-2-1, 27 KOs) on May 29 in Germany.

“I don’t want to speak bad about him, but I gave Valuev the biggest financial proposal of his career,” said Klitschko, 38, a Ukrainian who has the highest knockout percentage (94.9 percent) of any heavyweight champion ever. 
“He [Valuev] told me ‘No, four.’ There are two reasons why he’s done this. Firstly, he wanted to say no anyway. Four million is unrealistic for someone who has just lost their title. The second point is that he understands if the loses to me straight after losing his title, that’s it for him. Valuev is a chicken.”

Russian immigrant Alex Yuzhakov stated that he agrees with Klitschko that Valuev is indeed a coward.

“Klitschko is right, Valuev is a chicken,” said Yuzhakov, 28, who was born in Moscow and currently resides in Somerville. “For a Russian man to turn down $2.5 million a lot of fear must have been involved. Maybe he’s waiting for a more opportune time to fight Klitschko. No matter, he will never beat the true ex-Soviet beast.”

P.S., a commenter has found a photo with Putin and Valuev in the same frame:
 

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

Trivia: German metal band Rammstein made a pretty good song, "Sonne", about Klitschko. Be careful about watching the video at work, though.

Dave Pinsen said...

One of Valuev's losses was to a 5'11" Tatar.

Vitaliy Klitschko is an underrated fighter. He may not be as polished as his younger brother Wladimir, but the weaker-chinned Wladimir has had a couple of bad losses. Vitaliy was leading on the cards in both of his losses via TKO, one due to a torn rotator cuff, and the other due to a hideous eye cut in his fight against Lennox Lewis. Lewis wisely retired after that fight, so he wouldn't have to fight Vitaliy again.

Anonymous said...

"I was hoping to find a picture of Parliamentarian Valuev with President Putin"

Best I could find

ironrailsironweights said...

Valuev had already retired from boxing when Klitschko made the offer. A couple years earlier Valuev had fought 46-year-old Evander Holyfield in Switzerland, in a fight that all observers said that Holyfield won. The ringside judges disagreed, however, and gave a narrow victory to Valuev. Their decision prompted booing from the normally reserved Swiss crowd.

Vakuev seemed to lose interest in boxing after that unfair decision. He probably would've been better off had be lost. He fought just once more, losing by decision to David Haye of Britain (a former underwear model), and then retired.

Peter

Anonymous said...

I look at Klitschko and Valuev and then I look at the "Weeper of the House" Boehner and I realise the United States has jumped the shark.

Anonymous said...

Russia is still dominated by manly men the USA not so much.

Jon said...

I think there's some forced perspective in that second photo. Klitschko is three inches taller than 6'4 Kerry, not a head taller.

Anonymous said...

RE:Nikolai Valuev, did an image search on this fellow, and discovered a veritable armada of images involving Valuev and Neanderthal....

Power Child said...

Rammstein's "Sonne" wasn't written about Klitschko, it was written for him, to be played as he entered the ring. Klitschko never ended up using it, I don't think.

So, the boxing references in the lyrics are generic (and actually kind of beautiful, even in the English translation: the sun shines out of my hands / can burn, can blind you / when she breaks out of my fists /ice lay down on your face / lays painful on your chest / the balance comes to loss).

The music video is pretty cool, but it's a grown-up spin off of Snow White--it doesn't reference boxing at all.

BTW, Till Lindeman, lead singer of Rammstein, is a pretty big guy too (former Olympian swimmer), though he's only at John Kerry's height.

Anonymous said...

RE:Nikolai Valuev,

If the ever do the life story of Rondo Hatton, Valuev is the guy. At the very least, they would save on makeup.

Steve Sailer said...

"Klitschko is three inches taller than 6'4 Kerry"

Look how the non-Klitschko Ukrainian politicians are almost as tall as Kerry.

Anonymous said...

Vitaliy Klitschko is an underrated fighter. He may not be as polished as his younger brother Wladimir, but the weaker-chinned Wladimir has had a couple of bad losses.

I had no idea there were brothers until now. I had always assumed the boxer Klitschko was just one guy.

Bert said...

Armed gunmen have just taken over an airport in Crimea.

Looks like the peninsula will be returning to Mother Russia soon.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"I look at Klitschko and Valuev and then I look at the "Weeper of the House" Boehner and I realise the United States has jumped the shark."

Odd, I thinking the exact opposite. Valuev is practically a living caricature of the Russian thugocracy.

Anonymous said...

"Why has Russia sent a spy ship to Cuba? Mystery surrounds vessel that arrived in Havana with no explanation as US warns Moscow over war games in Ukraine"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2568959/Blast-past-Mystery-surrounds-Russian-spy-ship-docked-Havana-no-explanation-US-warns-Moscow-war-games-Ukraine.html

Anonymous said...

Hey, Steve, do you have any figures on average height in Ukraine and Russia?

Anonymous said...

Looking at Valuev, I can see why they went with a Swedish actor in ROCKY IV.

Steve Sailer said...

I don't know what the average is. I've been to Moscow but don't have any recollection of the average height being much different from where I grew up, but that's not short. Other observers, such as PJ O'Rourke, have come away with the view that Russians are big. On the other hand, the stars of the Russian Olympic team that beat the American team in 1988 were Lithuanians. So, my guess would be that Russians are pretty big, but not as big as, say, Lithuanians or Croatians.

I was more struck by how many different looks there are that were recognizably Russian. The panhandler at the subway was a dead ringer for Brezhnev, while a rockabilly singer in a bar might have been Putin's son.

Anonymous said...

@Dave Pinsen: It has been a long time since I watched the Klitschko-Lewis fight, but wasn't the cut so bad he couldn't really see out of that eye?

Reg Cæsar said...

Hey, a second opportunity to cite Thomas Sowell today: he liked to remind his (fairly smart) readership that their intelligence would not have paid them the same dividends in another time and place. E.g., in the Middle Ages a big, strong body would have been of more use, say, in a career protecting a noble.

Not all Slavs are that medievally minded, though. Farther west they've put pianists and playwrights into office.

Anonymous said...

Valuyev retired because he had joint problems(shocking for a 7-1 giant, I know!)

I think Russians are somewhat shorter than Scandinavians or even American whites. Lithuanians and Estonians are notoriously tall. I'd guess 5-9 for average Russian male height. I don't know how the Soviet diet affects this--food was relatively abundant in the Baltic republics, but you couldn't get butter in other parts of the Soviet Union for years.

Anonymous said...

For some reason, it strikes me as truly odd that we don't have figures on mean Russian height. Go to the WIKIPEDIA article on HUMAN HEIGHT, and you can get stats on Lithuania. Why not Russia? Are they hiding something? Is it just holdover secretiveness from the Soviet era?

Anonymous said...

Mexican corruption, all thanks to immigration.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/27/residents-explode-on-school-board-superintendent-during-emergency-meeting-this-is-crazy/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=ShareButtons

Mr. Anon said...

That guy looks kinda like a gorilla who's been taught to shave.

Alexandros HoMegas said...

Valuev comfirm the theory of the "Neanderthal admixture" hypothesis.

AP said...

MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko is also a Russian politician.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fedor_Emelianenko

He’s only a deputy in a regional duma, but there's a funny song (in Russian) about Emelianenko as president raising Russia’s prestige by tossing Sarkozy out the window, crippling Merkel’s husband, and other such feats.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4kCUeGx1Ho

heartiste said...

Valuev looks like he has a touch of the acromegaly. He also looks like his skull isn't spacious enough for a prefrontal cortex.

Anonymous said...

...you couldn't get butter in other parts of the Soviet Union for years..

That's Western Cold War propaganda. I grew up in the Soviet Union. Butter was always available.

Anonymous said...

Kinda OT:

Everybody talks about Dmitry Yarosh, the guy from the Right Sector propaganda video, but the more interesting Right Sector fellow is Aleksandr Muzhycho, aka Sashko Bilyi, an Afghan War veteran who hates Russians so much he went to Chechnya to kill some (which he did with distinction--was a member of Dzokhar Dudayev's personal unit).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8JC-ZjqFb4

Here he is dealing with the local prosecutor.

Interestingly, he doesn't seem to really speak Ukrainian in any of the videos I've seen him in--just a very vulgar and rustic Russian.

His most famous quote is "As long as I live, I will never stop fighting communists, kikes, and Muscovites."

fish said...

Russia is still dominated by manly men the USA not so much.

President Delicate Wrists want a word with you in the alley behind the bar!

Anonymous said...

"That's Western Cold War propaganda. I grew up in the Soviet Union. Butter was always available."

So did I, and there was definitely butter where I was. But I also know people from other parts of the country would visit and be shocked there was butter in stores.

Dave Pinsen said...

Here is a pic from the fight. In addition to the cut on his eyelid, there's a deep gash in the eyebrow. Ringside docs typically stop fights when a fighter suffers one of those, because the bleeding can block the fighter's vision.

Anonymous said...

That's Western Cold War propaganda. I grew up in the Soviet Union. Butter was always available.

Butter from whose milk?

Dave Pinsen said...

Lungren was plausibly cast. There are of course Russians with Viking ancestry.

Anonymous said...

Everybody talks about Dmitry Yarosh, the guy from the Right Sector propaganda video, but the more interesting Right Sector fellow is Aleksandr Muzhycho, aka Sashko Bilyi, an Afghan War veteran who hates Russians so much he went to Chechnya to kill some (which he did with distinction--was a member of Dzokhar Dudayev's personal unit).

He didn't just fight the Russians during the Chechen Wars. He also tortured and beheaded captured Russian soldiers during the war.

Anonymous said...

"Interestingly, he doesn't seem to really speak Ukrainian in any of the videos I've seen him in--just a very vulgar and rustic Russian."

He used some Ukrainian expressions in that prosecutor's office. Plus I had trouble understanding much of his tirade. So I assumed it was very Ukrainian. On reflection though, I wouldn't be able to tell native-level Ukrainian from a Russian speaker's poor attempts to imitate it. MY attempts to imitate Ukrainian would definitely be less believable than what's on that tape.

The Wikipedia says that Muzychko was born in Russia, but surnames ending in -chko are typically Ukrainian.

He mentioned Makhno at the end there, but that video would have made me think of the Russian Civil War even if he didn't. Colorful bandits like Muzychko played a large role during that period.

Dave Pinsen said...

BTW, a connection between the Klitschkos and World War G I just remembered: years ago the brothers were (presumably) tricked into posing pretty much naked together. I think once they connected the dots they pulled the pics down from their joint website, but maybe they're still floating out there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Living proof that Neanderthal genes have been transmitted to modern man!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"So did I, and there was definitely butter where I was. But I also know people from other parts of the country would visit and be shocked there was butter in stores."

The impression that I have from talking to older Russians is that there was a good deal of divergence in the Soviet Union in terms of the availability of goods. Places like Moscow were pretty well stocked, while more provincial areas were considerably less privileged.

Indeed, that dichotomy was one of the reasons why Soviet era visitors to the USA were more impressed by the visible abundance in hinterland cities like, say, Omaha or Billings, than they were by New York or L.A. They expected New York, like Moscow, to be well taken care of. But it was always shocking for them to see how well-off a third tier city in the USA was, relative to comparable cities in the Soviet Union.

Anonymous said...

David Pinsen:"Lungren was plausibly cast. There are of course Russians with Viking ancestry."

I don't know. Lungren is really Swedish looking. I find it hard to imagine anyone mistaking him for a Russian.

sunbeam said...

I don't get a lot of things about genetics honestly.

Specifically why are Estonians and Latvians taller than Russians who live and have lived for a long time not too terribly far away.

Wouldn't they have similar physical characteristics, in this case height if both populations are adapted to similar environments?

Then there are all the tall people from the mountainous Balkans. Yet there is a thing called the "Alpine" body type, where people who possess this are typically shorter than than other populations that don't live in a mountainous environment.

My impression is that both the Swiss and most of the inhabitants of the Balkans have lived in these places for a good while, easily over 2000 years.

So why the difference in height? Shouldn't they converge on something like this?

Pochinko said...

Valuev needs to have that pituitary adenoma removed like the great Khali. He's already gotten the benefits of extra height growing up, it'll be downhill now if the excess Growth Hormone keep coming.

Anonymous said...

Who's the six foot eight blonde woman next to Mighty Joe Young?

Anonymous said...

"Valuev is quite the debonair-looking fellow. Polish sculptor Stanislaw Szukalski (1893-1987) would have felt vindicated."

http://youtu.be/o4x-VW_rCSE?t=15s

Bert said...

"Places like Moscow were pretty well stocked, while more provincial areas were considerably less privileged."

You could say the same thing about most countries outside the West. In most places the capital, which is usually also the largest city, is the only place the government really cares about. The hinterlands get neglected, which in turn fuels migration into the capital renewing their labor force every generation.

Kestas said...

Steve Sailer said…
"I don't know what the average is. I've been to Moscow but don't have any recollection of the average height being much different from where I grew up, but that's not short. Other observers, such as PJ O'Rourke, have come away with the view that Russians are big. On the other hand, the stars of the Russian Olympic team that beat the American team in 1988 were Lithuanians. So, my guess would be that Russians are pretty big, but not as big as, say, Lithuanians or Croatians."

True on both counts, but that wasn't why the Lithuanians were the starts of the Soviet team. All of them, except Sabonis (who's 7-3, 7-4) were guards in the 6-3 to 6-6 range. They were just better players than the Slavs. The Soviet team in the 1980s had plenty of Slavic bigs - centers Tkachenko (7-3, and 300 lbs), Goborov (7-1),Ukrainian Belostenyi (7-1), forwards Ukrainian Volkov (6-10), Tikhonenko (6-10) and many others. Of course, when you sample from 200 million people (Russia, Ukraine, Kazachstan etc.) vs. 3 mil in Lithuania, and make them offers they can't refuse, you can find plenty of big dudes.

There was even one who was close to 8 feet tall (Sizonenko), but he could hardly walk. Played in the premier Soviet league for a bit, but was not nearly good enough for Team USSR.
The difference between Sabonis and the Slav bigs was that in addition to being 7-3, he had all the basketball skills and court vision, and was athletic before his multiple Achilles ruptures.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said …
The impression that I have from talking to older Russians is that there was a good deal of divergence in the Soviet Union in terms of the availability of goods. Places like Moscow were pretty well stocked, while more provincial areas were considerably less privileged.

"Indeed, that dichotomy was one of the reasons why Soviet era visitors to the USA were more impressed by the visible abundance in hinterland cities like, say, Omaha or Billings, than they were by New York or L.A. They expected New York, like Moscow, to be well taken care of. But it was always shocking for them to see how well-off a third tier city in the USA was, relative to comparable cities in the Soviet Union."

It did differ a lot indeed. The Baltics and the Caucasus were much better off, being more diligent and business-oriented. But in general, while food variety wasn't great, most people ate a fairly healthy, "real food" diet, not laden with junk food (which, of course, wasn't available). Lots of home-grown fruit and veggies for those in the countryside or who had dachas, real bread, cheese, milk, kefir, some crappy sausage in the stores, but people could buy unintentionally organic meat in the bazaars. Not to say it was great, but the basic staples were availabel. In an unintentional way, it made for an fairly healthy, "whole food" diet.

TheLRC said...

Kestas, I recall fondly the few twilight years Sabonis played in the NBA -- he was singular. He could shoot, pass, control the game flow -- and he was almost as big as Shaq. Only Bill Walton, I think, has had anything like that combination of size and all-around skills. It's such a pity that Sabonis's best years were wasted in the USSR, and of course that neither his nor Walton's feet/lower legs could stand up to the long-term pounding.

jody said...

valuev definitely avoided both klitschkos. they tried to get a match with him many times while he was active. to get him in the ring it would have taken like 10 million dollars. that's not worth it for vitali.

this is one of the main problems with boxing. guys avoiding each other. the only way you can get some of these boxers to sign on for a match they are likely to lose is to way overpay them. wlad even had trouble getting povetkin in the ring. after povetkin backed out a few times, some russian promoter had to offer him 6 million dollars to make the match happen.

david haye was the worst of all. wlad had to offer him 23 million dollars to get him to not back out.

jody said...

sabonis might have been one of the top 10 players of all time if he had played in the NBA from day 1. certainly in the top 20.

sonne is a good song. speaking german (or i used to, anyway) though, rammstein lyrics are ridiculously stupid half the time. the first time i listened to sehnsucht i laughed out loud at how inane some of the lyrics were. their shows were awesome though, and more than made up for it.

Anonymous said...

I live in Estonia, and yes Estonians are VERY tall. Two of my colleagues are around 6'5'' and none of them is shorter than 5'11''. I am 5'5'' and I really feel like a hobbit among trolls. It does not impair for getting girls though.

Anonymous said...

Although I'm not a medical man, I'm pretty sure that Valuev is a so-called 'pituitary giant' - in plain terms this means he has an over-active pituitary gland, (located in the base of the brain), perhaps 'disturbed' by a benign tumor, which is excreting an excess of human growth hormone.
I believe the correct term is acromegaly - after the the puberty growth spurt, human growth hormone promotes excess growth of bone on the extremeties eg huge hands and feet and facial bones - the odd shape of Valuev's haed, the massive brow ridges etc seem to indicate this. I'd like to see pictures of Valuev's immediate family and compare them to Valuev. The uneducated gut response to a picture of Valuev is to shout 'evolutionary throwback!' 'Neanderthal DNA!' and the rest, but the effects of acromegaly ie the massive thickening of brow bones, mimic these classic 'primitive' indices of the human skull.
To repeat, I'm no medic, but I'd put money on Valuev being an acromegalic, no I wouldn't put money on his boxing, he was a lousey fighter.

John Craig said...

Why people vote fighters into office:

http://justnotsaid.blogspot.com/2013/12/president-klitschko.html

roundeye said...

Also greco-roman wrestling god Aleksander Karelin is/was a mp.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 6:56 PM said: Valuev is practically a living caricature of the Russian thugocracy.

Hunsdon said: Why am I reminded of a post by our host involving the British aristocracy, and the punch line, "With a battle axe"?

Anonymous said...

I don't know. Lungren is really Swedish looking. I find it hard to imagine anyone mistaking him for a Russian.

The FSB trooper in the middle of this photo looks rather like the older Dolph:

http://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/day_photos004-1024x693368.jpg

I've also noted a certain resemblance between Sergei Rachmaninoff and Swedish/Irish-American actor James Coburn (totally different phenotype from Lundgren, of course).

Anthony said...

Does Kerry even remember that in Rocky IV, the Russian lost to the American?

Simon in London said...

I watched Haye v Valuev on TV (Nuremberg, 2009). Haye, the black British challenger, is more of a cruiserweight and was awarded a points victory which I didn't think he deserved - it seemed like a draw at best - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/boxing/8348349.stm

Simon in London said...

Bert said...
"You could say the same thing about most countries outside the West. In most places the capital, which is usually also the largest city, is the only place the government really cares about. The hinterlands get neglected, which in turn fuels migration into the capital renewing their labor force every generation."

Works like that in England, too! :p
There are some wealth transfers to high-asabiya northern England and Wales, and lots to Scotland and Northern Ireland, but places which lack any asabiya like Coventry and Birmingham in the Midlands get screwed over massively.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, Sabonis, despite all his injuries, played into his late thirties at a high level. Came back to Lithuania at 38 and was Euroleague regular season and playoff MVP.

Anonymous said...

@sunbeam

"Specifically why are Estonians and Latvians taller than Russians..
Then there are all the tall people from the mountainous Balkans."

Those two regions - Baltics and Dinaric Alps - have the most indigenous European hunter-gatherer ancestry.

Reg Cæsar said...

"Valuev" sounds like the airline that became AirTran went into the business of low-cost plug-in automobiles. Is Tata listening?

Reminds me of Ireland's national airline's plan to connect Shannon Airport to the other island via a train tube to Wales. It would have been called Tunnel Lingus.

Anonymous said...

Rocky?

This is straight up Mad Max beyond Thunderdome!

It's hard to look at Pajamaboy & Valuev and still think they're the same species, or race for that matter lol.

Walter Kennedy said...

The basketball owner is listed at 6'8". There is no way Garnett is 4 inches taller. All NBA player (except Charles Barkley) are listed 2 inches taller than they are.

Anonymous said...

"That guy looks kinda like a gorilla who's been taught to shave." Yeah, but he keeps forgetting to do his shoulders.

Anonymous said...

"MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko is also a Russian politician."

Is the Russian Parliament turning into Valhalla, the resting place of warriors?

http://youtu.be/tL1acYvpR_E?t=2m48s

neil craig said...

Klitschko, the Ukrainian boxer, is clearly a front man (Nuland's telephone call ordering the Ukrainian opposition about shows that). If you are going to have a front man he might as well be physically impressive.

Putin may not be tall but his popularity is certainly enhanced by his judo and shooting tigers.

Elsewhere size matters. The US presidential election is usually won by the taller man. Would Arnie have become Governor of California if he had been 5'2"?

And to prove this is appreciated worldwide look at the famous picture MacArthur had taken of him standing beside Hirohito.

Even God is feels the same - when the Israelites asked God to give them a king he (well Elija) said "see that group coming down the road - the tall guy there (Saul) will do".

Anonymous said...

Fedor Emilianenko is also a member of United Russia and active in politics.
A bit off topic, but Mirco "Cro Cop" Filipović was a member of Croatian Parliament and, when talking about big guys, so was Franjo Arapović.

Anonymous said...

While in Serbia Vanja Udovičić became Minister of Youth and Sports in 2013.