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28 July 2001 Gina Lollobrigida vs Kim Novak

Page history last edited by Archer844 11 years, 6 months ago

 

 

Kim Novak vs. Gina Lollabrigida by simguy  (CA. 1955). Originally posted 7/28/2001.

 

In the mid-1950s, it was unusual for Hollywood's A-list stars to leave Hollywood for a fight, but there were precedents. Ava Gardner toured Europe, establishing national treasure status in Spain for her wonderful exhibitions there. Dorothy Lamour and Jane Russell both fought overseas. So when 22 y/o Kim Novak traveled to Italy to take on 28 y/o Gina Lollabrigida on her home turf, eyebrows were raised but their concerns were immediately dismissed. Novak was the so-called 'mortal lock' over Gina.

A change of scenery would refresh blonde Novak and prep her nicely for the gargantuan showdown with blonde slugger Jayne Mansfield everyone expected. Gina Lollabrigida was just a brief stopover, nothing more.

All that changed during a pre-fight cocktail party hosted by Lollabrigida's handlers. There, in front of both entourages, Gina marched up to Kim Novak as if to introduce herself, grabbed Novak's face in both hands and roughly kissed her on the lips in the classic Sicilian tradition, sending Kim sputtering away in confusion and more than a little intimidated. Gina glared, then wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

The kiss had told Kim, "You aren't in America any more girl."

It also caused more than a few second thoughts among the Colombia Pictures executives in attendance. The next day, at an undisclosed outdoor location, under a sweltering Mediterranean sun, Kim donned a black hipster bikini with white lace trim around the breasts. Gina countered with a peach colored spaghetti strap negligee, short skirted atop the thighs.

 

Round One: The girls came together with hooks, and almost immediately Lollabrigida tasted the heavy handed power of Kim Novak. Gina's knees blew out - the Italian wobbled, steadied, and appeared stunned as Novak hooked her again to the lips, then got her going backward with a chopping right on the face. Lollabrigida hit the ropes and covered up in stupor, a look of frank disbelief on her face as Novak stepped to her and proceeded to hand out a rich lead-pipe beating along the perimeter of the ring. Gina bent forward from torturous body shots - Novak got low, shouldered Lollabrigida back and stayed on her foe with short, clipping blows to waist and head. Bell to bell, Kim Novak had battered Gina L to all four corners, sending the Italian back to her corner all busted up.

 

Round Two: A shell-shocked Gina moved her hands more this round, but once again, an early exchange of hooks went Novak's way as Lollabrigida was still unaccustomed to the blonde's booming power. Gina faltered, looked to clinch, took a crunching uppercut and spilled face first past Kim into the ropes. The Italian delegation was awestruck as Kim climbed aboard their heroine and administered another terrible beating. Lollabrigida stooped forward off the ropes, her thick midriff and stout arms soaking up the worst of the punishment but Gina's chin was getting tagged hard and often as Kim curled tight hooks and withering uppercuts in and around her guard. At the bell, Novak leaned her shoulder into Gina, pressing the star-struck brunette on the ropes - Lollabrigida blinked stupidly, barely aware of her surroundings and just focusing on getting through each minute ahead of her.

 

Round Three: Novak was never a high output puncher and the relatively brisk pace of the first two rounds had taken a toll on her rounded arms. Kim laid in with Gina more this round as the fight took on a slogging, woozy air, both girls wrapping the other up and trying to body her back, punching only in spots. Kim was still the busier, still coming forward, but Gina had survived the blonde's vaunted onslaught and finished this round in better shape than she had the previous two.

 

Round Four: Mouths lolled on shoulders, girls clinched dreamily in the Southern Italian heat. The pace of the fight slowed even further as the girls traded single-shot right hands to the belly out of the lock up. Lollabrigida had taken some of the steam out of Kim's punches, but Novak was still doing most of the damage in these grinding middle rounds. Gina's back spent a lot of time against the ropes - Novak was able to wrestle Gina's defense down and fit her body shots in with numbing effect to ribs and waist. Most significantly, the blonde started to work the heart punch in close - jamming her right hand in hard under the line of Gina's breasts, leaving the brunette open mouthed at the bell.

 

Round Five: Another stumbling, grinding round as the two curvy sluggers were in constant sweaty contact, wrestling each other against the ropes, holding and hitting with cramming little blows inside. Novak consistently outworked and out-hit her dark-haired foe between the infrequent referee's breaks. Gina looked to be extending the fight, trying to tie Kim up and make her work in the heat, expending as little energy as possible while letting Novak make the fight. But Lollabrigida's sturdy body was paying the price as a result - Novak was doing bad things down there with both hands.

 

Round Six: Almost on cue, Gina Lollabrigida slowly turned this bout around. Kim breathed through an open mouth and her eyelids fluttered as she suddenly felt the heat and weight of her opponent after the constant grind of five long rounds. Gina began to put punches together, tying up Kim's right arm to plow home rights to the blonde's belly, then coming upstairs with clouting right hands on the chin out of the clinch. Novak broke down in the round, stumbling forward, right hand trapped, taking punishment, and down the stretch, Lollabrigida jammed her foe into a corner for a sudden burst of abuse. Kim lolled on a turnbuckle, eyes boozy, right hand at her left cheek, left hand across her belly as Lollabrigida RAKED hooks and right hands across the blonde in withering arcs. Wobbly butt, cut in the mouth, Kim finished up the round in a daze as Gina bellowed into her face from an inch away at the bell. The fight, suddenly, was on.

 

Round Seven: Novak plowed forward looking for the safety of a lock-up and Gina met her with a beefy right uppercut to the pit of the belly that seemed to drain Kim of her will to live this round. Gutshot, Kim draped her heavy arms uselessly around Lollabrigida's brawny shoulders and the brunette went to work. Stepping back, Gina let Kim walk into punches, big, lusty lefts and rights underneath; punches that shook the blonde and had her pouting, eyes closed, ready to go. Now it was Kim's turn to show the kind of heart Gina had shown in the early going as Lollabrigida reached under Kim's arms and twisted her to the ropes, bodying her up and diving in with clobbering punches from either hand. Reacting very late to punches, Novak swooned side to side, taking a bruising beating this round, sent back to her corner with a cheeky slap on her butt by the rejuvenated Italian brawler.

 

Round Eight: Kim made a champion's adjustment this round. Hurt, she went to the jab, jamming it out from her shoulder while keeping the right mitt at her mouth, palm out - Lollabrigida couldn't get past the stick for a full minute as Kim recovered a little of what she had lost in the last round. As the round progressed, Novak worked in close behind her left, stepping in and snapping off the hook, always keeping Gina on her heels with effective pressure. The round ended to the sight and sound of Kim palming and punching Gina at the ropes, working the brunette over to the arms and body at the bell.

 

Round Nine: Kim jabbed Gina to the ropes and seemed to have restored order when she stepped into a hook that Lollabrigida had been patiently timing. Gina's counter-hook clipped teeth a split second before Kim's got off and the blonde pitched drowsily to her knees, stumbling face first into the ropes with a hurting swoon on her face. Novak pulled herself upright and laid into the ropes. One of the legendary rounds of the classic era unfolded as Gina Lollabrigida waded on in to finish. Every man and woman in attendance jumped to their feet as blonde and brunette hunkered down, shoulders and fists in tight together, taking turns tuning one another up with vicious digging lefts and rights to the body and head in a nonstop display of savagery. Neither girl moved from their little patch of canvas against the ropes. After one got off, she would crowd in behind her guard, allowing the other to blister ribs to either side, or chin via the tight uppercut inside. Back and forth, the girls tore at each other with short, compact punches - the action continuing on after the bell until the referee intervened. Both women came away wrecked by this heartstopping action and slumped onto their stools in wide-eyed delirium.

 

Round Ten: After the ninth round, the tenth was anticlimactic. Neither girl had much pop left in her gloves or strength in her legs. They fell in together and struggled mid-ring just to walk the other girl back. Kim worked effectively out of the wrap, reaching her left arm under Gina's right, holding the brunette's body and cramming tired right hands home to the gut or mouth as Lollabrigida soaked it up with sullen resignation. At the bell, the exhausted warriors were pushed apart, both reeling, both savagely beaten to within a whisper of surrender.

The decision came back fairly rendered: UD10 Kim Novak.

 

Novak's KO streak had ended, broken by a tough, no-frills Italian banger who had given almost as good as she got over ten bruising rounds of attrition. The tactic of extending the bout had been a good one for Gina, but by giving away the first five rounds, she had given away the fight.

Still, the black and white photographs of Novak on her knees, staring through the ropes as Gina stood behind her, made for scandal back in LA. The story circulated that Gina had not only knocked Kim down, but had beaten her behind over the distance. Novak's handlers were hard pressed to get the true story of this bout out over the groundswell of rumor and innuendo that circulated for years after - and indeed, still circulate to this day.

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