The Trash-Talking Boxer Who Backflipped to Victory

Ass-kicking Athletes of Antiquity: William (Bendigo) Thompson
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"Bendigo," sounds like a Canadian porn star name.

“Bendigo,” sounds like a Canadian porn star name.

960250_703321939687678_299353118_n Karl Smallwood
Karl Smallwood is the head writer, researcher and all round gopher of...
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The art of showboating is lost on today’s athletes. Sure they have all their fancy shoes and training but when’s the last time you heard about an athletes insulting their opponent’s mother, by rap, in the middle of a competition? Well we’re here to tell you William (Bendigo) Thompson did that back in 1840 in the middle of bare knuckle boxing matches. Right before he found God and started punching people for him instead.

First things first though: we’re going to address the elephant in the room and explain how Bendigo earned his nickname, because the longer we go without addressing it, the longer you have to come up with weird sex reasons he earned it. Bendigo is a combination of his middle name Abednego and “Bendy,” a nickname given to Thompson early in his career because of his constant bobbing and weaving.

Though a short man for a boxer of the time (standing around 5’10”) Bendigo was well-known for his movement, absolute lack of fear and his punishing left hand. To give you an idea of the power Bendigo packed, he once threw a brick 70 yards for a bet, clear over a river, just to show that he could. However, what really drew in the crowds was Bendigo’s sense of humor. During fights Bendigo would taunt his opponents mercilessly with jokes about their mothers, their wives and rhymes about how much they sucked in between delivering left-handed haymakers to their gut.

In other words, Bendigo was coming up with “yo’ momma” jokes a century before they were relevant and he came up with them on the fly while being punched in the face. Bendigo was also known for his fits of constant, maniacal laughter during fights that made him sound like a cross between The Joker and Bryan Fury from Tekken. But that wasn’t the only thing Bendigo had up his sleeve.

When laughter and taunts didn’t rile up his opponents enough or impress the crowd, Bendigo would resort to straight up backflipping around the ring, in the middle of fights! For example in the middle of a fight with one, William Looney, Bendigo started somersaulting around the 20th round after being knocked to his ass by a haymaker. If the image of a man laughing hysterically while somersaulting in reaction to being knocked out isn’t impressive enough, we should point out this fight lasted 92 rounds. Bendigo literally didn’t give a shit about being punched as long as the crowd were entertained. It’s probably for this reason that Bendigo’s fights, even the ones being held in fields in the middle of nowhere, would often draw in crowds in excess of 10,000.

Even butterflies don't float like Bendigo.

Even butterflies don’t float like Bendigo.

However, it was somersaulting that eventually put Bendigo out of action, when an overenthusiastic attempt at a backflip resulted in him hurting his knee, he was forced to retire for two years. After which he punched exactly one more person before retiring forever (Basically, that fight was his Rocky Balboa) Which is where Bendigo’s story gets even cooler!

After retiring for good Bendigo was arrested almost 30 times for drunken fights right up until he “saw the light” and became a devout evangelist preacher under the guidance of one Reverend Weaver. To keep Bendigo from straying from his strict path of being a holy badass, Weaver would follow Bendigo everywhere he went and would silently stare at him through the windows as he gave sermons, serving as a constant reminder that God was always watching and always judging, always. Oh and if you’re wondering how a guy who’d spent almost his entire adult life making kidneys an endangered species gave sermons, Bendigo’s favourite method was to flex, point to his boxing trophies and scream “I fight for Christ!

As proof of how dedicated  Bendigo was to both punching and God, here’s a scene during a particularly rowdy sermon that had been crashed by boxing fans. After being heckled one too many times, Bendigo said a brief prayer before leaping over his pulpit and beating up the entire front row. Because it may have been God’s house, but it was Bendigo’s sermon.

Bendigo spent the remainder of his life preaching before he fell down a flight of stairs and died, presumably because he tried to backflip down them. Hey, old habits die hard.


Dude, you've got a gorgeous girl on your arm -- show no fear.

Dude, you’ve got a gorgeous girl on your arm — show no fear.

Karl Smallwood is a freelance comedy writer that you can hire! His work has been featured on Cracked.com, Toptenz.net and Gunaxin.com you should probably click those links to make sure he isn’t lying. He also runs his own website where he responds to the various pieces of hate-mail he’s gotten over the years, in fact, he got so much hate-mail that he wrote a book about it that you can buy on Amazon. When he isn’t writing, Karl also Tweets and uploads pictures of himself drinking on Facebook.

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Karl also documented The Most Hilarious Overreactions to Scary Movies. For a more political motivated ass-kicking athlete, check out Karl’s article on how Abe Lincoln wrestled his way into the history books.

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