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R.I.P. Muhammad Ali

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R.I.P. Muhammad Ali Empty R.I.P. Muhammad Ali

Post by Atila Sat 04 Jun 2016, 6:08 am

Muhammad Ali, simply 'The Greatest', dead at 74
https://www.yahoo.com/sports/news/muhammad-ali--simply--the-greatest---dead-at-74-042902069.html

Muhammad Ali, the eloquent, colorful, controversial and brilliant three-time heavyweight boxing champion who was known as much for his social conscience and staunch opposition to the Vietnam War as for his dazzling boxing skills, died Friday.
He was 74.

Once the most outrageous trash talker in sports, he was largely muted for the last quarter century of his life, quieted by a battle with Parkinson's Disease.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Ky., Ali learned to box after his bicycle was stolen when he was 12 years old. When young Clay vowed to "whoop the behind" of the thief, a local police officer encouraged him to learn to box to channel his energy.

He would go on to become known as "The Greatest," and at his peak in the 1970s was among the most recognizable faces on Earth.

He was known for his tendency to recite poems while making predictions about his fights – "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can't hit what the eyes can't see." – as well as for giving opponents often unflattering nicknames. He referred to Sonny Liston as "the big ugly bear," George Chuvalo as "The Washerwoman," Floyd Patterson as "The Rabbit" and Earnie Shavers as "The Acorn."

But his most controversial, and some would say cruel, nicknames were reserved for his fiercest rival, Joe Frazier. He first dubbed Frazier "Uncle Tom" and then later called him "The Gorilla."

When Ali prepared to meet Frazier for a third time in Manila, Philippines, on Oct. 1, 1975, he frequently carried a toy rubber gorilla with him. At one news conference, he pulled the gorilla out of his pocket and began punching it as he said, "It's going to be a killa and a thrilla and a chilla when I get the gorilla in Manila."


Frazier, though, took it personally and harbored a decades-long grudge.

"It sure did bother him," Gene Kilroy, Ali's friend for more than 50 years, told Yahoo Sports.

Kilroy said Ali was simply promoting the fights and meant no harm, and said Ali regretted the impact his words had upon Frazier.

"I used to tell Ali, 'Someday, me, you and Joe are going to be three old men sitting in the park laughing about all that [expletive],' " Kilroy recalled. "And Ali said, 'That would be great!' I talked to Joe and Joe said, 'No, [expletive] him. I don't want to be with him.' But he loosened up later and they mended fences.

Not long before Frazier's death in 2011, he attended an autograph signing and memorabilia show in Las Vegas. Frazier grabbed a copy of an old Sports Illustrated magazine that had a photo of the two fighters and promoter Don King on the cover.

"Man," he said, sounding wistful, "we gave the people some memories, me and Ali."

Ali was at the peak of his professional powers after knocking out Zora Folley in New York on March 22, 1967. He battered Folley throughout and stopped him in the seventh.

After the bout, Folley shared his thoughts with Sports Illustrated.

"The right hands Ali hit me with just had no business landing – but they did. They came from nowhere," Folley said. "… He's smart. The trickiest fighter I've seen. He's had 29 fights and acts like he's had a hundred. He could write the book on boxing, and anyone that fights him should be made to read it first."

But Ali's boxing career came to a screeching halt after that fight. He'd refused induction into the U.S. Army because he stated he was a conscientious objector.

Ali had converted to Islam in 1964 after the first of his two wins over Liston, and changed his name from Cassius Clay. He said Islam was a religion of peace and that he had no desire to engage in combat with those who'd done him or his family no harm.

This all went down at the height of the civil rights movement.

"Shoot them for what?" Ali asked in an interview after he refused induction. "They never called me person of African descent. They never lynched me. They never put dogs on me. They didn't rob me of my nationality, r*** and kill my mother and father. What do I want to shoot them for, for what? Why do I want to go shoot them, poor little people and babies and children and women? How can I shoot them? Just take me to jail."

He went on trial in Houston on June 20, 1967. The jury deliberated for only 21 minutes before finding him guilty. He was fined $10,000, faced five years in jail and had his passport taken.

He was stripped of the crown and deprived from making a living, but he wasn't silenced. Ali would go on a lecture circuit, speaking at colleges for as little as $1,500 and as much as $10,000.

He desperately needed the money because he wasn't making a lot after being stripped and he was paying an expensive team of attorneys.

Always conscious of his image, Ali joked in one interview that he couldn't allow people to see his car.

"I didn't want people to see the world heavyweight champion driving a Volkswagen, while all them guys were driving their Cadillacs," he said.

At first, there was a lot of tension in the crowds, as opposition to the war had only just started. Gradually, though, Ali swung the crowds to his point of view as the country's opinion of the situation in Vietnam turned dramatically.

Ali said that on one series of lectures he was set to make $1,500 a speech for talking to students at Canisius, Farleigh Dickinson and C.W. Post. He opened his wife's piggy bank and found, he said, $135, which he needed to buy gas and food for his trip.

Kilroy said that whenever Ali was paid, the first thing he did was find a Western Union.

"Whenever he'd get paid, he'd go send some money to his mother and father so they were OK and then he sent what was left to his wife and kids," Kilroy said.

Despite his financial difficulties, Ali never lost the courage of his convictions. At one of his speeches, he insisted he had no regrets.

While many tried to convince him of the errors of his ways, he remained steadfast and resolute. He told the crowd that sticking for his beliefs led him to come out on top.

"There have been many questions put to me about why I refused to be inducted into the United States Army," Ali said in the speech to students. "Especially, as some have pointed out, as many have pointed out, when not taking the step I will lose so much. I would like to say to the press and those people who think I lost so much by not taking the step, I would like to say I didn't lose a thing up until this very moment. One thing, I have gained a lot. Number one, I have gained a peace of mind. I have gained a peace of heart. I now know I am content with almighty God himself, whose name is Allah. I have also gained the respect of everyone who is here today.

"I have not only gained the respect of everyone who is here today, but worldwide. I have gained respect [from] people all over the world. By taking the step, I would have satisfied a few people who are pushing the war. Even if the wealth of America was given to me for taking the step, the friendship of all of the people who support the war, this would still be nothing [that would] content [me] internally."

The Supreme Court would reverse Ali's conviction in 1971 by an 8-0 vote. But by then, Ali was already back in the ring.

He actually returned from exile in 1970. Georgia didn't have an athletic commission and so he wasn't banned there. He faced Jerry Quarry on Oct. 26 in Atlanta, a fight Ali won via a third-round stoppage.

After one more fight, a knockout of Oscar Bonavena in the 15th round, Ali was ready to face the undefeated Frazier.

According to boxing promoter Bob Arum, the fight nearly took place in Las Vegas, with then-Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt endorsing the fight.

"The bad luck was [when arranging the fight] we stayed at the Desert Inn," Arum told Yahoo Sports.

The Desert Inn was owned by Moe Dalitz, a one-time bootlegger and racketeer who was the most powerful figure in Las Vegas. He was also a reputed mobster.

Dalitz didn't care for Ali because he didn't serve in the war.

He saw Arum and Conrad eating breakfast and asked Conrad why they were there. Dalitz went crazy, Arum said.

"He said, 'I don't want that [expletive] draft dodger in this town,' " Arum said. " 'It's not good for the town.' "

And so the biggest fight in history went not to Las Vegas but to New York a few months later.

It was an epic night that featured scores of celebrities in the crowd. Frank Sinatra was a ringside photographer. Burt Lancaster did color commentary.

It was an outstanding fight, but Frazier's pressure carried the day. He floored Ali in the 15th round with one of the most famous and perfectly executed left hooks in boxing history, sealing the fight.

But Ali would have his days against Frazier, defeating him twice, in a non-title bout on Jan. 28, 1974, in New York, and for the heavyweight title in Manila on Oct. 1, 1975. That was a fight for the ages, remembered as one of a handful of the best in boxing history.

Ali won by 14th-round stoppage when Frazier's trainer, Eddie Futch, asked referee Carlos Padilla to stop the fight. There has long been question about whether Angelo Dundee, then Ali's trainer, would have allowed Ali to go out for the 15th had Futch not stopped it.

In his brilliant 2001 book, "Ghosts of Manila," Mark Kram wrote, "After the press conference, Joe retired to a private villa for rest. He had been sleeping for a couple of hours when George Benton entered with a visitor. The room was dark. 'Who is it?' Joe asked, lifting his head. 'I can't see. Can't see. Turn the lights on.' A light was turned on and he still could not see. Like Ali, he lay there with his veins empty, crushed by a will that had carried him so far and now surely too far. His eyes were iron gates torn up by an explosive. 'Man, I hit him with punches that bring down the walls of a city. What held him up?' He lowered his head for some abstract forgiveness. 'Goddamn it, when somebody going to understand? It wasn't justa fight. It was me and him. Not a fight.' "

Ali wasn't nearly the same fighter after that. He'd taken a fearsome pounding in his second career, after his return from exile. His three fights with Frazier, his 1974 fight with George Foreman in Africa and his 1980 bout with Larry Holmes were particularly brutal.

Ali's win over Foreman became known as "The Rumble in the Jungle," fought in then what was called Zaire and is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He employed his famous "Rope-A-Dope" strategy in that fight. Foreman was a fearsome opponent at the time, the hardest hitter in boxing with a 40-0 record and 39 knockouts.

There were many sportswriters and boxing experts of the day who feared for Ali, such was Foreman's reputation at the time.

"I thought I was going to go in there and just go out and go, 'Boom, boom, boom,' and hit him and get him out of there and then go home," Foreman told Yahoo Sports in 2014. "That was my mistake. This was Muhammad Ali. He was 'The Greatest,' and they called him that because he was, but he was also the smartest. He knew what to do. And he did a great job of it."

Ali no longer had the foot speed or the elusiveness to dance away from Foreman as he'd done with Liston a decade earlier. Instead, he figured out the best strategy was to lay back against the ropes, lean back as far as he could, cover his face with his gloves and as much of his body as he could with his arms and let Foreman pound at him.

Foreman obliged and threw crunching, punishing shots. Ali took them and waited until Foreman became so tired he could no longer raise his arms. When he couldn't, Ali struck back and knocked out Foreman in the eighth round in the most remarkable upset of his career.

"It was my honor to get beaten up by that man," Foreman said, chuckling, in 2014. "I hated him at the time, because I didn't understand. But we grew to love each other. I love him like a brother."

Ali slowed down even more after the win over Frazier and never again looked like the electric, blazing-fast athlete he'd been years earlier.

"Nobody would have beaten Ali prior to the three-and-a-half years he lost [objecting to the Vietnam War]," Arum, who has promoted boxing for 50 years, told Yahoo Sports. "Nobody, and I mean nobody, could have come close to him. He was as fast and as elusive as Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard, and he was a heavyweight. His punching power was way better than people gave him credit for, but you never saw it a lot in those days because he was up on his toes moving."

After the Frazier fight, Ali became a personality as much as an athlete. He appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation" in 1976 during the Ford-Carter presidential race. He was asked whom he favored, and he declined to answer, saying he didn't know enough and didn't want to influence people who followed him and would vote for whomever he would say.

He officially retired from boxing in 1981 after a unanimous decision loss to Trevor Berbick, ending his career with a 55-5 record. He remains the only three-time lineal heavyweight champion, having won titles in 1964, '74 and '78.

As he aged, Ali began to think of his role in the world and what he could do to improve it. And he talked on "Face the Nation" about his desire to do charitable acts.

"We only have so many hours a day to do what we have to do, so many years to live, and in those years, we sleep about eight hours a day," Ali sad. "We travel. We watch television. If a man is 50 years old, he's lucky if he's actually had 20 years to actually live. So I would like to do the best I can for humanity.

"I'm blessed by God to be recognized as the most famous face on the Earth today. And I cannot think of nothing better than helping God's creatures or helping poverty or good causes where I can use my name to do so."

In a 1975 interview with Playboy that was released around the time of his third fight with Frazier, he spoke of how his view of the world had changed.

He said it was his responsibility to take advantage of his notoriety by helping his fellow man.

"You listen up and maybe I'll make you as famous as I made Howard Cosell," he said in the Playboy interview. "Wars on nations are fought to change maps, but wars on poverty are fought to map change. The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.

"These are words of wisdom, so pay attention, Mr. Playboy. The man who has no imagination stands on the Earth. He has no wings, he cannot fly. When we are right, no one remembers, but when we are wrong, no one forgets."

Kilroy, King and Arum said they knew of many charitable acts Ali had done. Kilroy said Ali, who was the most popular athlete in the world for years and commanded attention everywhere he went, would always be willing to do charitable acts, but said he didn't want cameras or reporters around because he didn't want anyone to think he was doing it for the publicity.

In 1973, for example, Ali learned that a home for elderly Jewish people was going to close because it was out of money.

"I'll never forget that night," Kilroy said. "It was a cold January night and we saw it on the news. Ali really paid attention to it and you could tell it bothered him, that all these people were going to be put out. They had nowhere to go. He told me to find out where it was, so I called the TV station and got the address.

"We drove over there and walked in and some guy comes up to me. I said, 'We're looking for the man in charge. Where is he?' And the guy says, 'I am. What do you want?' And Ali tells him he wants to help. He wrote him a check for $200,000 and tells him to put it in the bank that night. And then he writes another check for $200,000 and tells him to wait four days, because he has to get home and put some more money in the bank to cover the check."

In 1990, shortly before the first Gulf War between the U.S. and Iraq, he flew to Baghdad to speak with Saddam Hussein to secure the release of 15 U.S. hostages.

Hussein agreed to release the hostages.

For the rest of his life Ali worked to promote the cause of peace and charity. In December 2015, he condemned ISIS and took a shot at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (without mentioning Trump's name) when Trump suggested temporarily banning all Muslims from entering the U.S.

After the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino, Ali released a statement through his publicist. The headline said, "Statement From Muhammad Ali Regarding Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States."

"I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino or anywhere else in the world," Ali said in the statement. "True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so-called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.

"We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.

"Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people's views on what Islam really is."

It's the last major public statement Muhammad Ali ever made.

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Post by Guest Sat 04 Jun 2016, 6:21 am

Too sad for words
R. I. P. Champ

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 04 Jun 2016, 6:38 am

Quite simple 'The Greatest'.

RIP Muhammad Ali
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Post by milkyboy Sat 04 Jun 2016, 6:49 am

My first hero as a kid, and the greatest sporting icon of all time. He divided opinions as a man as we've discussed at length countless times on here, and the platitudes that will come out may rile a few, but for me he was not only the greatest heavyweight ever, when that really meant something, but a phenomenal personality whose positive's far outweighed the negatives.

Today is a very sad day. RIP.

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Post by Derbymanc Sat 04 Jun 2016, 7:18 am

RIP

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Post by Guest Sat 04 Jun 2016, 7:32 am

I hope the loss of one of the greatest sportsmen ever to grace the planet gives today's boxers a real sense of perspective and they realise that it's about actually getting in the ring and proving who's the best... not just talking about it.

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Post by Mr Bounce Sat 04 Jun 2016, 7:56 am

He really did shake up the world. He influenced boxing to a degree that no one ever had or will.

The original and the best.

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Post by AdamT Sat 04 Jun 2016, 8:31 am

Sports greatest icon and the finest Heavyweight ever. RIP Champ!

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Post by mobilemaster8 Sat 04 Jun 2016, 8:38 am

Such a brilliant character, a quality champion and overall genuinely nice guy outside of the ring.

They don't come often in this sport, an icon and a hero to some, RIP

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Post by Rowley Sat 04 Jun 2016, 8:52 am

milkyboy wrote:My first hero as a kid, and the greatest sporting icon of all time. He divided opinions as a man as we've discussed at length countless times on here, and the platitudes that will come out may rile a few, but for me he was not only the greatest heavyweight ever, when that really meant something, but a phenomenal personality whose positive's far outweighed the negatives.

Today is a very sad day. RIP.

Could not have put it better milky. I have aired my irritation with the deification of the man on more than one occasion and today is certainly not the time to revisit that topic, but truly a giant of both the sport and life. If you're a boxing fan Ali means something to you. Bravery, skill, charisma, style speed, intelligence. Fighters are blessed to have one of those assets, Ali had them all. A sad, sad day.

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Post by yappysnap Sat 04 Jun 2016, 8:58 am

The greatest

RIP

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Post by aucklandlaurie Sat 04 Jun 2016, 9:12 am


I remember as a little kid where I was when the news came out that Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston.

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Post by shivfan Sat 04 Jun 2016, 9:43 am

And of course, more than just a sporting icon...a civil rights campaigner, and a campaigner against the Vietnam War.

He not only transcended boxing, he transcended sport.
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Post by Hammersmith harrier Sat 04 Jun 2016, 10:04 am

RIP to the greatest of all time, never again will we see his like again. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, his hands can't hit what the eyes can't see.

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Post by ShahenshahG Sat 04 Jun 2016, 10:17 am

Thank you for everything. RIP.

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Post by dummy_half Sat 04 Jun 2016, 10:34 am

Not even particularly a boxing fan, but this marks the very sad loss of probably the biggest sporting icon the world has seen. Certainly I struggle to think of anyone who has transcended their sport in quite the same way.

Undoubtedly vastly talented, with an ego and gift for self promotion to match, along with plenty of controversy (some such as the draft avoidance being for the best reasons, others such as his taunting of opponents not so much), so the one thing you could never say of Ali was that he was dull...

Two great shames:
1 - That for reasons unconnected with the sport, we probably never saw the best that Ali the boxer could be (67-70)

2 - That he was forced for financial reasons (which I understand to borderline on criminal fraud by his management) to fight on for too long, both to the detriment of his record and probably to his long term health.

RIP to someone who could genuinely call himself The Greatest.

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Post by Nico the gman Sat 04 Jun 2016, 11:16 am

Thanks for just been you Ali, legends don't and fade away, you'll live forever.

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Post by Samo Sat 04 Jun 2016, 11:53 am

You can understate how big an influence he was. Not just in sport but outside of it aswell. A huge lose for everyone.

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Post by Guest Sat 04 Jun 2016, 12:16 pm

RIP. An absolute legend.

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Post by eirebilly Sat 04 Jun 2016, 12:16 pm

As a kid, I remember getting a pair of Ali boxing gloves for Christmas. Had no idea who he was until my dad explained to me. We didn't have video's back then so I had no real idea just how popular he made the sport until years later.

RIP Ali, god speed.
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Post by spencerclarke Sat 04 Jun 2016, 12:20 pm

So sad. Really gutted today. RIP Ali.

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Post by 88Chris05 Sat 04 Jun 2016, 12:26 pm

Even if Ali had been 'just' a sportsman, his extraordinary achievements alone would still be enough to make his passing a very sad day not just for boxing, but for sport as a whole. But that's the thing - he was more than a sportsman. Amazing entertainer, massive personality and an inspiration to millions across many generations. Like countless others, he was someone I held as a hero as a youngster.

Has his flaws like any of us, but showed that he was a reflective person and no doubt in my mind that he was a great force for good all things considered. The best Heavyweight of the lot, for me, but it's almost impossible to imagine any sportsperson, regardless of their discipline, gender, race etc, having anything like the impact and influence Ali has. In an age where the term probably gets overused, Ali is the ultimate sporting legend.

As Harry Mullan wrote about him, 'The impossible was his speciality.' RIP.
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Post by guildfordbat Sat 04 Jun 2016, 12:59 pm

One of the most significant figures of the twentieth century and undoubtedly its greatest sportsman.

At his peak, I was dazzled by his amazing speed. His footwork and all round movements inside the ring were so fast but still second to his quick wit and thoughts outside it.

My thanks for all he gave.

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Post by kwinigolfer Sat 04 Jun 2016, 1:27 pm

I remember the brash young Cassius Clay at the Rome Olympics, transformative style and speed for a light heavy then heavy.
Wonder if in later years his "legend" rather grew out of proportion to his achievements, both physical and cultural?

Top five sportsmen since WWII? Would certainly be on most lists.

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Post by Guest Sat 04 Jun 2016, 2:03 pm

Most famous sportsman of all time and the most charismatic.

RIP

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Post by AdamT Sat 04 Jun 2016, 3:59 pm

The closest thing to a charismatic sportsman in modern times, is Usain Bolt.

He is charismatic, has the talent. But he's no Ali!

It's just a pity he had suffered bad health over the years. My generation can only watch the clips, and read the extracts.

Great, great man. He had his flaws like everyone, but that made him human.

Legend is thrown around too often. If Senna,Best,Bobby Moore etc are legends, Ali is simply the greatest. He has no equal!

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Post by Guest Sat 04 Jun 2016, 9:54 pm

Those of us who have only heard of and read about Ali have felt his presence despite him being effectively mute for so long. Even then he seems larger than life.

I can only imagine how much of a giant he is to the people who lived through his active years.

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Post by ChequeredJersey Sat 04 Jun 2016, 10:31 pm

RIP, the Greatest Sad
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Post by sirfredperry Sun 05 Jun 2016, 9:40 am

Boxing didn't need promoters when Ali was around. He was a one-man publicity machine. The brashness was always tempered by humour. For sports lovers he was a wonderful boxer. Light on his feet, lethal but languid.
For those of the baby boom generation more keen to make love rather than war, his anti-Vietnam stance catapulted him to humanitarian-champion status. There's been much talk of Ali "transcending sport". It's true. He did.
Then after the vilification and the wasted years of bans, he came back. He fought magnificently, but - sadly for his health - for too long. In the 1970s he was arguably the most famous man in the world. Some might consider he remained close to that even up to his death - revered by people who were born years after his last fight.

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Post by SecretFly Sun 05 Jun 2016, 2:39 pm

Everytime I think about or see Ali, I end up remembering my father.  So he's always been a central character in my personal world.

My first memories of any sport was watching Ali with my father.  The early 70s - rope-a-dope.  Even at my age, I knew it, you could sense it in the tone of all adults that this man was special. You could feel the electricity in the air when people spoke of him. I remember as a child shouting 'Box! Box!' to Ali - but Ali wasn't listening and I can remember becoming so frustrated.  He was doing it his way, using his timing....waiting for his moments.

There are so very few 'heros' left in my world - the stars of today are for younger generations to idolise.  
Ali had undoubtedly a charisma that few stars of any field truly get to have. Despite our best intentions to cover it up for him by saying his persona was all tongue-in-cheek, he also had an inner rage too that he never minded giving you a taste of.  
There was a magnificence to that rage. That passionate reality, few stars of today have the courage to show it.  He did - and never compromised for the cameras, for the audience, for Political correctness.  If you wanted his honest opinion - ask it.  

I think most of all, that's why Ali is remembered as an icon of that mad but very special century - the 20th.

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Post by RinoGattuso Sun 05 Jun 2016, 2:45 pm

Racist

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Post by AdamT Sun 05 Jun 2016, 4:30 pm

Who is racist?

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Post by kwinigolfer Mon 06 Jun 2016, 12:37 am

Heard an old George Carlin tape earlier today, a different take on Catch-22 if you like. To the effect of:
"I want to beat people up. I'm the best."
"We don't want you to beat people up, we want you to kill them."
"I won't kill them, but I'll beat them up."
"Well, if you just beat people up but don't kill them, you'll have to go to prison."

American Tune of the 60's and 70's. And very possibly the 201x's.

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Post by Guest Mon 06 Jun 2016, 8:24 am

SecretFly wrote:Everytime I think about or see Ali, I end up remembering my father.  So he's always been a central character in my personal world.

My first memories of any sport was watching Ali with my father.  The early 70s - rope-a-dope.  Even at my age, I knew it, you could sense it in the tone of all adults that this man was special.  You could feel the electricity in the air when people spoke of him.  I remember as a child shouting 'Box! Box!' to Ali - but Ali wasn't listening and I can remember becoming so frustrated.  He was doing it his way, using his timing....waiting for his moments.

There are so very few 'heros' left in my world - the stars of today are for younger generations to idolise.  
Ali had undoubtedly a charisma that few stars of any field truly get to have.  Despite our best intentions to cover it up for him by saying his persona was all tongue-in-cheek, he also had an inner rage too that he never minded giving you a taste of.  
There was a magnificence to that rage.  That passionate reality, few stars of today have the courage to show it.  He did - and never compromised for the cameras, for the audience, for Political correctness.  If you wanted his honest opinion - ask it.  

I think most of all, that's why Ali is remembered as an icon of that mad but very special century - the 20th.
With you 100% on that one my friend. I remember watching Ali v Berbick with my dad and can still recall the sadness with which he watched that fight. My dad's a decade older than Ali and been ill nearly 30 years so I often draw parallels between the two (of course my dad's still my hero even now) but he always rated Ali higher than all the others.

Tried explaining to my wife about Ali fighting both Liston and Foreman and that in this day and age there isn't another fighter alive who would dare to take on two such fearsome wrecking machines A DECADE APART and come out on top. I explained what Foreman had done to Frazier and Norton and how there was a real fear that Ali would be seriously injured or even killed and that there simply isn't anyone around today who would even contemplate the feat.

Oh there are people calling themselves the best ever but for me, they're like a dying firefly beside the blinding light of a nuclear explosion.

There are no words in my vocabulary to truly express my admiration for Ali but to paraphrase a t-shirt doing the rounds:

"Always be yourself...unless you can be Muhammed Ali...then be Muhammed Ali!"

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Post by Hammersmith harrier Mon 06 Jun 2016, 10:08 am

It's very easy to understate quite how impressive a career Ali had, a lot is made of his wins against the beasts Liston and Foreman but there was so much more to him than that.

The first incarnation was lacking in the same star quality that his later years had but some of the performances were sublime, I don't think a Heavyweight has moved with the same speed and grace that he did against Williams and Folley. Then there's the way he totally disarmed and embarrassed Patterson and Terrell, both men making the same mistake of calling him Cassius Clay, for all his gifts of which there were many, he was a spiteful boxer at times if you peed him off. During that time he showed he possessed greater power than he's credited with, he could finish a fight in any round he so chose.

Then there's the stuff of legend, returning after three years and beating very creditable challengers like Quarry and Bonavena before losing for the first time against Frazier, the left hook that put him down should have been the end, that was the first time people started to realise how tough he was. Seen as passed his best he beats another set of contenders that put todays bunch in the shade, getting his jaw broken by Norton in the process and scraped past him in their return.

He's now seen as an old man with no chance of regaining the Heavyweight title, he bests Frazier in a rematch before taking on the worst and best of the lot; George Foreman. Even today looking back and knowing how the fight panned out it seems like a suicide mission especially the way he did it, sitting back on the ropes absorbing unholy punishment, waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on a tiring Foreman.

As an even older man he still went on to take punishment from murderous punchers; Lyle, Frazier and Shavers, outlasting them all, he did get lucky against Young although I don't think Young's tactics did him any favours with the judges.

It was a golden age for Heavyweight boxing and Ali was the undisputed king.


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Post by BamBam Mon 06 Jun 2016, 10:33 am

emancipator wrote:Those of us who have only heard of and read about Ali have felt his presence despite him being effectively mute for so long. Even then he seems larger than life.

I can only imagine how much of a giant he is to the people who lived through his active years.

This sums up how I feel

RIP

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Post by AdamT Mon 06 Jun 2016, 4:16 pm

I enjoyed your posts Dave and Hammer.

Sorry to hear about your Dad Dave.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 06 Jun 2016, 4:41 pm

RIP - putting all the rest to one side, a truly wonderful boxer that stood atop a golden era.

One can only imagine what Ali would do (or call!) the current crop.

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