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Archive for the ‘Ali Films’ Category

The Greatest Performer of All-Time?

The Greatest Performer of All-Time?

Source: ESPN: An Audience With Muhammad Ali- From 1974

Muhammad Ali, perhaps at his most popular and highest peak professionally in 1974. Now seemed more as a mainstream figure and perhaps less as a rebel, or some Black Power figure or something. He’s not the most recognizable and most popular athlete in the world forty-years ago and today just because African-Americans, Native-Africans and Muslims regardless of race, or ethnicity love him. He became more of a mainstream figure in the mid 1970s as more Americans especially got to know him, but he moderated as well and said less derogatory things about Caucasians and the establishment. And more people got to see how intelligent and the great comedic wit and acting ability that he had as well.

Muhammad, was certainly a member of the TV Generation and was perfect for it and came up during the perfect time for him. That is why he’s so famous, because he came up when network TV was so crucial and dominant and had the perfect personality for it. Someone who was very bright and knew exactly what he was talking about, but also someone who was very funny and entertaining and people simply loved him and still do for it. This is in late 1974 and he Muhammad fought Joe Frazier for the third and final time about a year later. And you hear Ali talking about Frazier, because that is the fight people wanted to see again. And Smokin Joe wanted another shot at Ali and regain the World Heavyweight Championship. And Ali probably wanted to beat Joe Frazier again.

Muhammad Ali as a politician? I hate to do this as a great of an athlete and in many ways as a man he was, I could see him as the Donald Trump of the 1970s or 80s had he not come down from Parkinson’s. As he said himself as a non-politician he was free to say whatever he feels and believes and even the truth. You can’t do that as a politician and expect to be reelected. You have to be more careful and target what you say and how you say it. One of the reasons why Donald Trump has never been elected to anything is because he’s unelectable. He’s done the best Mitt Romney impersonation you’ll ever see by being multiple choice on so many key issues. Muhammad was always better off being free and out of elected office and being exactly who he was. Not feeling the need to have to please people.

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Ali-Frazier III

Ali-Frazier III

Source: Rick Wharton: HBO Sports: Thrilla In Manila Documentary: The Heavyweight Battle of The Century

I’m not a boxing expert and don’t pretend to be one and I haven’t followed boxing very closely for almost twenty-years now since the heavyweight division went into the toilet as if it was flushed down. But The Thrilla in Manila at least to me is at the very least the best heavyweight division fight of all-time. It represents the best and the worst of boxing. Two big strong men literally beating the hell out of each other. In a way it was like an Old West shootout where the last man standing won. But even Old West shootouts generally had winners. This fight was more like a divorce. Where there wasn’t real winner. Just a survivor who was slightly better off than the man he beat. This fight was only stopped, because Joe Frazier was literally blind at the end of it. Thats how much this fight took out of both men.

The Thrilla in Manila was the last fight in the greatest trilogy again at least in the heavyweight division. Which is the only division in boxing that I follow at all. Smokin Joe won the first fight in 1971 and Muhammad won the second fight in 73 and beat the man who beat Joe for the heavyweight championship in 1974, which of course was George Forman. So yes the third fight was again for the Heavyweight Championship of the World for the second time and Joe wanted it back. But as they said in this film The Thrilla in Manila was about the World Heavyweight Championship of each other. The right to say that they were better than the other. That they were the best heavyweight of their generation and of the 1970s. You could still argue about Larry Holmes, but they both would’ve had a good case had they won this fight.

The Thrilla in Manila looks like to me what it would have been like had Germany fought Japan at the end of World War II. Imagine had they destroyed each other during that war instead of getting their assess handed to them by America and the Western Allies and literally destroyed each other, but didn’t know how to give up. And kept going on until neither one had one fighter and one weapon left. That is what this fight was like. Two big strong men beating the hell out of each other until one literally couldn’t take it anymore and was literally knocked out, or gave up. That is why I say this fight represents boxing at its best and worst. Two guys in the primes giving everything they had against the other, but beating each other up so much that they caused real physical damage to the other.

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This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Was Muhammad Ali a great boxer? Was he a great champion? Was he a great entertainer? What he a great comedian? Was he a great poet? Was he a great civil rights spokesperson? Well the answer to all of these questions, except for maybe poet is yes. He was all of these things and did all of these things very well. Perhaps The Greatest of All-Time doing all of these things. That is how quick and intelligent he was. No one has know them self better and the people around him better than Muhammad Ali. And really the only mistake he’s ever made in life was fighting too long. Which of course has cost him the rest of his life. And he has to live with Parkinson’s.

But here’s a guy who dominated the media from a news, entertainment and sports perspective, as well as the heavyweight boxing division for about 15-20 years. He only time he didn’t dominate these fields was when he lost his boxing license because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. But he was the best, The Greatest of All-Time for a very long time. We never saw anyone as good pre-Muhammad Ali and haven’t seen a boxer and entertainer as good since. Muhammad Ali, is truly an American original.
Becoming Muhammad Ali

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David and Muhammad

David and Muhammad

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

If there was one person that should’ve wrote a comedy book with all sorts of wisecracks, jokes and monologues in it, its Muhammad Ali. The man was comedian with big fists and quick feet. A true punchers wit who it hadn’t been for boxing, he would’ve ended up in Hollywood as a comedian and comedic actor and perhaps writer and commentator. The only other pro-athlete that I can compare with Muhammad when it comes to humor and wit, would be Charles Barkley. Another very talented athlete who is very bright and very funny at the same time. Who can express how they feel in an intelligent, accurate, but funny way as well.

A few things that makes Muhammad the greatest of all-time the best heavyweight boxer of all-time. His physical size. 215-220 pounds of solid muscle on a 6’2-6’3 frame. The man had the body of a big wide receiver or running back. And then you add how quick he was with his footwork, hand speed and intelligence. He knew his opponents better than they knew themselves. Larry Holmes being the exception to that. And then his work-ethic. No one worked as hard in and outside of the ring than Muhammad Ali. The man wasn’t just a great boxer, but a great professional as well.

You put all of these things together and that is why Muhammad Ali is the greatest heavyweight boxer of all-time. And yes he fought at least five years too long. He should’ve retired after he beat Leon Spinks and won back the World Heavyweight Championship in 1978. But when you’re as great as Muhammad was and that is after losing five years of your career when he was in his mid and late twenties, it is real hard to call it quits and retire. Because you feel invincible and feel like a god or something. And I believe that is what happened to Muhammad Ali.

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Muhammad & Howard

Muhammad & Howard

Before ESPN and other twenty-four hour sports networks, there was ABC’s Wide World of Sports. That was a combination of SportsCenter, 60 Minutes and sports coverage all in one show. But it was all about sports and not news that provided sports news, news magazine stories and actual sports coverage. Like boxing and olympic action, international sporting events and pro soccer and other sporing events.

It even had a talk show aspect to it that was anchored by Howard Cosell. And Cosell and Muhammad Ali made this show and made it work along with Jim MacKay in the 1970s. And made this show the place to go to on weekends from ABC Sports if you wanted the latest sports news and sports coverage. And was network sports at its best and sports TV hasn’t gotten better since.

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This post was originally posted at FRS Daily Times on WordPress, May, 2013 and then reposted

Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell were a comedy act talking about serious things, well as serious as pro-boxing can be. Who without each other working together, their careers wouldn’t have been as good and they wouldn’t have been as successful. Because of the chemistry that they had, as well as their intelligence, they both had great sense of humors.

But Muhammad and Howard had similar sense of humors. And not only knew each other very well, but themselves as well and didn’t try to be anyone else. What really made these interviews classics, were because they were truly unscripted and how real they were. Two good intelligent friends with real quick wits who had great chemistry together.

Muhammad & Howard

Muhammad & Howard

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Muhammad Ali

Greatest of All-Time

How to explain Muhammad Ali, the challenge of this blog and the challenge of the day for me. Imagine a big tall man 6’2-6’3, probably more like 6’2 whose built like a statue and looks more like an NFL linebacker or running back than a boxer because he’s also 215-220 pounds depending on the fight. And who was all muscle and well-built like a statue. Muhammad was certainly not invincible as we all know now with the state of his health.

And we also know he was declining both physically and mentally when he was still fighting as early as 1975 with the third fight against Joe Frazier. Taking a serious toll on him, which should’ve been the fight that forced Muhammad into retirement. But Muhammad was so much stronger both physically and mentally than most of the fighters he fought.

That he could take so much more than most if not any other boxer who ever fought. Which allowed him to be able to deliver all the punishment that he did to his opponents. Muhammad Ali fought with a shield that you had to break in order to beat him. If Larry Bird is the genius when it comes to basketball players, then Muhammad Ali is the genius when it comes to boxers. Because he was a boxer that could see fights developing before they developed.

Muhammad knew his opponents as well as himself better than they knew themselves or him. So he was always at least a couple of steps ahead of his opponents and even his own corner. He won most of his fights before the fights happened because of all the preparation he put himself through. And being able to sike out his opponents and get them to hate him and wanting to knock Ali out instead of trying win the fight. And Ali would use that against him and simply do his job, “I can hit you and prevent you from hitting me”.

Muhammad, “even if you land shots, I’m strong enough to take them and hit you back harder. Because I’m built like a tank and with the amount of punishment that I can deliver to you I’ll beat you simply by wearing you down”. This happened against Ron Lyle where both fighters delivered many great shots, but where Ali could simply take and deliver more than Ron Lyle had to offer.

Another way to look at Muhammad Ali is not to look at him as a knockout artist. Someone who could knock you out in one or two punches like a George Forman or Mike Tyson. But look at Muhammad as a power-puncher who knocked people out unless they were strong enough to go the distance with 5-10 punches in a row or a hundred punches.

Muhammad got his knockouts by simply punishing his opponents and wearing them down. And what makes Muhammad Ali the greatest heavyweight of all time is his physical strength and stamina, as well as preparation. But also because of his intelligence that he knew his opponents a lot of times better than they knew themselves. And used that against them.

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