Muhammad Ali: RIP

The biggest sporting thrill of my life came when Muhammed Ali managed to bamboozle the monster George Foreman to regain the world title that had been wrongly taken from him for his stand against the Vietnam war in the 1960s. What an remarkable, courageous, crazy guy. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this piece of fun.

And here’s Joyce Carol Oates on Ali. Never the white man’s negro.

This entry was posted in History. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Peter WARWICK
Peter WARWICK
5 years ago

While I love Muhammad Ali for his antics and fine boxing, I really feel that boxing has had its day. It really is a primitive sport, and the sight of two blokes belting their opponent into a senseless state (with the high potential of permanent brain damage) is not the sign of a civilized society.

I think we can do better than that.

Philip Clark
Philip Clark
5 years ago
Reply to  Peter WARWICK

Peter I find your comment to be both insulting and distasteful to say the very least. To describe Muhammad Ali’s contributions, achievements and stature as an athlete and social reformist as “antics and fine boxing” clearly reflects your ignorance of the man whom you have deemed to comment on upon his death. The only appropriate reply I can make is to paraphrase Gough Whitlam on his retort to a journalist in his support to legalise abortion “Let me make it quite clear that I am for abortion, and in your case Sir, we should make it retrospective” a point that which very much applies to you.

Phil Clark
Phil Clark
5 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

Nicholas, Peter, I come from a familly of boxers and we too have come to the same conclusion which is why I, my uncles and cousins now actively discourage participation in the boxing having seen the effects both short and long term. What angered me was the connection between the passing of a great man who had done so much for so many and the barbarity of the sport, thus my post.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
5 years ago

Sorry. His stand on Vietnam notwithstanding, Ali was not such a great guy. He constantly denigrated Frazier for being a “gorilla” and used to mimic him. He called him an Uncle Tom. And Frazier died penniless in the same gym he trained in in the 1960s. And he insults Frazier and Foreman again in this speech and everyone applauds! Such unequal treatment by the fawning morons in the Harvard audience.

Ali was involved in the Nation of Islam who think Whites are descended from Devils and were (perhaps still are) preparing for a race war (they have that in common with the KKK). I enjoyed the big fights back in the day, but never his arrogance. And he set the precedent for boxers being loud mouthed blow-hards ever since.

Give me Martin Luther King or Sydney Poitier as a black role model any day.

Phil Clark
Phil Clark
5 years ago
Reply to  Chris Lloyd

I can’t disagree Chris but I have a different attitude to you more in line with Malcom-X than Martin Luther. He was no saint but on balance I would say he did more good than bad and inspired a generation to fight for dignity and equality for all.

Phil Clark
Phil Clark
5 years ago
Reply to  Chris Lloyd

Just in addition Chris, and in I say this with respect and agreeance with what you have said, his involvement with The Nation of Islam made me cringe and I was thankful when he eventually distanced himself from them but I find we often judge history on today’s standards which I feel is a mistake. I think to appreciate Ali you need to look at his life in its entirety especially his early years before converting to Islam and why he did so. I feel the fate of Frazier was a tremendous injustice and tragedy but there were many at the time who felt he was an “Uncle Tom” to the white controlled boxing world when, again in my opinion, it was simply in his nature as a humble and passive soul in a vicious and cut throat sport. I so greatly admired Ali because even when I disagreed with what and how he expressed himself he did so with absolute belief and complete disregard for the consequence, in other words he spoke from the heart so always no confusion on his options, something I see very little of in today’s leaders.

2020 Summit Vet
2020 Summit Vet
5 years ago

Are you insane? Clay was courageous? What’s courageous avoiding a hot war , you very, very silly person.

Phil Clark
Phil Clark
5 years ago

Your right, in AD 939 the Holy Roman Empire should have stepped in and kept Vietnam Chines, but maybe that’s a stretch. How about the British Empire stepping in when the French “Colonized” the Indochina peninsula, or would that have been an over reaction. Of course the eminent fall of Asia to the Communist must force the world to act, maybe that’s why Socialism is so proliphic in South East Asia. No war is just or right and no one should be forced to fight in a war they don’t believe in, that’s why in civilised societies we have consciences objectors. Some protest by not fighting other by breaking unfair laws. The right of decent is a fundamental part of any free society and has formed the basis of change for many at the cost of individual freedoms and the persecution of many. It’s a brave act to believe your right and say no when all around say your wrong.

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd(@chris-lloyd)
5 years ago

“Him and Bobby Fischer. Fruitloops whose achievements seemed to come from another planet. Hard not to get drawn into it.” Quote of the week I think.

Seems like Waleed Ali partly agrees with me, but adds some rather interesting insights as usual. (http://www.theage.com.au/comment/dont-turn-mohammad-ali-into-a-sanitised-caricature-20160609-gpf0l4.html)

Finally, even though I do respect his stand on Vietnam, as someone recently pointed out to me: if he had gone to Vietnam he would have lost his title as well (though not been stripped).

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
5 years ago

Yes, he sure had courage. And for all I know, he may have ended up being a terrific person but it not the old inform Ali that is so celebrated. it is the young Ali who was a mixture of courage and arrogance. On the other hand, how many of us would remain humble if we looked like he did and could do what he did?

I would like to have heard a little more from him in the past 30 years though. Was he really sorry for humiliating Frazier who could not defend himself with words? He renounced the Nation of Islam but he got of lightly I think. Interviewers did not go after him for it. Compare how Cat Stevens got hounded for one ironic statement about Salman Rushdie.