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Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)


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Three-time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, whose controversial life and career transcended the sport of boxing, has died at the age of 74.

 

He was a fixture in motion pictures -- either as an actor or the subject of biographies and documentaries. One of his earliest screen appearances was as himself -- using his original name Cassius Clay -- in the 1962 film version of Rod Serling's 1956 television drama "Requiem for a Heavyweight."

 

requiem-for-a-heavyweight-6.jpg?w=452&h=

The future boxing great appeared early on in "Requiem" 

 

He also starred as himself in the 1977 screen biography "The Greatest," which focused on the peaks and valleys of his boxing career as well as his conversion to Islam as a Black Muslim and his 1967 refusal to be inducted into the U.S. Army on religious grounds. Directed by Tom Gries ("Breakheart Pass," "Will Penny"), the film also featured Ernest Borgnine as trainer Angelo Dundee, John Marley as "Fight Doctor" Ferdie Pacheco, James Earl Jones as Malcolm X and a pre-"Magnum, P.I." Roger E. Mosley as Sonny Liston.

 

 

 

Two films about "The People's Champ" earned Academy Award recognition.

 

"When We Were Kings," which recounted the classic 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" in Zaire between Ali and reigning heavyweight champion George Foreman, won the 1996 Oscar as the year's Best Documentary Feature.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6929Dvepc50

 

Meanwhile, Will Smith received a 2001 Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of the international icon in director Michael Mann's "Ali." It also produced a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Jon Voight, who took on the role of ABC sportscaster Howard Cosell.

 

AliWillSmith-600x394.jpg

Smith as the three-time heavyweight champion in the 2001 biopic "Ali"

 

Ali had a chance to star in a 1970s big-screen remake of the fantasy classic "Here Comes Mr. Jordan." When actor-director Warren Beatty decided to update the 1941 Best Picture nominee, his choice to play the doomed boxer Joe Pendleton was Ali. When the real-life prizefighter became unavailable for the project, Beatty, a star high school football player in Virginia, decided to play Pendleton himself -- and as a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams. The remake -- titled "Heaven Can Wait" -- was a major box-office hit in 1978. It also received several Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. 

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2016/06/04/muhammad-ali-dies-obituary/85357592/

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I recently caught a PBS show on his life that was excellent. I learned many interesting aspects of Ali, for example- that he was "discovered" & supported by a group of Louisville businessmen, not unlike a race horse. A fascinating life for a unique personality.

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He was my hero.

 

I had never really been into sports but with his outragiousness and larger-than-life personality and accomplishments both inside and outside the boxing ring, Muhmmad Ali galvanized me as a young man, and I became a devoted follower of all that he did.

 

I have so many Ali memories, some funny, some tearful, many of them inspirational.

 

Of all the Ali fights that I saw none made so much of an impression upon me as when I attended the live closed circuit presentation of his Rumble in the Jungle with George Foreman at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens in 1974. I went to the fight afraid of what I might see because the undefeated Foreman seemed so indestructible. I had bet my money on Ali, even though I really thought he would lose that night, because if my hero was going to lose, I wanted to go down with him.

 

Of course, Ali proved me and the entire world wrong that night when he fought a brilliant strategy fight (the "rope-a-dope" as it later became known), fooling even his own corner who would were not expecting him to try to let the young champion punch himself out that way, and knocked out Foreman.

 

It wasn't until the fifth round that I realized that Ali was going to win. My heart was in my mouth for the first four rounds, with Foreman pummeling away on Ali's body (Ali making a point to cover his face and chin). Foreman did land some thundering blows on Muhammad but, his body in perhaps the best cast iron condition of his career, he took those shots in a manner that Foreman's previous opponents (including Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, both knocked out in two rounds each) had not been able to.

 

Then came the fifth. This was a round in which Ali lay almost exclusively on the ropes as Foreman stood in front of him and wailed away on Ali's rib cage and arms with roundhouse blows that could have felled a tree. And yet, in the last thirty seconds of that round, Ali suddenly moved away from the ropes, almost floating, and landed a perfect combination of shots on Foreman's head, snapping that head back as he did so.

 

Foreman lunged forward, Ali catching his head under an arm and, as he did so, Muhammad stuck his tongue out at a ringside observer.

 

As I saw him stick that tongue out in defiance I then KNEW (!!!) that I was watching history, that he was about to win the fight. That it was Ali, not the seemingly awesome Foreman, that was in control. And at that moment I leaped to my feet in Maple Leaf Gardens and started hysterically screaming, "ALI'S GONNA WIN! ALI'S GONNA WIN!"

 

And, of course, three rounds later Foreman was knocked out, and the joyous crowds surged the ring with Muhammad being carried by his fans and admirers in triumph. The Great Man had done it, defying all his critics once again, just as he had done ten years before when he had defeated that "Big Ugly Bear" Sonny Liston.

 

ALiForeman.jpg

 

And a year later came the Thrilla in Manila, perhaps Muhammad's greatest performance in the ring, when he finally stopped Joe Frazier after 14 rounds of brutality which Ali would later call "the closest I ever came to death."

 

He was, at that moment, in the eyes of so many, a true Superman.

 

In retrospect, it would have been best if Ali had retired then, but it's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. Ali loved the limelight too much to quit so he hung on to the championship for three more years, during which he was slowing and his skills obviously declining. He was particularly stunned by a cannonball shot that landed on his jaw by Earnie Shavers in the second round of their fight. Somehow Ali didn't go down (he always had a great jaw) and he went on to win the fight, but his fight doctor, Ferdy Pacheco, quit his corner after that fight, fearful of what the sport was doing to Ali and his slowing reflexes.

 

Ali would lose to Leon Spinks then beat him in a rematch to become a three time champ, then he retired. He made a terrible decision at a comeback a couple of years later against Larry Holmes. I went to that fight, cried later after what I had seen because, as a fighter, he had nothing left except chutzpah. And chutzpah just wasn't enough for an athlete who suddenly seemed so old against the young Holmes, a former sparring partner of Muhammad's, then in his prime. Soon after that he was gone from the ring for good with a record of 56-5, possibly the greatest athlete in the history of sports, certainly an athlete whose accomplishments can stand next to that of any other.

 

And what figure in sports was more of a natural showman and promoter, or rose to become a prominent figure of civil rights, as well as charities. Ali was so much more than just a sports figure. And he was philosophical about the parkinson's disease, his most savage and relentless opponent in life, saying that it was God's way of testing him.

 

But what a tragedy that that disease finally robbed Ali of his ability to speak. And, oh, how he could talk!

 

BUT he never lost his spirit! And we saw that at the opening Olympics ceremony in Atlanta in 1996 when Ali surprised the world once again. There he was, with the whole world watching, as, with shaking arms, he lit the Olympic cauldron!

 

Behind the scenes Olympics officials were holding their breath, afraid that with his physical afflictions Ali might do something to embarrass himself and the Olympics. But it didn't happen, as Ali kept a steady gaze on that flaming torch, fought his shaking limbs, and lit that cauldron.

 

There, for all the world to see, was Muhammad Ali saying, in essence, what he could no longer verbalize, "I AM A PROUD OLYMPIAN!"

 

79b3b959dfdd896898936e5b37f9d3e0413f7fda

 

It's impossible for me to express my multitude of emotions now with today's sad news.

 

RIP Champ. Both inside and outside the ring, you really were the greatest.

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 was my hero.

 

 

I had never really been into sports but with his outragiousness and larger-than-life personality and accomplishments both inside and outside the boxing ring, Muhmmad Ali galvanized me as a young man, and I became a devoted follower of all that he did.

 

I have so many Ali memories, some funny, some tearful, many of them inspirational.

 

Of all the Ali fights that I saw none made so much of an impression upon me as when I attended the live closed circuit presentation of his Rumble in the Jungle with George Foreman at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens in 1974. I went to the fight afraid of what I might see because the undefeated Foreman seemed so indestructible. I had bet my money on Ali, even though I really thought he would lose that night, because if my hero was going to lose, I wanted to go down with him.

 

Of course, Ali proved me and the entire world wrong that night when he fought a brilliant strategy fight (the "rope-a-dope" as it later became known), fooling even his own corner who would were not expecting him to try to let the young champion punch himself out that way, and knocked out Foreman.

 

It wasn't until the fifth round that I realized that Ali was going to win. My heart was in my mouth for the first four rounds, with Foreman pummeling away on Ali's body (Ali making a point to cover his face and chin). Foreman did land some thundering blows on Muhammad but, his body in perhaps the best cast iron condition of his career, he took those shots in a manner that Foreman's previous opponents (including Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, both knocked out in two rounds each) had not been able to.

 

Then came the fifth. This was a round in which Ali lay almost exclusively on the ropes as Foreman stood in front of him and wailed away on Ali's rib cage and arms with roundhouse blows that could have felled a tree. And yet, in the last thirty seconds of that round, Ali suddenly moved away from the ropes, almost floating, and landed a perfect combination of shots on Foreman's head, snapping that head back as he did so.

 

Foreman lunged forward, Ali catching his head under an arm and, as he did so, Muhammad stuck his tongue out at a ringside observer.

 

As I saw him stick that tongue out in defiance I then KNEW (!!!) that I was watching history, that he was about to win the fight. That it was Ali, not the seemingly awesome Foreman, that was in control. And at that moment I leaped to my feet in Maple Leaf Gardens and started hysterically screaming, "ALI'S GONNA WIN! ALI'S GONNA WIN!"

 

And, of course, three rounds later Foreman was knocked out, and the joyous crowds surged the ring with Muhammad being carried by his fans and admirers in triumph. The Great Man had done it, defying all his critics once again, just as he had done ten years before when he had defeated that "Big Ugly Bear" Sonny Liston.

 

ALiForeman.jpg

 

And a year later came the Thrilla in Manila, perhaps Muhammad's greatest performance in the ring, when he finally stopped Joe Frazier after 14 rounds of brutality which Ali would later call "the closest I ever came to death."

 

He was, at that moment, in the eyes of so many, a true Superman.

 

In retrospect, it would have been best if Ali had retired then, but it's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. Ali loved the limelight too much to quit so he hung on to the championship for three more years, during which he was slowing and his skills obviously declining. He was particularly stunned by a cannonball shot that landed on his jaw by Earnie Shavers in the second round of their fight. Somehow Ali didn't go down (he always had a great jaw) and he went on to win the fight, but his fight doctor, Ferdy Pacheco, quit his corner after that fight, fearful of what the sport was doing to Ali and his slowing reflexes.

 

Ali would lose to Leon Spinks then beat him in a rematch to become a three time champ, then he retired. He made a terrible decision at a comeback a couple of years later against Larry Holmes. I went to that fight, cried later after what I had seen because, as a fighter, he had nothing left except chutzpah. And chutzpah just wasn't enough for an athlete who suddenly seemed so old against the young Holmes, a former sparring partner of Muhammad's, then in his prime. Soon after that he was gone from the ring for good with a record of 56-5, possibly the greatest athlete in the history of sports, certainly an athlete whose accomplishments can stand next to that of any other.

 

And what figure in sports was more of a natural showman and promoter, or rose to become a prominent figure of civil rights, as well as charities. Ali was so much more than just a sports figure. And he was philosophical about the parkinson's disease, his most savage and relentless opponent in life, saying that it was God's way of testing him.

 

But what a tragedy that that disease finally robbed Ali of his ability to speak. And, oh, how he could talk!

 

BUT he never lost his spirit! And we saw that at the opening Olympics ceremony in Atlanta in 1996 when Ali surprised the world once again. There he was, with the whole world watching, as, with shaking arms, he lit the Olympic torch!

 

Behind the scenes Olympics officials were holding their breath, afraid that with his physical affictions Ali might do something to embarrass himself and the Olympics. But it didn't happen, as Ali kept a steady gaze on that flame, fought his shaking limbs, and lit that torch.

 

There, for all the world to see, was Muhammad Ali saying, in essence, what he could no longer verbalize, "I AM A PROUD OLYMPIAN!"

 

79b3b959dfdd896898936e5b37f9d3e0413f7fda

 

It's impossible for me to express my multitude of emotions now with today's sad news.

 

RIP Champ. Both inside and outside the ring, you really were the greatest.

With my user name, it's obvious that he was right in my wheelhouse during the '60s and '70s. He, Babe Ruth, and Michael Jordan were the greatest athletic figures of the 20th Century.

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on one hand, i was surprised to hear he was only 74.

 

and on the other...

 

I'm surprised he lived that long.

 

(what with having to lug around what had to've been a pair of 100 lb. balls all his life.)

 

'cause, brother, did he ever have a set.

 

rest in peace.

With my user name, it's obvious that he was right in my wheelhouse during the '60s and '70s. He, Babe Ruth, and Michael Jordan were the greatest athletic figures of the 20th century.

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I'm confused. The line attributed to me was not my post. My post was about my user name and Ruth, Jordan, and Ali.

 

oh wait, i see what happened.

 

you must have accidentally removed the quotes when you quoted someone else (which is easy to do, it's happened to me a few times.)

 

my total bad.

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With my user name, it's obvious that he was right in my wheelhouse during the '60s and '70s. He, Babe Ruth, and Michael Jordan were the greatest athletic figures of the 20th century.

 

I might add GORDIE HOWE and Y.A. TITTLE to that list, but I'd rather let the sportswriters fight that out.

 

I remember all the hype and pre fight funny and clever poetry before his title fight with Liston.  I was behind him in every fight that followed, and on his side during all his Viet Nam troubles.

 

He made the sport of boxing more interesting, entertaining and exciting.

 

There'll never be another like him, and surely wish him to rest in peace.

 

So, relax and have a fine trip home, Cassius.

 

 

Sepiatone

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One of my Fondest Memories of Muhammad Ali is when he spent time with the Beatles in Miami Beach.

 

It seems like one of the ED Sullivan Shows was filmed in Miami Beach or just The Beatles segment.

 

And I can still see him in the ring kidding around with Ringo.

 

An acquaintance of mine bought a glossy blow up of the whole thing framed; it cost him $100.

 

The 1960s were full of a lot of ugly things, but The Beatles and Muhammad Ali were refreshingly honest and entertaining for me.

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The 1960s were full of a lot of ugly things, but The Beatles and Muhammad Ali were refreshingly honest and entertaining for me.

 

Who could have guessed back in 1964 that the Fab Four and The Greatest would become giants of the 20th century?

 

87b458d8a4537c5afcb759b5a172d47c.jpg

The unforgettable summit meeting in Miami Beach on February 18, 1964 

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450px-Ali-Liston_II.jpg

 

This is one of the most iconic images of Ali in the ring, standing over Sonny Liston screaming at him to get up in their 1965 rematch. Ali was the underdog going into the rematch, most boxing critics regarding his victory over Sonny the previous year as a fluke.

 

Ali trained hard for the rematch, wanting to prove to the world once and for all that he was the master of Liston. That the fight ended as a still controversial first round knockout denied him that satisfaction.

 

Ali later acknowledged, by the way, that the first time he fought Sonny Liston (when he won the crown in Miami in 1964) was the only time he was afraid of an opponent.

 

One of my proudest possessions is a copy of the famed photo above autographed by Ali.

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One of my Fondest Memories of Muhammad Ali is when he spent time with the Beatles in Miami Beach.

 

It seems like one of the ED Sullivan Shows was filmed in Miami Beach or just The Beatles segment.

 

And I can still see him in the ring kidding around with Ringo.

 

An acquaintance of mine bought a glossy blow up of the whole thing framed; it cost him $100.

 

The 1960s were full of a lot of ugly things, but The Beatles and Muhammad Ali were refreshingly honest and entertaining for me.

Princess, have you seen that dvd of the Beatles in America?

 

It has their arrival, and the build-up to their three Ed Sullivan shows and some stuff about when they were in Miami Beach too where they met Ali. 

 

It is greatly entertaining with all the behind the scenes footage.

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450px-Ali-Liston_II.jpg

 

 

Ali later acknowledged, by the way, that the first time he fought Sonny Liston (when he won the crown in Miami in 1964) it was the only time in which he was afraid of an opponent..

 

He should have been afraid, particularly in Round 5 when he was temporarily blinded and had to avoid Liston at all costs. Remember, Liston twice had clobbered the two-time heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson in bouts stopped in the first round.

 

Fortunately, Ali was able to pummel Liston in Round 6, which resulted in the defending champion's inability to continue. And the rest was history.

 

 

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In 1964 I was the only person I knew who thought CMC had a chance against Sonny Liston.  I was laughed at until the fight was over then everyone was strangely silent.  He was my man after that even when he was called a daft dodger and coward.  I later came to believe not that the war was all that wrong but that we were not supporting our troops as they deserved with the proper weapons to fight with.  I'm glad my last memory of him was 20 years ago holding the torch at the Atlanta Olympics.  RIP, Mr. Ali.  

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ESPN Classics is running classic Ali fights right now on its "30 for 30" schedule. I caught the last few rounds of "Rumble in the Jungle" and "Thrilla in Manilla" is just underway. I think they will be showing and re-running several of his fights for a while today. RIP, Ali.

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I very much enjoyed the relationship between Ali and Howard Cosell. These guys made a great team. Cosell would make verbal jabs at Ali and Ali would make fun of Cosell, jabing him right back. This was fun to watch. Even when it appeared some sensitive subject was touched upon, they quickly regrouped and left me smiling.

 

R.I.P. Muhammad Ali

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He should have been afraid, particularly in Round 5 when he was temporarily blinded and had to avoid Liston at all costs. Remember, Liston twice had clobbered the two-time heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson in bouts stopped in the first round.

 

Fortunately, Ali was able to pummel Liston in Round 6, which resulted in the defending champion's inability to continue. And the rest was history.

 

 

It was the salve used on Liston's facial cut that got into Clay's eyes, blinding him. When he got back to his corner at the end of the fifth, an hysterical Cassius started yelling to trainer Angelo Dundee that he couldn't see and to cut off his gloves. Dundee tried to wash the salve out of his eyes as best he could.

 

Dundee said, words to the effect, "Cut them off? This is the big time. Get out there!" and he pushed Clay back into the ring when the bell rang for the sixth. Clay still couldn't see but he got on his bicycle to stay out of Liston's reach, his eyes cleared and he started to score on Liston big time. That took the heart out of Sonny who quit on his stool at the beginning of the 7th, making Cassius (soon to become Ali) champ.

 

"I shook up the world!" Ali shouted running around the ring. But without Angelo Dundee in his corner, forcing him to go out in the sixth round still blind, Ali would have lost and not become champion.

 

Who knows how much we would be talking about Ali today if Angie Dundee had not been in his corner that Miami night.

 

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Some details about Ali's final moments have been revealed by a family spokesperson and one of the champ's daughters.

 

He officially died of septic shock at 9:10pm MT, his family around him, his daughters whispering in his ear that they loved him and it was okay to let go.

 

One of his daughters said that at the end all of his organs failed but his heart kept beating for 30 minutes afterward. Doctors said they had never seen anything like it before.

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