This March 29th marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Muhammad Ali-George Chuvalo world title fight. The fight, not widely expected beforehand to be too memorable – Ali, having trouble finding U.S venues willing to host his fights due to his political beliefs, only took on Chuvalo as a late replacement because he was also finding it tough getting the big fights – instead proved very interesting.
Heavyweight legend Muhammad Ali had hoped to be in the UK today, to officially open the “I am the Greatest” exhibition honoring his life and career at The O2. But, as reported by The Mirror, the 74-year-old icon was told by doctors that he needed to build up his strength for the long flight from the U.S. Reportedly, Ali, who has been bravely battling Parkinson’s since being diagnosed in 1984 (but many of Ali’s fans believe the great man was actually suffering from the disease a fair bit sooner than then; perhaps as early as the late 1970s, when he was of course still fighting at the highest level) will get his fitness levels up as high as is possible for a man who has Parkinson’s, and the plan is for “The Greatest” to then visit the UK, and the exhibition, in the summer.
Due in large part to former WBA heavyweight ruler David Haye, a petition designed to get the one and only Muhammad Ali a honorary Knighthood in Great Britain is gaining plenty of momentum. According to a report in The Mail, 12,000 people have already visited Change.org and signed their support – included amongst these people, fellow boxers Anthony Joshua and female Olympic gold medal winner Nicola Adams.
Joshua, who captured his Olympic gold medal some 52 years after the then Cassius Clay first rose to prominence by winning his, says Ali had a huge influence on his life and career:
At The O2 Arena in London next month, an exhibition will open – until August – that will celebrate the legendary career of the one and only Muhammad Ali, “The Greatest.” And Ali himself, who has recently celebrated his 74th birthday, is expected to fly to the UK – perhaps for the very last time – to visit the tribute that is sure to be a massive hit with fight fans.
But London’s own David Haye wants the UK to go one step further, and recognize Ali with an honorary Knighthood. Haye has launched a petition, inviting people to sign it and, as he says, give the great man what he deserves.
Boxing legend, icon and global superstar Muhammad Ali today celebrates his 74th birthday. And, judging by the numerous photos his daughters – May May amongst them – put up on FaceBook, the living legend had a great time celebrating last night.
Without doubt the single most important and influential athlete of the 20th Century, Ali has been battling Parkinson’s disease for over thirty years now, yet he has managed to keep going, even out-living a number of his former opponents: Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Jimmy Ellis, Ron Lyle and Sir Henry Cooper among them.
An abstract portrait of legendary boxing champion Muhammad Ali, uniquely composed of memories, anecdotes, interviews, personal encounters, insider stories, artwork, photos, sketches, etc. 220 pages.
Bob Foster (Ali opponent and former Light Heavyweight champion): “I was on the same card at Caesars with Muhammad Ali. He fought Jerry Quarry and I was fighting his brother Mike Quarry (billed as “The Quarry Brothers vs. The Soul Brothers”). Before the fights that night, Ali bet me $1,000 that he could stop Jerry Quarry before I could stop Mike. I said, ‘I’ll take that bet.’ Because I knew Ali couldn’t punch that hard. And Jerry was tough. I ended up winning the bet. I knocked Mike Quarry out with one shot. And Ali paid me too. ‘Cause he knew if he didn’t, I’d have kicked his ass, right there in Caesars Palace!”
Mrs. Deanna Dempsey (Wife of former Heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey): “We met Muhammad Ali in San Juan, Puerto Rico after he beat Jean-Pierre Coopman in 1976. He was young and handsome and vital and so full of life. After the fight, as he was coming down the steps from the ring, Ali spotted Jack and he said, ‘Mr. Dempsey, can I call you Jack?’ Jack said, ‘Everybody calls me Jack.’ Then Muhammad said, Oh Jack, you were the greatest!’ And Jack said, ‘But Muhammad, I thought you always said YOU were the greatest?’ Ali said, ‘Jack. When I say I’m the greatest, it’s all bullshit!'”
StageOne Family Theatre, Louisville, KY’s professional theatre for young audiences, presents a new look at the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali with the world premiere production of And in This Corner…Cassius Clay, on January 17, 2015, Ali’s 73rd birthday. Dubbed “Play it Forward: Champions Night,” the evening will feature a gala dinner as well as the play, and a post-show champagne reception honoring the Champ and the new production. The event will be co-hosted by StageOne Family Theatre, The Muhammad Ali Center and The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. Performances will continue atThe Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts from January 19th to February 14th.
Approximately 13 years before Muhammad Ali ever stepped into a boxing ring with Leon Spinks, then Cassius Clay had overcome great odds by defeating Sonny Liston to become World Heavyweight Champion.
Ali went on to successfully defend that title nine times against such legendary boxers as George Chuvalo, Cleveland Williams, and Floyd Patterson.
However, Ali was stripped of the belt because of his refusal to report for induction into the U.S. military for the Vietnam War.
Much of boxing made a mistake underestimating the capability of the underdog champion to beat a pound-for-pound god. Floyd Mayweather Jr. must have realized he committed an equally big mistake handpicking the Argentine assault guru, Marcos Maidana.
Heavy favorite Mayweather lost yesterday many times over and in ways more than one even though the bias opinions didn’t reflect the judgment and cards didn’t read the way it should. However, Floyd’s poor performance in the fight didn’t cause him less a superb boxer in my estimation because I never was ever blinded by the facade and shows in the past like the jerks. I remain a fan and admirer of Floyd’s wizardry in the ring. Maidana was not underrated. It was Mayweather who was overrated by the normally jerk “experts.” And for them, it was well worth it as they all cry a bucket now and ask “bakit” (why).
The unforgettable first fight between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston is 50-years old on Tuesday and yesterday, the gloves the then Cassius Clay wore when he shook up the world sold at auction for just under $900,00. An anonymous bidder now owns this piece of fistic history and the bounty he or she paid goes to show how big and important and just plain special Ali was, is and always will be.
Back a half century ago, nobody thought the brash, somewhat annoying loudmouth would really amount to too much; certainly nobody from the fight fraternity thought Clay stood any chance against the fearsome “unbeatable” Liston. Even today, with Ali’s legend secure, there are many people who refuse to accept Clay’s 7th round retirement victory as legit. Liston took a dive they claimed then and they claim today; and as for the massive controversy the second fight and its “Phantom Punch” caused – forget it!