Boxing is not a sport I generally get or appreciate. I don't get the point of watching two people beat the living crap out of each other. When I was a kid I was watching Wide World Of Sports when Boom Boom Mancini pummeled Duk Koo Kim, who died after the match, and it stuck with me. I'll never be a boxing aficionado. Despite that, I really love watching Muhammad Ali fights.
Watching Ali is like watching ballet. The whole "floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee" thing is for real. He was a cocky guy, but he could back it up. He'd write poems about mopping the floor with his opponents:
He will be mine in round nine
and if he makes me sore I'll cut it to four
and if that don't do we'll get him in two
if he run we'll get him in one
Muhammad Ali is also incredibly funny:
Last night I had a dream, When I got to Africa,
I had one hell of a rumble.
I had to beat Tarzan’s behind first,
For claiming to be King of the Jungle.
For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And throw thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad.
just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
I’m so fast, man,
I can run through a hurricane and don't get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
He’ll pay his debt.
I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.
Wait till you see Muhammad Ali.
Also, he's fast. Check out this clip where he dodges 21 punches in 10 seconds. Ali wasn't even in his prime when this fight went down!
Thoughts of Muhammad Ali inevitably turn to the amazing 1996 documentary When we Were Kings. The film captures the events leading up to the legendary Rumble In The Jungle fight between Ali and George Foreman. Foreman was younger, stronger, and bigger than Ali, who was ten years on from his Sonny Liston victory (see photo above). It's not spoiling anything to let you know that Ali won the fight, but what you really need to see is how he wins the fight. The man was a genius in the ring. Really, he was poetry in motion.
Here's the entire film. You really need to see it. This is a portrait of a man who truly owned his self proclaimed title of "King of The World".
It's hard to see Muhammad Ali (who won the gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics) today after years of illness have taken their toll. Still, the world shared a collective moment of awe when he lit the torch at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He was still the King of The World.