Tag: Muhammad Ali

Billy Crystal goes 15 Rounds with Muhammad Ali

Sunday, 5 June, 2016 0 Comments

Next Friday, in Louisville, Kentucky, Billy Crystal will go 15 Rounds with Muhammad Ali, one last time. It should be a memorable eulogy.

“Ali, gloves to his heads, elbows to his ribs, stood and swayed and was rattled and banged and shaken like a grasshopper at the top of a reed when the wind whips, and the ropes shook and swung like sheets in a storm, and Foreman would lunge with his right at Ali’s chin and Ali go flying back out of reach by a half-inch, and half out of the ring, and back in to push at Foreman’s elbow and hug his own ribs and sway, and sway just further, and lean back and come forward from the ropes and slide off a punch and fall back into the ropes with all the calm of a man swinging in the rigging. All the while, he used his eyes. They looked like stars, and he feinted Foreman out with his eyes, flashing white eyeballs of panic he did not feel which pulled Foreman through into the trick of lurching after him on a wrong move.” — Norman Mailer, The Fight (1975)

The art and aristry of Muhammad Ali

Saturday, 4 June, 2016 0 Comments

“I’m the greatest, I’m a bad man, and I’m pretty!” — Muhammad Ali

The April 1968 Esquire cover of Muhammad Ali posing as the martyr Saint Sebastian was one of the most iconic images of the Sixties, combining the provocative issues of race, religion and war. This is one of the greatest magazine covers ever because it illustrates the boxer’s persecution for his beliefs in a way that is visually elegant and economical.

Ali Esquire

Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on 17 January 1942. He died yesterday, 3 June 2016. He was The Greatest Of All Time.

Ego fighter

Thursday, 30 April, 2015 0 Comments

Norman Mailer raised the bar high for those who write about boxing with the opening lines of King of the Hill, his take on the “Fight of the Century” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971. Snippet:

King of the HIll“It is the great word of the 20th Century. If there is a single word our century has added to the potentiality of language, it is ego. Everything we have done in this century, from monumental feats to nightmares of human destruction, has been a function of that extraordinary state of the psyche which gives us authority to declare we are sure of ourselves when we are not.

Ego is driving a point through to a conclusion you are obliged to reach without knowing too much about the ground you cross between. You suffer for a larger point. Every good prizefighter must have a large ego, then, because he is trying to demolish a man he doesn’t know too much about, he is unfeeling — which is the ground floor of the ego; and he is full of techniques — which are the wings of ego. What separates the noble ego of prizefighters from the lesser ego of authors is that the fighter goes through experiences in the ring which are occasionally immense, incommunicable except to fighters who have been as good, or to women who have gone through every minute of an anguish-filled birth, experiences which are finally mysterious.”

Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. has the ego thing. “All roads lead to Floyd Mayweather,” he’s fond of saying. He has filmed himself surrounded by heaps of dollars, and he likes to have $10,000 in cash in his pocket as walking-around money: “You never know when you might need a Brioni shirt.” As a child, he saw family members destroyed by drugs and he learned early on to look after Number One. HBO boxing commentator Jim Lampley called Mayweather “an often aggressively distasteful human being whose behaviors are a blight on the boxing landscape.” In the ring, though, he is one of the great defensive specialists in boxing history, as his 47-0 record shows.

Messi, Ali, Menuhin

Saturday, 10 March, 2012

It was the week of Lionel Messi. The diminutive Argentine striker struck five as Barcelona demolished their German opponents in the Champions League. The aftershocks were heard all around the world and The Himalayan Times was moved to declare “Messi runs rampage“. Our young century now has a megastar capable of mesmerizing audiences in the way Muhammad Ali did during the 20th century — minus the activism and eloquence, of course. But these are different times and Messi’s fans want goals, not political or religious declarations.

And what does Yehudi Menuhin have to do with all this? Well, he possessed the elegance of Ali and the agility of Messi and he combined those physical abilities with a heart and a soul that found sublime expression through the violin. He puts it all together here in a memorable interpretation of the Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Johannes Brahms.

Muhammad Ali in the land of blarney

Tuesday, 17 January, 2012

blarney: flattering talk (noun); to cajole with flattery; wheedle (verb). In the boxing record of Muhammad Ali, who is 70 today, a win over Alvin ‘Al Blue’ Lewis by means of a TKO (technical knockout) in the 11th round is recorded as having taken place in Dublin, Ireland, on 19 July 1972. On the eve […]

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