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The Greatest passed away

June 4, 2016, 12:07 a.m.
Posts: 33830
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Muhammad Ali was an amazing athlete and a man who stood up to ALL his opponents. He was and will always be an inspiration.

It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.
- Josiah Stamp

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
- H.G. Wells

June 4, 2016, 6:58 a.m.
Posts: 4841
Joined: May 19, 2003

Yeah , I can't think of too many ( any ? ) high profile athletes today who would forfeit a good chunk of their prime careers for standing up for what they believe in .

The guy was world champion . . . The fact that he was even drafted is a bit suspect . Can you even imagine someone like LeBron being drafted to go fight an ideological war in this time ?

And too bad that his voice , and presence , couldn't have been a little louder in his latter years to help America deal with their Islamaphobia .

June 4, 2016, 7:23 a.m.
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Joined: Dec. 23, 2003

June 4, 2016, 9:28 a.m.
Posts: 3368
Joined: Dec. 10, 2002

"May a commune of gay, Marxist Muslim illegal immigrants use your tax dollars to open a drive-thru abortion clinic in your church."

June 4, 2016, 9:45 a.m.
Posts: 8242
Joined: Dec. 23, 2003

June 4, 2016, 11:28 a.m.
Posts: 3368
Joined: Dec. 10, 2002

He was such a huge a personality Professionals legends gravitated to him like children.

"May a commune of gay, Marxist Muslim illegal immigrants use your tax dollars to open a drive-thru abortion clinic in your church."

June 4, 2016, 8:52 p.m.
Posts: 323
Joined: June 23, 2011

Don't begrudge a life well lived.

His legacy will live on! Author of Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides and Locals' Guide to Fraser Valley Rides.

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June 5, 2016, 11:15 a.m.
Posts: 3738
Joined: May 23, 2006

Don't remember Muhammad Ali as a sanctified sports hero. He was a powerful, dangerous political force

Muhammad Ali with his chief attorney Hayden Covington, right, on June 19, 1967 in Houston, Tex., as Ali goes to trial on charges of refusing to be inducted into the armed services. (Ed Kolenovsky / Associated Press)

Dave Zirin

Muhammad Ali's saga is without parallel: the champion boxer who was the most famous draft resister in history; a man whose phone was bugged by the Johnson and Nixon administrations yet who later was invited to the White House of Gerald Ford; a prodigal son whom his hometown city council in Louisville, Ky., condemned, but who a few years later had a main street renamed in his honor and today has a museum that bears his name.

His life was one of polarization and reconciliation, anger and love, and a ferocious, uncompromising commitment to nonviolence, all delivered through the scandalously dirty vessel of corruption known as boxing. Few have ever walked so confidently and casually from man to myth, and that journey was well earned.

As football great Jim Brown said to me last year: [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;It was unbelievable, the courage he had. He wasn[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;t just a championship athlete. He was a champion who fought for his people[HTML_REMOVED]#8230;. The man used his athletic ability as a platform to project himself right up there with world leaders [HTML_REMOVED]#8230; going after things that very few people have the courage to go after. From the standpoint of his ability to perform and his ability to be involved with the world, Ali was the most important sports figure in history.[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;

Or, as Bill Russell said in 1967 in supporting Ali[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;s decision to risk five years in prison for resisting the draft: [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;I envy Muhammad Ali…. He has something I have never been able to attain and something very few people possess: He has absolute and sincere faith. I'm not worried about Muhammad Ali. He is better equipped than anyone I know to withstand the trials in store for him. What I'm worried about is the rest of us.[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;

Ali[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;s death, however, should be an opportunity to remember what made him so dangerous in the first place. The best place to start would be to recall the part of him that died decades ago: his voice. No athlete, no politician, no preacher ever had a voice quite like his or used it as effectively as he did. Ali's voice was playful, lilting, with a rhythm that matched his otherworldly footwork in the boxing ring. It's a voice that forced you to listen lest you miss a joke, a gibe or a flash of joy.

Retired New York Times sportswriter Robert Lipsyte said to me, [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;Before everything else, what I[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;ll remember about the young Ali was that he was so much fun.[HTML_REMOVED]#8221; And that his voice had a physical beauty that [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;beat you to death with his attractiveness.[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;

With that voice, face and body, the man Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. could have been Michael Jordan before Jordan: an icon of ungodly wealth and conspicuous consumption.

But Cassius Clay chose to be Muhammad Ali and do something different with that voice. He used it to speak out from a hyper-exalted sports platform to change the world. He joined the Nation of Islam in frustration with the pace and demands of the civil rights movement. He was willing to go to jail in opposition to the war in Vietnam. But one has to hear the voice, and read the words, to understand what exactly made it so dangerous and, by extension, made it all matter.

Imagine not only an athlete but a public figure telling these kinds of unvarnished truths. To this day it is awe-inspiring that he once bellowed [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;God damn the white man[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;s money[HTML_REMOVED]#8221; at a time when such words were more than shocking [HTML_REMOVED]#8212; they were sacrilege.

It is awe-inspiring that, when facing five years in prison, Ali said: [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;I strongly object to the fact that so many newspapers have given the American public and the world the impression that I have only two alternatives in this stand [HTML_REMOVED]#8212; either I go to jail or go to the Army. There is another alternative, and that alternative is justice. If justice prevails, if my constitutional rights are upheld, I will be forced to go neither to the Army nor jail. In the end, I am confident that justice will come my way, for the truth must eventually prevail.[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;

He was equally moving when he said on another occasion: [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;Boxing is nothing, just satisfying to some bloodthirsty people. I[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;m no longer a Cassius Clay, a Negro from Kentucky. I belong to the world, the black world. This is more than money.[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;

In 1967, long before it was obvious to most, Ali connected the black freedom struggle to the injustices of the war in Vietnam, saying: [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I'm not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again: The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people, they wouldn't have to draft me, I'd join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I'll go to jail, so what? We've been in jail for 400 years.[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;

We haven[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;t heard Ali speak for himself in more than a generation, and it says something damning about this country that he was only truly embraced after he lost his power of speech, stripped of that beautiful voice. Ali may have seemed like he was from another world, but his greatest gift was that he gave us quite a simple road map to walk his path. It is not about being a world-class athlete or an impossibly beautiful and charismatic person. It is simply to stand up for what you believe in.

Political courage might seem to be in short supply, but it was inside a young boxer from Louisville who dreamed about being King of the World.

Goodbye, Champ. Rest in power and peace.

Dave Zirin is the sports editor at the Nation and the author of, most recently, [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;Brazil[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;s Dance With the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics and the Fight for Democracy.[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;


Freedom of contract. We sell them guns that kill them; they sell us drugs that kill us.

June 6, 2016, 10:37 a.m.
Posts: 3738
Joined: May 23, 2006

Freedom of contract. We sell them guns that kill them; they sell us drugs that kill us.

June 6, 2016, 10:51 a.m.
Posts: 3738
Joined: May 23, 2006

Stand and Deliver: Ali’s Most Important Round

Posted By John Hutchison On June 6, 2016 @ 1:53 am

When it was mentioned at all, they called it The Ugly Middle Sister. Of Muhammad Ali’s three fights with Joe Frazier, the 1st and 3d are prominently cited. But on January 28, 1974, once again at Madison Square Garden, they met for the second time. As the encomiums on Ali’s life stream forth, that narrative of talent, courage and personal principle has no coherence without a discussion of the crucial moment that night in 1974 would foretell.

Frazier came into the bout having lost the title to George Foreman in humiliating fashion; and Ali, coming off two physically arduous and damaging fights with Ken Norton, was at the lowest psychological state of his career, worse than even the period when he was barred from boxing for refusing to cooperate with the military draft.

Ali had avenged a loss to Norton and defeated him in the second fight. But he was unhappy with his performance and for the first time had begun questioning his ring skills — to the point that he seriously considered calling off the Frazier match. He had fought 13 times since reemerging after 43 months of disbarment, and had lost only to Norton and Frazier. What ultimately propelled him to proceed against Frazier — apart from having been defeated by him in their fabled first encounter — was the obvious fact that it was necessary in order to get a shot at Foreman’s title.

The second Frazier fight, and not his return after his suspension, marked the actual beginning of the second half of Ali’s career. Despite the layoff, Ali was only 28 when he re-emerged in 1970, and had never been seriously hurt. Joe Louis, for example, lost more than four years to WWII and then successfully defended his title four times. It was the damage inflicted by Norton in their two meetings — a broken jaw and a severely sprained right hand, added to the many hits he took — that accentuated the accumulating years for Ali and provided him his initial sense of ring mortality. At his training camp a despondent Ali remarked to a visitor, “You see any people around here? People don’t hang out with losers.” The antic brashness and doggerel that had been a staple of the man since the then–Cassius Clay first emerged on the boxing scene, was nowhere in evidence.

And yet he trained hard for Frazier and was in shape. The dancing master was in evidence through the first half of the fight, on his toes, circling, sticking and floating. The judges’ cards had him winning four or five of the first six rounds. In the sixth Frazier began scoring with hooks, started verbally taunting and gesturing toward Ali, and only barely lost the round when Ali closed with a spirited last-second effort.

The next two rounds were all Frazier: bobbing, ducking, swarming with incessant headlong rushes, his hooks were landing with staccato thuds. The pressure was relentless, and Ali, now no longer dancing but retreating to the ropes, must have been revisiting the last Norton battle and the way in which he had slowed in the middle rounds and Norton had pursued and scored repeatedly. But there was something else about that fight that was significant, and what Ali had done next plumbed all of his natural athletic instincts and repertoire as a fighter. At the very least it was uncharacteristic of his style, and clearly a stopgap move. In the closing seconds of the final round Ali had practically ceased all movement, planted his feet and traded freely with Norton. It was effective enough to win him the decision.

So late in the eight with the momentum all Frazier’s, from the corner came shouts from Angelo Dundee, Ali’s trainer: “Stay there! Stay there!” Stop moving, stay in the center of the ring, plant your heels, throw the left, the right, double the combinations if you can, then tie him up. Stay. Plant. Left. Right. Double up. Clinch. Don’t back up. Don’t back up. And Ali listened; and in the ninth round literally commenced the second half of his career. The legs, which had taken him to renown, were now obviously only a part of the arsenal. The voluble, headstrong, mercurial legend with the outsize ego and his own unwavering ideas on the techniques of boxing would, in the exigencies of the situation, incorporate another skill set into the mix. With everything on the line — his pride, his fame, another title shot — all seamlessly rolled into that inimitable self-regard, in that instant he would become the complete fighter. Ultimately, the best of athletes achieve that pinnacle because they prove to be coachable, and Ali was no exception.

The ninth, in my estimation, was as tactically brilliant a single round as Ali ever fought. And he had to do it with the lingering after effects of a thunderous overhand right at the close of the eight round which caught him flush, pushed his face into slack bewilderment and nearly had him out on his feet. Ali had already proven he could take a punch, although the two most devastating blows and knockdowns he’d experienced, a left hook from Frazier in their first fight, and a similar shot from Henry Cooper in London, both occurred at the ends of rounds. Had Frazier had another 15 seconds at his disposal in the eight, he could very well have ended it. Between rounds, it’s hardly idle speculation to suggest that Ali ruminated on the times the bell had saved him and, at this juncture, how he would need to spend the next 12 minutes of his life. That gangly 12-year-old growing up in the segregated South who put on the gloves for the first time and was determined to make his mark upon the world couldn’t have been far from Ali’s thoughts as he awaited the bell. We might even surmise that in that portentous instant the internal poetics of the man became, in effect, nothing short of Shakespearean, and it was clear that, ultimately, as had always been the case, Cassius from bondage would deliver Cassius.

Ali proceeded to spend the entire next three minutes essentially standing in place and punching, with Dundee continuously screaming, “Stay there!” Watching it was to witness the very best in the lineage of boxing history filtered through one man. Ali’s admitted influences had always been apparent: Gene Tunney’s timing and ability to gauge range; Ray Robinson’s hand speed and lancing jabs; Willle Pep’s incomparable evasiveness and defense. Then in the final minute of the concluding 12th Ali put it — and them — all together in spectacular fashion, landing upwards of 40 times in those 60 seconds with a furious medley of flat-footed combinations.

Styles make fights, Dundee was always fond of saying, and his guy that night sculpted a new one out of the gifts of the gene pool, all that he had learned, and his genius for improvisation. Long after he named himself “the greatest,” Ali had gone one better, and had become the consummate journeyman. It was a vision of pure will and eclectic combativeness, physicality and prowess honed to a singular moment, without an ounce of awkwardness, and breathtaking in its precision. From what I could see, it even rhymed.

Freedom of contract. We sell them guns that kill them; they sell us drugs that kill us.

June 6, 2016, 9:16 p.m.
Posts: 3738
Joined: May 23, 2006

Ok, I don't see it. Maybe some of you UFC types…….

Freedom of contract. We sell them guns that kill them; they sell us drugs that kill us.

June 6, 2016, 9:41 p.m.
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Joined: Aug. 14, 2005

Toronto author and fight commentator Ed Zawadzki still gets emotional recalling the time he brought Muhammad Ali to Toronto for a George Chuvalo testimonial dinner back in 1989.

Zawadzki picked Ali up at Pearson International and they were on their way downtown when Ali asked Zawadzki, the son of Polish immigrants, about his family. The Etobicoke native mentioned to the former three-time world heavyweight champion of the world that his mom Wanda had spent years in a slave labour camp during the Second World War.

“Suddenly, he said he wanted to meet her,” said Zawadzki. “So even though we were already halfway downtown, we turned around. When we walked into our condo, Muhammad walked up to my mom, gave her a big hug, and the two of them sat together, and talked and hugged for a good 45 minutes. She told him all about her experiences in the camp.”

Zawadzki said it was a couple of days he’ll never forget. The dinner he put on for Chuvalo featured a number of former world boxing greats, but Ali, he said, was the only one who never asked for anything.

“He didn’t ask for a penny, because he loved George so much,” Zawadzki said. “When Ali heard that this was being done for George, that George was having problems in his life, he made a complete commitment. No matter what day, no matter what time, Ali said he’d be here in Toronto for George.”

Ali and Chuvalo, of course, staged one of the greatest heavyweight fights in memory, their 15-round brawl on March 29, 1966 at Maple Leaf Gardens for Ali’s world title. Ali won by unanimous decision but said afterwards that the Canadian was the toughest opponent he had ever faced.

They fought again in 1972 and again Chuvalo went the distance. Since meeting in the ring, there’s been a real bond between the two, a bond of affection and respect. Zawadzki, who has promoted numerous fights and concerts over the years, remembers how the crowds at Pearson went berserk when Ali stepped into the terminal after arriving in Toronto from Mexico City. He said “The Greatest” has an aura that he has never seen before or since.

All these people were coming forward, then all of a sudden this tiny woman who I noticed from 20 feet away, made a beeline to Ali, ran up and jumped into his arms. I didn’t know whether I should run interference and grab her before she reached him. But it was Shirley Temple. She was on the same flight as Ali’s wife Lonnie.

“We had so much fun over those few days,” Zawadzki remembered. “And funny?”

Zawadzki has a number of anecdotes about Ali’s visit to Toronto that week, including a number that were, you might say, not exactly politically correct.

“When my brother Rich found out Ali was at our place, he was over the moon. When he got home, Ali looked at him and said, ‘I know you. You’re the guy who called me a n…er.’ And my brother went ‘Waaaaa?'”

“Growing up, Ali was my hero,” said Zawadzki. “I loved him and my dad loved him and before I met him, I was expecting a lot. But he exceeded all my expectations.”

“You know what, I’m so sad. This is the first time in years that I’ve cried,” added Zawadzki, of Ali’s illness. “Other than my own family and my close friends, the two people that have meant the most to me in my life are Chuvalo and Ali.”

“I remember me and (the late Toronto matchmaker) Vince Bagnato talked to him for hours and hours, and it was wonderful. When you walked away from Muhammad Ali, you were a better human.”

June 6, 2016, 9:47 p.m.
Posts: 3738
Joined: May 23, 2006

Ali won by unanimous decision but said afterwards that the Canadian was the toughest opponent he had ever faced.

I remember Ali saying that about Chuvalo. Never knocked him down.
Also was complimentary about Oscar whatshisname………

Freedom of contract. We sell them guns that kill them; they sell us drugs that kill us.

June 8, 2016, 10:21 a.m.
Posts: 3738
Joined: May 23, 2006

Looking back in anguish Ali wrote, [HTML_REMOVED]#8220;Turning my back on Malcolm was one of the mistakes that I regret most in my life. I wish I[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;d been able to tell Malcolm I was sorry, that he was right about so many things. But he was killed before I got the chance. He was a visionary ahead of us all[HTML_REMOVED]#8230;I might never have become a Muslim if it hadn[HTML_REMOVED]#8217;t been for Malcolm. If I could go back and do it over again, I would never have turned my back on him.[HTML_REMOVED]#8221;

Freedom of contract. We sell them guns that kill them; they sell us drugs that kill us.

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