The Many Fights I've Witnessed Since Ali/Liston 1
I've been a boxing fanatic since I was 7, after hearing Howard Cossell call the fight between the then Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston. I remember Cossell shouting, "WAIT A MINUTE! WAIT A MINUTE! The Champion is not continuing. We have new World Champion, and his name is Cassius Clay!"
From those words on, I was hooked. I've seen every fight in Ali's career, and I've ordered his 19 set DVD collection. I rate Ali as the best heavyweight ever, save for maybe Jack Johnson. There are some striking parallels between the two, as both were reviled as renegades, harassed by the law, had many women and stirred up tremendous controversies.
My favorite Ali fight, though not his best, was the "Rumble in the Jungle", against the believed to be invincible George Foreman. I like it for the way that he won. After the skills of his youth had faded, he found a way to win, against a foe who had demolished the outstanding Joe Frasier, twice, by early knockout.
Of course, "The Rumble" was not Ali's best fight. The best ones were probably the first and third against Frasier. The "Thrilla In Manilla" may well be the greatest fight ever, and certainly the one that took the combatants most near to the limit, short of death. I have it on video, and I've watched it numerous times, and entertain guests, some of whom are new to boxing and quickly become fans when the see it and other tapes in my library.
I am also a big fan of "Sugar" Ray Leonard, and have seen and recorded most of his fights. My two favorites are Leonard/Hearns 1 and Leonard/Hagler. Like Ali, Leonard was a ring magician, and I believe he was the second best welterweight ever. It's unfair to compare fighters of different eras, and maybe the Leonard of his prime could have beaten Robinson. Unfortunately, we'll never know, but the men Leonard beat compare favorably to Robinson's victims.
One boxing story that makes me sad is what became of the "would-have-been-legend", Riddick Bowe. After winning the title from Evander Holyfield, he was robbed in the rematch, in my opinion. A parachutist caused a delay in the match, when Bowe was gaining the advantage, giving Holyfield time to refresh. He went on to squeak out a controversial win. Bowe was set to fight Tyson, and if he beat him, and go on to meet his Olympic nemesis, Lennox Lewis, who was awarded a version of the title. He never won it! But Bowe was destroyed by Andrew Golota, in two DQ victories, and was shot after that. He later got into legal problems for kidnapping his own family. I lost track of its resolution. I'll google the answer and post it in my next blog, unless someone replies with the info.
That all for now. I have to stop somewhere, though I could write forever.