Muhammad Ali A Champion in and Out of the Ring!
By Ken Hissner: I first met Muhammad Ali in 1973 in Center City, Philadelphia. He was in a crowd and just had his jaw broken in losing to Ken Norton. An old timer said to him, “Next time you fight Norton, be a man, not a boy!” Ali replied, “Did you call me Roy?”
Ali was more than a world heavyweight champion. I would go to his training camp in Deer Lake and watch him come out and entertain visitors by the bus load.
Behind that boisterous mouth was a real humanitarian. In 1990 he brought back 15 American hostages from Iraq. Being a Muslim and his friend, Billy Crystal a Jew, went to Israel and started a Performing Arts program.
The following quotes are from Ali.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth!”
In the heavyweight Olympic trials, he lost to Percy Price but was given a second chance dropping to light heavyweight and winning the trials and the Olympic Gold Medal.
I understand in high school, he may have been last academically in his class. Go figure.
In Ali’s pro debut, he got paid for beating up a police officer named Tunney Hunsaker.
“Don’t count the days, make the days count!
Ali was first knocked down by Sonny Banks in his eleventh fight and came back to stop him in 4.
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe – then I can achieve it!”
Henry Cooper had Ali down in his nineteenth fight. Angelo Dundee put his glove between rounds to give him time to re-coup.
“If you even dream of beating me, then you better wake up and apologize!”
Ali named the round he would stop his opponent like “Moore in 4!”
“I should be a postage stamp. That is the only way I’ll ever get licked!”
In his twenty-seventh fight, he never looked better in defeating knockout artist Cleveland Williams, 69-5-2, in 3 rounds.
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life!”
Ali was 46-2 when he fought Ron Lyle, 30-2-1, and after ten rounds, the scores were for Lyle 49-43, 46-45, and even at 46-46. Lyle was against the ropes doing an imitation of Ali’s rope-a-dope hand’s held up high, taking punches, when the referee Ferd Hernandez suddenly stopped the fight!
“A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life!”
Ali lost to “Smokin” Joe Frazier but came back to defeat him twice. He lost to Ken Norton but came back to beat him twice. He lost to Leon Spinks but beat him in the rematch.
“Hating people due to their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong!”
Like many orthodox boxers, he had problems with southpaws. He lost to southpaw Amos Johnson in the amateurs. “Live every day as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right!”
He lost to Donnie Hall in the amateurs but beat him the other four times.
In 1977, I had my picture taken with Ali and, for some reason, said as it was being taken, “Why are you fighting all these bums?” The look on his face was like, “What you talking about, Willis?”
Visited him in 1973 two weeks after first meeting him two weeks prior at his Cherry Hill, New Jersey home. When he came from another room to greet me, I said, “Why didn’t you give Doug Jones a rematch?” I never got another word in after he said, “Come on in and sit down, boy!”
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