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<< When Ali dies there will be quite a few hurry to point out how nasty he was when he was younger but people forget how hard it was for black Americans back then. I think he changed the way many whites thought about blacks. >>



I'd say young Ali was a very negative image of a black American. You weren't living in the States then, but I was a teen. Ali was an outspoken racist, a parrot for the Nation of Islam and had nothing good to say about the US. The NoI wanted to divide the United States, with black Americans getting the southeast and all the white folks getting out of there. And Ali said just that in public. His refusing to serve in the military - saying "I got nuthin' against them Viet Congs" - pissed off a lot of people. He also sometimes prolonged his fights, badly beating an already defeated fighter for round after round when he could already have put him away.


So in what ways was young Ali an improvement over how Joe Louis had changed the way white Americans thought? Ali in the Army would have been used to same as Joe Louis in WWII, as a symbol - fighting occasional demonstration bouts but mostly as a spokesman for the military. Elijah Muhammad told Ali not to go, and he didn't. People also forget that Ali at first applied for an exemption as a "Muslim minister". Islam has no formal ministers and Ali was obviously a boxer, not a preacher. Only when that argument failed did he start to claim to be a conscientious objector. (That was shown to be nonsense when he started ranting and raving at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, saying he wanted to go fight for his "Muslim brothers".)


The older Ali is almost totally different. He has mellowed, got over his racism and become a pretty likeable human being. Sort of like Scrooge after he saw the ghosts of Christmas...


That is the Ali who may indeed have changed opinions, not the wise cracking, angry young man who was hated by many white people.


Joe Frazier was a quiet Christian gentleman who was appalled by Ali's beliefs. (Ali left the Nation of Islam long ago, becoming a conventional non-racist Muslim.) I never heard a bad word about Joe Frazier. Nevertheless, Ali got all the attention by being the villain. Nowadays, he says it was an act. If so, he deserves an Oscar for it.


p.s. Steve, that was indeed a great generation of boxers. Every one of them could have become a champion nowadays. They were our heroes. How many boxers are today?

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Forgot to mention Jimmy Young, Ron Lyle, John Tate and Leon Spinks as other notable heavyweights of the '70s.


With regards to the young Ali, he was definitely a polarizing figure. Amongst blacks older blacks disliked him and the young idolized him. My mom didn't like him at all and said she rooted for Patterson (partially because he was handsome...lol) and she didn't like his bragging. But my mom was a humble person. My dad liked him as a boxing purest. I don't think my dad liked him personally but he liked great athletes and greatly admired Ali's boxing skills but I know, being a baptist Deacon, that he didn't like Ali's life choice.


My oldest brother loved him but he was part of that young generation of blacks at that time. I can certainly understand why Ali was not liked. Especially by white Americans at the time. To young blacks he bucked 'the man'. We have to remember that it was still pretty rare in those days to talk like that about America and the larger society by a black person. I've often heard, away from the spotlight Ali was much subdued and much kinder. It was pretty much a show. Anyway, to my oldest brothers generation he instilled in them a lot of pride. They thought he (and Malcolm X) told the truth and exposed America's faults. Again, older blacks thought he exasperated race relations and slowed down integration. Things were getting better and Ali risked making neutral whites anti black. Who was right? I don't know, I wasn't of age back then.

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Boxing great Joe Frazier dies after cancer fight



PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Joe Frazier had to throw his greatest punch to knock down "The Greatest."


A vicious left hook from Frazier put Muhammad Ali on the canvas in the 15th round in March 1971 when he became the first man to beat him in the Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden.


"That was the greatest thing that ever happened in my life," Frazier said.


It was his biggest night, one that would never come again.

The relentless, undersized heavyweight ruled the division as champion, then spent a lifetime trying to fight his way out of Ali's shadow.


Frazier, who died Monday night after a brief battle with liver cancer at the age of 67, will forever be associated with Ali. No one in boxing would ever dream of anointing Ali as The Greatest unless he, too, was linked to Smokin' Joe.


"I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration," Ali said in a statement. "My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones."


They fought three times, twice in the heart of New York City and once in the morning in a steamy arena in the Thrilla in Manila in the Philippines. They went 41 rounds together. Neither gave an inch and both gave it their all.


In their last fight in Manila in 1975, they traded punches with a fervor that seemed unimaginable among heavyweights. Frazier gave almost as good as he got for 14 rounds, then had to be held back by trainer Eddie Futch as he tried to go out for the final round, unable to see.


"Closest thing to dying that I know of," Ali said afterward.


Ali was as merciless with Frazier out of the ring as he was inside it. He called him a gorilla, and mocked him as an Uncle Tom. But he respected him as a fighter, especially after Frazier won a decision to defend his heavyweight title against the then-unbeaten Ali in a fight that was so big Frank Sinatra was shooting pictures at ringside and both fighters earned an astonishing $2.5 million.


The night at the Garden 40 years ago remained fresh in Frazier's mind as he talked about his life, career and relationship with Ali a few months before he died.


"I can't go nowhere where it's not mentioned," he told The Associated Press.


Bob Arum, who once promoted Ali, said he was saddened by Frazier's passing.


"He was such an inspirational guy. A decent guy. A man of his word," Arum said. "I'm torn up by Joe dying at this relatively young age. I can't say enough about Joe."


Frazier's death was announced in a statement by his family, who asked to be able to grieve privately and said they would announce "our father's homecoming celebration" as soon as possible.


Manny Pacquiao learned of it shortly after he arrived in Las Vegas for his fight Saturday night with Juan Manuel Marquez. Like Frazier in his prime, Pacquiao has a powerful left hook that he has used in his remarkable run to stardom.


"Boxing lost a great champion, and the sport lost a great ambassador," Pacquiao said.


Don King, who promoted the Thrilla in Manila, was described by a spokesman as too upset to talk about Frazier's death.


Though slowed in his later years and his speech slurred by the toll of punches taken in the ring, Frazier was still active on the autograph circuit in the months before he died. In September he went to Las Vegas, where he signed autographs in the lobby of the MGM Grand shortly before Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s fight against Victor Ortiz.


An old friend, Gene Kilroy, visited with him and watched Frazier work the crowd.


"He was so nice to everybody," Kilroy said. "He would say to each of them, 'Joe Frazier, sharp as a razor, what's your name?'"


Frazier was small for a heavyweight, weighing just 205 pounds when he won the title by stopping Jimmy Ellis in the fifth round of their 1970 fight at Madison Square Garden. But he fought every minute of every round going forward behind a vicious left hook, and there were few fighters who could withstand his constant pressure.


His reign as heavyweight champion lasted only four fights - including the win over Ali - before he ran into an even more fearsome slugger than himself. George Foreman responded to Frazier's constant attack by dropping him three times in the first round and three more in the second before their 1973 fight in Jamaica was waved to a close and the world had a new heavyweight champion.


Two fights later, he met Ali in a rematch of their first fight, only this time the outcome was different. Ali won a 12-round decision, and later that year stopped George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire.


There had to be a third fight, though, and what a fight it was. With Ali's heavyweight title at stake, the two met in Manila in a fight that will long be seared in boxing history.


Frazier went after Ali round after round, landing his left hook with regularity as he made Ali backpedal around the ring. But Ali responded with left jabs and right hands that found their mark again and again. Even the intense heat inside the arena couldn't stop the two as they fought every minute of every round with neither willing to concede the other one second of the round.


"They told me Joe Frazier was through," Ali told Frazier at one point during the fight.


"They lied," Frazier said, before hitting Ali with a left hook.


Finally, though, Frazier simply couldn't see and Futch would not let him go out for the 15th round. Ali won the fight while on his stool, exhausted and contemplating himself whether to go on.


"It was unworldly what we had just seen," Arum said. "Two men fighting one of the great wars of all time. It's something I will never forget for all the years I have left."


It was one of the greatest fights ever, but it took a toll. Frazier would fight only two more times, getting knocked out in a rematch with Foreman eight months later before coming back in 1981 for an ill advised fight with Jumbo Cummings.


"They should have both retired after the Manila fight," former AP boxing writer Ed Schuyler Jr. said. "They left every bit of talent they had in the ring that day."


Born in Beaufort, S.C., on Jan 12, 1944, Frazier took up boxing early after watching weekly fights on the black and white television on his family's small farm. He was a top amateur for several years, and became the only American fighter to win a gold medal in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo despite fighting in the final bout with an injured left thumb.


"Joe Frazier should be remembered as one of the greatest fighters of all time and a real man," Arum told the AP in a telephone interview Monday night. "He's a guy that stood up for himself. He didn't compromise and always gave 100 percent in the ring. There was never a fight in the ring where Joe didn't give 100 percent."


After turning pro in 1965, Frazier quickly became known for his punching power, stopping his first 11 opponents. Within three years he was fighting world-class opposition and, in 1970, beat Ellis to win the heavyweight title that he would hold for more than two years.


A woman who answered Ellis' phone in Kentucky said the former champion suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, but she wanted to pass along the family's condolences.


In Philadelphia, a fellow Philadelphia fighter, longtime middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, said Frazier was so big in the city that he should have his own statue, like the fictional Rocky character.


"I saw him at one of my car washes a few weeks ago. He was in a car, just hollering at us, 'They're trying to get me!' That was his hi," Hopkins said. "I'm glad I got to see him in the last couple of months. At the end of the day, I respect the man. I believe at the end of his life, he was fighting to get that respect."


He was a fixture in Philadelphia where he trained fighters in a gym he owned and made a cameo in "Rocky."


It was his fights with Ali that would define Frazier. Though Ali was gracious in defeat in the first fight, he was as vicious with his words as he was with his punches in promoting all three fights - and he never missed a chance to get a jab in at Frazier.


Frazier, who in his later years would have financial trouble and end up running a gym in his adopted hometown of Philadelphia, took the jabs personally. He felt Ali made fun of him by calling him names and said things that were not true just to get under his skin. Those feelings were only magnified as Ali went from being an icon in the ring to one of the most beloved people in the world.


After a trembling Ali lit the Olympic torch in 1996 in Atlanta, Frazier was asked by a reporter what he thought about it.


"They should have thrown him in," Frazier responded.


He mellowed, though, in recent years, preferring to remember the good from his fights with Ali rather than the bad. Just before the 40th anniversary of his win over Ali earlier this year - a day Frazier celebrated with parties in New York - he said he no longer felt any bitterness toward Ali, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and is mostly mute.


"I forgive him," Frazier. "He's in a bad way.








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@ Steve - Ali used to go on about how "I hate my white blood. It is the blood of rapists." In fact, Ali's great grandfather was a poor Irish immigrant who settled in Kentucky a few years after the Civil War and MARRIED a freed slave. Ali was light skinned because he was 1/8th Irish. Nobody had raped anybody. That was pure BS. Also, he used to spout the Nation of Islam nonsense about Allah creating black people, and an evil scientist named Yacoob creating white folks, who would rule for 2,000 years - after which they would be destroyed. I remember older white folks ranting and raving about Ali, wishing every calamity you can think of on him. I can see black kids thinking he was cool, but he certainly pissed off the older generations.

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@ Steve - Ali used to go on about how "I hate my white blood. It is the blood of rapists." In fact, Ali's great grandfather was a poor Irish immigrant who settled in Kentucky a few years after the Civil War and MARRIED a freed slave. Ali was light skinned because he was 1/8th Irish. Nobody had raped anybody. That was pure BS. Also, he used to spout the Nation of Islam nonsense about Allah creating black people, and an evil scientist named Yacoob creating white folks, who would rule for 2,000 years - after which they would be destroyed. I remember older white folks ranting and raving about Ali, wishing every calamity you can think of on him. I can see black kids thinking he was cool, but he certainly pissed off the older generations.


never a boxing fan,but i grew up admiring his generation in the ring.

i remember as a 13/14 y.o. some of the highlights of my year was going to watch the big fights at a rich persons house.

they had a swimming pool and after a big meal we all sat down to watch the fights.

i remember the fights against Ali with fading memory but a great day out.

the house where we watched the fights had a mynah bird which would replicate the doorbell/telephone at various times but i remember it would imitate the ring of the ringside bell during the fights.

great memories.

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just seen this news.

when i was growing up he seemed to be on tv all the time.

certainly a colourful character and led an interesting life.

despite his tv persona he raised many millions of £ for charity with his fundraising and was well received by many people of note.

at my age now i would not be keen on watching him but as a child he was fun.


RIP sir Jimmy..... :rip:


flamboyant as ever is our Jim.

his coffin will be laid on the bar in his favourite hostelry so that people can pay their respects.

followed by a funeral procession to his burial site.

and he will be buried upright with him facing the sea which he loved......

what he wished and a lovely send-off.... :rip:

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His religion aside, the era has to be looked at in context. It was still very bad for blacks in the '60s for most places, even in the north there was still rampant job and housing discrimination and the cops could pretty much do whatever they wanted. For a few hundred years blacks lived a life that told them they were inherently by birth not as good as whites. One can't discount how damanging psychologically that is and we still see some of the effects today. The Black Panthers, Malcolm X, Ali, as my oldest brother decribes it, gave them pride and confidence. The aforementioned vocally spoke about things that were going on at the time. Older blacks said the rest of us had to live with the consequences of them pissing off whites. Southern blacks especially thought they could see a resurgence of the KKK or attacks on blacks. Ali was parroting what he heard at the NOI. Malcolm X was more eloquent about it. My mom, (and my dad) although fairly young was of the generation that you changed minds by living a honest, hardworking life. However my oldest brother (who wore the afros, dashiki clothing, etc before going to Vietnam), thought change was happening too slowly or would never happen. After the Civil Rights Act was passed there was still rampant problems.


Lastly, he scared white folks. lol. Not many blacks shook up the social classes as he and others did. My brother felt it needed shaking up and said that at the time, they thought it as hypocracy that American history said armed revoloution was right for an unjust government and when the Panthers advocated it for the same reasons as the founders did it was wrong. Sounds a bit crazy to me now, actual revolution advocated but was sen as very legitimate by my oldest brother.


I can see both sides frankly. I think it depends on who you are. Were I white or an older black from the MLK generation I may have felt the same way they did about Ali. However, were I young black male and seeing not much happened after the CRA, I can't say I'd feel any different. We are living under different times. Were alive back then and being reminded I was not a full member of socieity I think I could see myself sympathizing.


Going back to Frazier, although he was a local hero in Philly, Ali was loved as much I would guess and to some more. Philly was definitely a boxing town and had a reputation for producing boxers who were warriors and never gave up. Fighting was a normal thing in Philly neighborhoods growing up. One of the reasons I got the hell out. I can't fight. lol. I used to say 'I'm a lover, not a fighter, but I've been in more fights than I have been in love'.

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