Posts tagged ‘boxing’

6 June 2016

Bells after Fifteen Rounds

Michael Carlson · Muhammad Ali

1. When We Were Kings is the fitting title of Leon Gast’s superb documentary about the Rumble in the Jungle, Muhammad Ali's battle with George Foreman in Zaire, where he regained the heavyweight crown. It was a time of giants in boxing’s most glamorous division. Foreman said that he, Joe Frazier and Ali were like one person; they had been forged together in the public imagination, but there were also Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, Ken Norton, Henry Cooper, Ernie Terrell: men over whom Ali needed to triumph to establish himself, and who now shine in his reflection. Watch the moment Foreman falls in the film: at ringside George Plimpton is frozen in drop-jaw disbelief; Norman Mailer is already beginning to celebrate. 2. Muhammad Ali would have been the most important sportsman of the 20th century even had he not become a symbol for battles of conscience, for racial justice, for people far removed from power, for religious belief, for so much else.