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Ali, at one point, seriously doubted a return to the sport, but as ended, his prospects looked brighter. Promoters also sensed the goldmine that would result from live ticket sales, closed circuit broadcasts, and agreements with foreign television networks.
The millionaires and billionaires began jockeying for position. Ali and Frazier, who were friends in years past, had become staunch enemies. They represented polar opposites in politics, religion, and the question of what constitutes a man. They were also undefeated in a combined 57 professional bouts, had both won a gold medal at the Olympic Games, and made equally relevant claims to the heavyweight championship, the most treasured prize in sports, at a time when athletics were reaching an economic pinnacle. Michael Arkush, who has authored a page account of The Fight, readily admits that he did not witness it firsthand.
Ali, Frazier and the 'Fight of the Century': A Photographer Remembers
Drawing inspiration from a chance meeting with Ali at Miami Beach in , Arkush pores over forty years of documented history to give Ali-Frazier I its proper context. Arkush has also vigorously researched books, newspapers, and magazines from the era in an attempt to recapture its prevailing spirit. Any historical writing that combines sociology with sports is a daunting project and Arkush fully acquits himself.
The Fight of the Century is concise, well-organized, and generates immediate interest. Once these men are profiled, Arkush describes the events leading up to March 8, They would face off for the first time in , in what came to be known as, The fight of the century. Ali used complex footwork to circle his opponents on the outside, catching them with whipping jabs before dashing in to throw lightning fast combinations. In contrast, Frazier would drive directly at his opponents. Rather than use traditional footwork to cut off the ring, Frazier would just charge straight in, counting on his cross guard and phenomenal head movement to keep him safe.
Both Frazier and Ali had some of the best defense of all time, but once again, were polar opposites in the way they went about it. Frazier used his erratic head movement to make opponents miss, ducking in under their punches to catch them with his powerful gazelle hook. In contrast, Ali would lean far back, making his opponents chase him and overreach so that he could land a perfectly placed counter punch.
Frazier took his power from the ground, exploding off of his deep crouch.
Ali got his power from his opponents, tricking them into stepping into his punches for him. Both men were similar in that they wore their opponents down over time, Frazier with constant wrestling and body shots, Ali with lightning fast jabs that cut and swelled up his opponents eyes, and took the air out of their lungs. But this match was more than just a clash of styles. Several elements combined to make this fight transcend boxing in the eyes of the public.
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Siu Nim Tau. Cham Kiu. Biu Ji.
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Showing Rating details. Sort order. Oct 01, Doug rated it liked it Shelves: finished-reading. Of all the Fights of the Century, this can truly deserve the acclaim.
On This Day: Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali in the Fight of the Century - Boxing News
In the 30's, American Joe Lewis and German Max Schmeling fought for more than the heavyweight championship of the world. With Hitler's armies marching through Europe, these two fought proxy bouts for their countries own wars for democracy and Nazism. To be fair, while Schmeling was a member of the Nazi party, his support was distant at best. He used his relationship with Hitler to save several Jews from Nazi persecution. He use Of all the Fights of the Century, this can truly deserve the acclaim.
He used his position to hide several of his Jewish friends from the Krystalnacht rampage.
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Yes, the Gobbels used Schmeling's success as a virtue of the Aryan nation, but Schmelilng only went along because he had family in Germany, and feared retaliation against them if he defected to America. After the war and boxing, Schmeling would go onto to be a millionaire as the distributor for Coca Cola in post-war Germany, and live to 99 years of age until he died in While Joe Lewis was also used for propaganda purposes by the Americans, his story is the opposite of Schmeling's.
Viewed as a "credit to his race" for defeating the Hun in their two bouts, Lewis is a story heard all to often in boxing.
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He reached the highest levels of commercial and financial success, but being raised in poverty, with no business training, he wound up blowing most of his money on largess. He struggled to survive post-boxing with demeaning jobs such as professional wrestling. He still could make money off his name, but his last few years of his life were saddled with health issues and debt. Of the two, I found Schmeling's story to be the more interesting. Although Schmeling was seen as the villain in America, he would up with the better healthier life than Lewis.