Pages

Friday, December 28, 2001

I've been a Muhammad Ali fan ever since I was in my early teens. I remember being at my grandfather's house and ESPN was re-showing the first Ali-Norton fight. My dad told me to watch because Ali was the greatest fighter that ever lived (even though Marciano was dad's favorite). Ali's jaw was broken in the first or second round of that fight, but he fought on and lost on a close decision. I'm not sure what it was about him, but I was hooked. I found a copy of Ali's autobiography and read it several times, then scoured the library for more. I taped rebroadcasts of Ali's fights and watched them over and over. I still watch the Thrilla in Manilla every month or two - not just because of Ali, but because I've come to realize that Joe Frazier was equally great, although in entirely different but perfectly complementary ways.

I haven't gone to see the new Ali film yet, although I probably will in the next few weeks. I know some of the reviews say the film isn't as great as it should be, but this isn't any normal biography we're talking about. Not only is Ali considered the greatest fighter of all time, he may have been the most charismatic and controversial athlete as well. Such a person is difficult to portray, especially when the memories of Ali are so fresh and the footage of him is so available. Michael Mann and Will Smith attempted the impossible when they made a movie that was supposed to live up to the real thing. Some critics feel they fell short. Let's remember that Ali did the impossible, too, and it took people many years to acknowledge his greatness. Sometimes it just takes time and the casting away of other people's opinions to see what's really there.

Believe it or not, I wrote all of this because I wanted to post a link to Howard Bingham's website - http://www.howardbingham.com/. Who is Howard Bingham? I'll let you read for yourself. I strongly recommend reading the Sports Illustrated article by Frank Deford. I stumbled upon that article a year or so ago and I'm glad I did. You'll see what I mean when you read it for yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment