Headline December 22, 2016/ ''' *O'' AMERICA! : *INTOLERANCE OR GREATNESS?* '''

''' *O'' AMERICA! : 


IN 1967, ALI WAS STRIPPED OF HIS HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE and banned from boxing because of his refusal to be inducted into the armed services.

He lost  three years  in the prime of his career when he decided not to fight for his country,  a somewhat ironic happenstance, since seven years earlier at the Olympics in Rome, he had done just that.

And at those Olympics, when a reporter suggested to him that America was the land of intolerance, he replied, 
*''Oh, yeah, we've got some problems, but get that straight : It's still the best country in the world.''*

And adds, John Walters, in his brilliant work, *As a child I worshipped Ali even though I was neither black nor much of a fighter. With his perfectly sculpted  6-foot-3  physique, that majestic countenance and those expressive eyes-

He came across more of a comic book superhero than a boxer to my friends and me [''the black Superman,'' as a popular song of the time labelled him'. 

In those  ABC Wide World of Sports interviews with Howard Cosell, his verbal sparring partner, Ali was playful and mischievous and entertaining.

{Cosell : ''You' re being extremely truculent.'' Ali : ''Whatever truculent means, if that's good, then I'm that.''}

My friends and I never thought of Ali as  white or black; we just thought of him as unbeatable. Then he lost.

The first defeat came to Frazier in March of 1971, only his third fight back following the three-year hiatus, a 15-rounder at  Madison Square Garden. Two years later, in San Diego, he lost again.

Ali entered the ring wearing a  rhinestone robe , a gift from Elvis Presley,and left with a broken jaw, a gift from Ken Norton.

He fought the final two rounds of the bout with the fractured mandible. Ali's greatest moments in the ring were still ahead of him.  

He was  32  and no longer as quick or as graceful as he had been when he into the ring in Zaire against George Foreman, 25.

A  6-foot-4 beast,  Foreman was unbeaten  [40- 0]  and in the previous two years had disposed of both Frazier and Norton in less than two rounds. The greatest was finally the true underdog.

*He had at last met  someone bigger,  stronger and younger than he. But not smarter.

In the  Rumble in the Jungle, which began at  4 a.m.  local time to accommodate  pay-per view  American audience. Ali introduced his ''rope-a-dope''  strategy, allowing Foreman to pin him against the ropes and exhaust himself throwing punch after punch after punch.

Ali tucked himself into the ropes, protecting his face with his 8-ounce Everlast gloves as he patiently waited Foreman out in the simmering jungle heat and humidity.   
''Maybe this could be the tactic of Ali.'' said ringside announcer Bob Sheridan with 30 seconds remaining in the eighth round, ''to let the man punch himself out. 

''Ten seconds later, Ali connected on a ''sneaky right hand.'' *Eight seconds after that, Foreman was on the canvas*.

There would be more fights, more purses and even more colossal victory [versus Frazier in the Philippines], but after but Ali's final opponent was Parkinson's. 

He was diagnosed in 1984, and it slowly and cruelly robbed him of physical abilities and later his ability to speak.

In these last 32 years, though, Ali became, as  The New York Times called him, a secular saint,'' an international ambassador of goodwill.

In Ali's adopted home state of Arizona, where he resided for the last 20 years of his life, he partnered with a few local philanthropists to host an annual event. 

Fight Night, which has raised more than $100 million for the fight against Parkinson's. In Phoenix,  Muhammad Ali's Parkinson Center is at the forefront in terms of research and therapy in battling the crippling neurological disease, for which there is no cure.

Ali's legacy transcends every sport, every geopolitical border and every language. 
He was a creature immune to self-doubt and a fighter who seemed to embrace, or at least enthrall, every person he met.

Immediately after knocking out Liston in February of 1964 to win his first heavyweight title. 

Ali stepped to a microphone and in the ring and repeatedly declared, ''I shook up the world!''



With most respectful dedication to the loving memory of Giant Muhammad Ali-   

With most respectful dedication to President-Elect Donald Trump, President of the this great country: The United States of America, Leaders, Students,  Professors and Teachers of the World. 

To Honour Muhammad Ali, See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and   Twitter-!E-WOW! -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Make The Difference '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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