Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy 70th Birthday


The man who was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr (what a great name by the way) on the 14th January 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky celebrates his 70th birthday today as Muhammad Ali.

Without getting too nostalgic again it would be wrong not to mention how much pleasure he gave me in my pre-teen years when boxing was quite a large part of the televised sporting landscape. After the boxing came the celebrity, although post the Sonny Liston fight that was always there, and then the decline in health.

A few years ago, well quite a lot of years ago, there was a discussion on the radio about the rumours in the States about the decline in Ali's mental state. This was pre-Interweb and there was more than one person who was willing to stand up and say that Ali have been the victim of a CIA backed plot to belittle the world's most famous black man through the use of chemicals in his water supply. Of course the stories about the CIA outrages are not new, nor are they restricted to the last century. Whether we will ever find out the truth, who knows.

Anyway Happy Birthday to one of the few sportsmen or women who were actually bigger than the sport they competed in and to somebody who wasn't afraid to say exactly what he thought whoever he upset.

8 comments:

A Northern Bloke said...

Boxing isn't my cup of tea but I have to say that his claim of being "The Greatest" is difficult to dispute. Even to me he seemed in a different class to the rest.

Span Ows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Span Ows said...

Thanks for the link! I see the BBC coming up with a lot of work trying to see if it is a possibility (the cancer weapon)

Ali had a great affect on me when (or just before) he was on 'This Is Your Life' (in fact the very same affect that Nelson Mandela had on me and for exactly he same reason except Nelson was on Ground Force!): as he came into the studio - behind the audience, and it was clear he had no idea beforehand - he turned to his buddy and live on TV said "you lied to me",and not in a nice way.

previous comment was me with typos!

Paul said...

I would have thought Nick Broomfield or even Jon Ronson would have looked into it by now.

Ah yes Nelson Mandela and Tommy Walsh a meeting of intellects!

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