Today in History: Muhammad Ali

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Muhammad Ali

On February 25, 1964, Cassius Clay, 22, is crowned heavyweight boxing world champion after a shock win over Sonny Liston. In this later audio clip, Clay, aka, Muhammad Ali, delivers a poem about himself with his trademark modesty.

This is the legend of Muhammad Ali,
The most popular fighter that ever will be.
He talks a great deal and brags indeed
About a powerful punch and blinding speed.
The physical world is dull and weary.
With a champ like Foreman,
Things got to be dreary.
Now someone with color,
Someone with dash,
He brings fight fans a running with cash.
The brash boxer is something to see,
The heavyweight championship is his destiny.
Ali fights great,
He’s got speed and endurance.
If you sign to fight him,
Increase your insurance.

Thanks to WNYC Archivist Andy Lanset


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Comments [1]


In 1967, while Ali was the center of intense controversy across the nation, I was a reporter for a major newspaper in New Jersey. One day, I received a phone call asking me if I would like to interview him. I was met in front of the paper's headquarters, blindfolded, and driven around for a 1/2 hr to, as I was told, totally "disorient me". The blindfold was removed only after I had been led into a large living room. Long story short, I spent an hour alone with Ali, sitting across from one another on a couch. I was a good note taker, but I was out of my league trying to keep up with his ultra-fast speech pattern. It was fascinating and I watched with great interest as the public's perception of him slowly changed until he became a hero and, as he is now, the most recognized (and to many, respected) person in the world.

BTW, regarding his fight with Sonny Liston, I was the only one of 15 fellow college students to place a (very small) bet on Clay. Right then and there I became a fan.

Feb. 25 2009 10:30 AM

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