By: Julio Olmo
Year 2016 was a memorable one, but for all the wrong reasons! It took a pretty sizeable bite out the sports and entertainment world. It claimed some iconic figures, none bigger than Muhammad Ali!
But I’m probably bias because love and admiration for The Champ runs three generations deep in my family.
“…A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing”, Muhammad Ali
Due to his health, and rightfully so, his loved ones had kept him off the spot light for years. The Champ does have a very storied legacy and it needs to be fiercely protected. We’re talking about a man who entertained boxing fans, the media and the entire nation for years during his illustrious career.
Larry Holmes had to first make his bones as Ali’s sparring partner before he deservedly got the opportunity to be Heavyweight Champion of the World. Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers…not only ruled the Heavyweight Division, they ruled the Boxing Earth and Muhammad Ali was a T-Rex.
Howard Cosell would make time in his busy schedule to attend Ali’s press conferences, and why not? The Champ loved the man and together, they were dynamite!
“…Muhammad? What do you’ve to say to all those people who say you’re not the same fighter from three years ago?”, Howard Cosell
“…Well! Howard, I wasn’t going to bring it up in front of all these people, but your wife complained to us the other day that YOU! Are not the same man she married three years ago”, Muhammad Ali.
Classic Abbott and Costello routine.
Nowadays Boxing press conferences are staged, boring and the good fighters dock each other for years.
They even have what I like to call the Do Over Clause. That’s when two top fighters will not agree to face each other, unless their contracts include a mandatory rematch clause.
“…I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ‘em out, I pick the round”, Muhammad Ali
The Champ never needed no Do Over Clause in any of his fights. He even fought once with a broken jaw. Gimmicks or props were almost of no use to him. Ali mostly used the power of conversation to get his point across.
“…My way of joking is to tell the truth. That’s the funniest joke in the world”, Muhammad Ali
I didn’t have the words on that day, but…I have them today!
May you always, Rest in Peace Champ!