"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: muhammad ali
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Fall Into the Gap (Do it Up)

From the New York Magazine archives, here’s the late, great Vic Ziegel on Ali-Spinks II:

he copy of Money magazine offered to Leon Spinks during his flight to New Orleans was full of splendid suggestions for a new career. Soccer coach, that was something the heavyweight champion might want to think about. Nowhere is it written that soccer coaches have to run through strange cities at five in the morning. Or spend great hunks of each day inside expensive hotel rooms that offer baskets of apples and Gouda instead of X-rated film selections. And there aren’t small armies of people telling the cover-boy soccer coach to kick this, do that, no this, no, no, no . . . armies that depend on the heavyweight champion to provide their per diem expenses.

The magazine went unread, of course. Leon Spinks was in Louisiana to defend his title against Muhammad Ali, a 36-year-old body with the staying power of Tutankhamen. Ali was the favorite. Ali was the attraction—the once, twice, and future champion. Leon Spinks? Come on. Just another name on an expired driver’s license.

“Did you hear what Spinks did when he came off the plane?” The lawyer is talking to a sportswriter after the fight. The party is at the Windsor Suite of the New Orleans Hilton. Sportswriters are badly outnumbered by designer suits. Worse yet, the lawyers had heard all the best available fiction.

“Spinks gets off the plane and he does an interview. Everything’s cool. No problems. And then they hustle him into the sheriff’s private car to drive him to the hotel. The first thing he does—this is in the sheriff’s car, right?—the first thing he does is take out a joint and light up.”

Ali won the rematch.

[Art by Neil Adams]

Beautiful, Beguiling Violence: Bringing Men Together

boxing1

There used to be a spot in the Times Square subway station where dance crews used to set up and perform for the tourists.  It’s right as you get off the Shuttle train to Grand Central.  Now, an electronics store is there instead, but they still draw a crowd because a famous fight is always playing on the flat screen TV in their display window.  The first couple of times I noticed a crowd huddled around, the Ali-Forman fight* was playing. 

Nothing brings men together like a fight.

Last weekend, I saw them playing the great Hagler-Hearns bout.  One guy watching served as the commentator.

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I remember seeing the fight when I was a kid, and being electrified by the fury of violence.  Here it is, brief, savage, and bloody:

Round One:

Round Two:

Round Three:

(more…)

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver