When Muhammad Ali Was A Has-Been

The following is excerpted from Writers' Fighters and Other Sweet Scientists, a compilation of boxing columns by John Schulian, who wrote for the Chicago Daily News and Chicago Sun-Times. The excerpt contains 12 columns about Muhammad Ali that were written during the twilight of the champion's career, and is… » 3/09/15 3:18pm 3/09/15 3:18pm

The Night A Heartbroken George Foreman Boxed Five Men In One Hour

So I was clicking my way through the internet on this beautiful Friday afternoon, as I'm wont to do, and I happened upon this piece, inside of which was this passage: » 1/16/15 5:40pm 1/16/15 5:40pm

The Time Muhammad Ali's Hero Turned Him Into A Dish Washer

In the video above, you will see a young Muhammad Ali, still Cassius Clay then, beating the brakes off Archie Moore in 1962. Moore was 48 years old at the time, and was once the fighter Ali admired above all others. That changed the year before this bout, though, when Ali finally got a chance to train with Moore. » 1/15/15 10:49am 1/15/15 10:49am

What The Most Infamous NBA Heckler Learned From His Friend Muhammad Ali

How Muhammad Ali's Rope-A-Dope Myth Suckered America

Myth now dominates our misunderstanding of Muhammad Ali, who was once the most accessible celebrity in the world. The truth of the man is nearly irretrievable. With Ali having receded into an exile of his own choosing, the jokes and half-truths and outright lies he once told to entertain us have hardened into… » 10/30/14 4:57pm 10/30/14 4:57pm

A Total Eclipse of the Sonny: The Night 'The Greatest' Was Born

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Rumble in the Jungle. A lot has been written about that fight. Movies have been made about it. People have wept and torn their hair and rolled in the grass, beating their heels against the ground, because of that fight. It was a mighty fight. A remarkable moment. Rightly… » 10/27/14 9:13am 10/27/14 9:13am

The FBI Believed Clay/Liston I Was Fixed

There has long been chatter that Clay/Liston II, in which Sonny Liston went down to a phantom punch, wasn't on the up-and-up. But documents obtained by the Washington Times show the FBI suspected that their first fight, in 1964, may have been fixed by the mob. » 2/25/14 10:23am 2/25/14 10:23am

For Some Stupid Reason, Everyone Was Shocked When Clay Beat Liston

Fifty years ago tomorrow, in Miami Beach, 22-year-old Cassius Clay beat the hell out of Sonny Liston and took the world heavyweight crown from the Big Bear. According to the great New York Times sportswriter Robert Lipsyte, "only three of 46 sportswriters covering the fight had picked Clay to win." And who can blame… » 2/24/14 4:15pm 2/24/14 4:15pm

A Photog Remembers When, And Why, "Uncle Tom" Frazier Kicked Ali's Ass

Today is Muhammad Ali's 72nd birthday. Four decades ago, after three-and-a-half years away from the ring, he was half-assedly gearing up for a title fight with the reigning champ, Joe Frazier. LIFE photographer John Shearer remembers that winter well. » 1/17/14 9:04am 1/17/14 9:04am

Joe Frazier Was Cooler Than Ali. Discuss.

Joe Frazier died two years ago today. Now is as good a time as any to pay tribute to the former champ through a single photograph that best captured the unbridgeable distance between the two premier fighters of the age — a picture made at the very moment when the rivalry between Ali and Smokin' Joe was coming into… » 11/07/13 9:43am 11/07/13 9:43am

The Meaning Of The First Sonny Liston-Muhammad Ali Fight

Over on The Stacks, we're republishing Murray Kempton's classic dispatch from the first Clay-Liston fight, in 1964; you can find the story below. Kempton was an elegant columnist and essayist with a great ear for the overtones and undertones of any public spectacle—mob trials, nominating conventions, HUAC… » 10/08/13 2:00pm 10/08/13 2:00pm

Ali In Exile: The Once And Future Champ Clowns In NYC, 1968

For several years in the late Sixties, while (largely) lesser fighters vied for the heavyweight title and while his great nemesis Joe Frazier was powering his way through the ranks, Muhammad Ali was effectively in exile. Barred from the prizefighting ring for refusing induction into the Army ("War is against the… » 10/02/13 12:07pm 10/02/13 12:07pm

Great Men Die Twice: Muhammad Ali In Decline

Originally published in the June 1989 issue of Esquire. Republished here with the permission of the late author's son, Mark Kram Jr., a wonderful storyteller in his own right. His postscript follows. For a contemporary, but very different, glimpse of Ali, check out Davis Miller's story about his day with the champ. » 9/11/13 3:39pm 9/11/13 3:39pm

Extra! Ali Throws Punch, Hurts Man!

When Muhammad Ali beat Sonny Liston in their May 1965 title-bout rematch in Lewiston, Maine, a legend was born. Or, more accurately, a legendary controversy was born. Ali (who ditched his Cassius Marcellus Clay "slave" name for his Elijah Muhammad-sanctioned Muslim moniker after defeating Liston in their first title… » 7/17/13 11:11am 7/17/13 11:11am

A Collection Of Your Stories About Meeting Muhammad Ali

On Friday, we republished "My Dinner with Ali," Davis Miller's great story from 1989 about his life-affirming encounter with Muhammad Ali. Almost immediately, the comments section began filling up with readers' own accounts of meeting Ali. You can find a few of those through the links below, but you should really… » 6/11/13 3:55pm 6/11/13 3:55pm