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 10:56am10/27/14 10:56am

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 7:59pm2/24/14 7:59pm

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 9:57am11/07/13 9:57am

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 12:40pm10/02/13 12:40pm

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 3:44pm9/11/13 3:44pm

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 11:32am7/17/13 11:32am