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The life and career of Muhammad Ali (1942- ) as seen chronologically in archival footage: Ali as a fighter, a personality, a political lightening rod, and a man. Boxers who fought him describe what led up to major fights and the matches themselves; they also offer personal revelations about their own lives: George Chuvalo's family losses, George Foreman's conversion, Ken Norton's gratitude, Ron Lyle's teaching, Earnie Shaver's encounter with the Klan, and Joe Frazier's good humor pack their own punch. The fighters talk about Ali's quickness, cunning, and recuperative powers - and how fighting him changed their lives. Written by
always felt kind of betrayed by his own people, I think, because most black people were rooting for Muhammad Ali against Joe Frazier, and Joe Frazier felt more like the average black guy from the ghetto. He was blacker than Ali. He was poorer than Ali. He had a tougher upbringing than Ali.
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Based off the book which was written by Toronto sports writer Stephen Brunt. In the book, he chooses 15 boxers, all of which have faced Ali, some won, some lost. Thankfully, in the movie, we only have to sit through 10 of them.
Mr. Brunt's book did everything it could to find important moments of Ali's life. The most notable fighter omission from the book was Leon Spinks. Why wasn't he included? After a relatively exhaustive search, Mr. Brunt couldn't find him. Fortunately for the viewers of the video, Director Pete McCormack found him after months of searching. Spinks had lost his job and was helping at a shelter in the mid-west USA.
I had heard about this video a while back but I avoided it until I saw MMA fighter Randy Couture say that he liked it a lot. Only then did I make a point to watch it.
Sitting down to watch the screening of the video, I feared that it would be just another glowing, "Ali was the greatest", lovefest for 100 minutes. Fortunately, this was not the case. Most of the fighters interviewed were genuine in their praise, a few were self-serving and one was bitter. Probably from being asked for the umpteenth time how great Ali was.
This is an essential video to watch about the life of Mohammed Ali. For those who forget just how fast, how smart and how talented he was as a boxer. For those who only see him now as an over the hill boxer that had too many fights, or as a shell of his former self because of Parkinson's, this video is for you.
To know the fear, anxiety, power, rage and humbling experience of stepping into the ring with a truly great fighter, you need to hear it from the people who have done it.
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