Friday, December 15, 2006

How Muhammed Ali ruined the sport of boxing

“His momma called him Clay; I’m’a call him Clay.”
-Arsenio Hall, in ‘Coming to America’

Here are just a few things that Muhammed Ali contributed to the downfall of boxing. And yes, boxing is suffering through an inglorious Autumn with the icy throes of Winter on the horizon, poignantly juxtaposed against the blossoming Spring of mixed martial arts. Let’s examine in closer detail…

- By relying solely on his athletic ability to win fights, he turned his matches into overhyped Toughman Competitions. Keeping his hands practically at his waist instead of anywhere near his face, & employing his idiotic “rope-a-dope” tactics, Ali not only erred against the axioms of the sport he ironically called a “sweet science”, he also ensured the most possible damage to his body over the course of his storied career. Pugilisms elder statesman didn’t have to be a brain-damaged, nerve-damaged, broken shell. But that’s what happens when you break the unforgiving laws of science.
- By converting to Islam & joining the ranks of Elijah Muhammed & Malcom X, Ali’s message was painfully clear. Fuck America, where he had risen from poverty to become a self-made man & the most famous athlete of the century. Who needs the American Dream when you have the vituperative rhetoric of the Nation of Islam? Ali was graciously paving the way for his worthy successor, “Iron” Mike Tyson.
- By not reporting for duty during Vietnam, he could have made a statement about humanitarianism & the brotherhood of man. Instead he made it a racial issue, specifically pointing out that no Viet Cong had ever called him a nigger. So instead of bringing attention to how senseless the war was, he fanned the fires of racial hatred. What better way to stop a war abroad than to start one at home?
- By constantly shooting off his mouth before, during & after his fights, he single-handedly molded boxing into the obnoxious spectacle it is today. Now fighters feel they have to say something outrageous & wear something outrageous, instead of making an impression by being a great boxer. Which, I have to say, Ali was not.

Next time you see Mike Tyson do something stupid on national TV, a tip of the hat is due to Cassius Clay. We were the dopes, & he roped us indeed.


Blogger Gavin Elster said...

This post should be carved in stone and placed above his head... when the time comes.

7:01 PM  

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