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Old 06-05-2016, 04:08 PM   #41
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I like how he got the nickname Smoking Joe. I used to think, what? From smoking a cigar after a win or something? No. If I get this right that when he'd be training for a fight, folks around town would hear him running around town sounding like a locomotive, thus, smoking Joe Frazier.
Interesting, I had been under the impression his nickname came from his unrelenting power punches. He certainly had a great left hook.
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:14 PM   #42
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He seemed to me like a thoughtful man in a turbulent time. He did well for himself and seems that he was a positive role model for many people. RIP.
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:33 PM   #43
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Interesting, I had been under the impression his nickname came from his unrelenting power punches. He certainly had a great left hook.
You're right. Just saw a clip of Frazier saying his trainer gave him the nickname during a workout saying that the trainer wanted to see smoke coming from the gloves, then called him smokin' Joe after that. Now I'm wondering where I got that false memory about how I heard about his nickname .
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:42 PM   #44
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Didn't Frazier have a nightclub act Smokin Joe and the Pussycats? Thought I remembered that.
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Old 06-05-2016, 07:10 PM   #45
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In my mind he will always be a draft dodger. Some other American was drafted in his place and he continued to live a life of wealth.

He was still the champ, though.
I have to agree.
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:43 PM   #46
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You have to look at if from his point of view at the time. It makes all the sense to me when you account for what was going on among blacks. They were trying to fight for their rights. They were just waking up from white dominant society where KKK were still killing blacks. Remember the lynchings? Given that historic backdrop, why should a Muslim fight in half a world away? It wasn't even clear that fighting in Vietnam was for America. In fact, it wasn't. Once I understood the background, I agree with what Ali did. He gave up best of his boxing career (and $$$ that comes with it) for his belief. And that's a lot more than I could ever do.



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I was not a fan when he was still fighting, because of his brash, oversized personality.

I wished Liston had beaten him though by the time I first heard of him, Ali had had his epic fights, both wins against Liston and one or both fights against Frazier.

I didn't appreciate the poetry of his self-promotion and the promotion of the legendary fights. His rhymes were memorable and no doubt inspired many but for some reason, they contributed to my perception of him as a cocky, taunting jerk.

Instead I thought Frazier's story was more inspirational and his low-key demeanor seemed more deserving of admiration.

I distinctly recall Ali mocking Frazier and other opponents for being boring or slow or not pretty like him.

Among all the reactions to his passing, a lot of young black star athletes talk about how inspirational he was to them and the one reason repeatedly cited is that Ali spoke up for what he believed in.

But I'm not sure they're referring to the biggest issue that Ali is known for, his refusal to report for service and go serve in Vietnam. Was it this refusal that which inspired generations of people or was it Ali's overall irrepressible, brash demeanor?

And would Ali be the inspirational figure if he didn't beat Frazier and especially Foreman? People talk about his influence and significance beyond his feats in the ring but if he lost those big, legendary fights, would he have had the same political and cultural impact?

As I said before, I didn't like the larger than life personality that he cultivated. The people who took up this mantle of cockiness and braggadocio were not boxers who followed him or even the superstar black NFL and NBA players. It was instead superstar rappers who churned out hits bragging about their sexual prowess and their material wealth who best exemplify the Ali persona in the late 20th and early 21st century popular culture.

On the other hand, Ali's bravery, his apparent willingness to challenge the orthodoxy which led this country to an unjust and unpopular war seems heroic. It's certainly more admirable than superstar athletes who appear only to be concerned about making the most money. You wouldn't think Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Lebron James or other figures of similar stature would risk taking stances like the very public refusal by Ali to be inducted into the Selective Service, because the megastars of today wouldn't risk losing the lucrative endorsements and sponsorships which bring them tens or even hundreds of millions a year.

Then again, you suspect they'd find a way to avoid service even if we had conscription.

But I wonder, was Ali's stance purely one of conscience or did he simply believe he could avoid it without paying the consequences?

Did he know that he'd be stripped of his titles and be prevented from fighting for 3-4 years, in his prime?

He certainly wasn't meek when he was expressing his conscience. He talked of his unwillingness to fight "slave masters" in their war against "dark-skinned people."

I haven't read biographies so I don't know if he was genuine in expressing his conscientious objector status or he was gambling that he could refuse to serve and get away with it due to his fame.

Because what happened to individuals who refused to serve? How easy or difficult was it to get an exemption due to religious beliefs? Didn't men typically get incarcerated unless they were able to convince the draft board?

Certainly Ali inspired many others who objected to the war as well as well as young African-Americans who saw a black star take an heroic political stand.

Ali also was an inspiration to the Civil Rights movement but he doesn't seem to have gone in any marches or make a lot of statements about the movement. Certainly there was overlap between the Civil Rights and anti war movements which might explain why those fighting for Civil Rights in the 60s gravitated to Ali.
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Old 06-06-2016, 08:44 AM   #47
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You have to look at if from his point of view at the time. It makes all the sense to me when you account for what was going on among blacks. They were trying to fight for their rights. They were just waking up from white dominant society where KKK were still killing blacks. Remember the lynchings? Given that historic backdrop, why should a Muslim fight in half a world away? It wasn't even clear that fighting in Vietnam was for America. In fact, it wasn't. Once I understood the background, I agree with what Ali did. He gave up best of his boxing career (and $$$ that comes with it) for his belief. And that's a lot more than I could ever do.
+1, he wasn't the GOAT for boxing prowess alone
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Old 06-06-2016, 09:34 AM   #48
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George Carlin's humorous take on Ali and the draft and a bit on why the US was in the war.

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Old 06-06-2016, 11:29 AM   #49
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This is my favorite of all the Ali articles I've read since his death:

Muhammad Ali had a personal magician. This is his tale. - Vox

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Terry La Sorda is 61 years old now. He smiles and gestures widely. He throws his whole 5'6" body into it. When he stands and walks, he rocks into a limp, though it doesn’t slow him down. He’s a happy man; he skips with what could be called glee. He’s healthy now, though his life has been a road walked slowly away from a disease that racked his body as a child, putting him in a wheelchair until he was 10 years old.

Ali walked the opposite path, all 6'3" and 200-plus pounds of him, at times a near-perfect athletic machine, dancing and spinning and jumping through life, until Parkinson’s disease ate away at his synapses.

But back when Ali was still a terror in the ring, in 1978, La Sorda was 23 years old. He was just out of college, performing magic in a mall in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, for a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, when a man walked up to him and said, "Muhammad would love to see these card tricks."
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:43 AM   #50
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Another great loss.

Everyone has pretty much said it all by now. In his prime, he was awfully hard to even lay a glove on. Arguably the greatest boxer in history, and a trailblazer in many other facets of life.

What strikes me is how time changes our perspectives. I remember how I felt about him in real time when he was boxing, there was no one at all like him at the time. With all the retrospectives on the web & TV over the last few days, my current reaction to his persona then is not the same. He seemed awfully audacious at times when he was coming up, but by today's standards not so much...

I never knew his daughter's boxing record until this AM. 24-0, with 21 KO's. WOW, a better record than her Dad!
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:35 PM   #51
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But I wonder, was Ali's stance purely one of conscience or did he simply believe he could avoid it without paying the consequences?

Did he know that he'd be stripped of his titles and be prevented from fighting for 3-4 years, in his prime?

He certainly wasn't meek when he was expressing his conscience. He talked of his unwillingness to fight "slave masters" in their war against "dark-skinned people."
No need to wonder - it's all just a search away. Here is a quote from a month before his scheduled induction:

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No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.



But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…
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I haven't read biographies so I don't know if he was genuine in expressing his conscientious objector status or he was gambling that he could refuse to serve and get away with it due to his fame.

Because what happened to individuals who refused to serve? How easy or difficult was it to get an exemption due to religious beliefs? Didn't men typically get incarcerated unless they were able to convince the draft board?
He made three separate appeals to be classified as a conscientious objector. All were rejected. He then refused to step forward at his induction and was arrested, then tried and convicted and sentenced. Most of his boxing titles and license were stripped and he was banned. His lawyers appealed and lost, then appealed again. In 1971 the Supreme Court overturned his convictions.

Looking back at the time Muhammad Ali refused the draft in Houston - Houston Chronicle

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Certainly Ali inspired many others who objected to the war as well as well as young African-Americans who saw a black star take an heroic political stand.

Ali also was an inspiration to the Civil Rights movement but he doesn't seem to have gone in any marches or make a lot of statements about the movement. Certainly there was overlap between the Civil Rights and anti war movements which might explain why those fighting for Civil Rights in the 60s gravitated to Ali.
He joined the Nation of Islam, which demanded political non-participation (mainly by not voting). His public stance against the Vietnam war came a year before Martin Luther King's. Most of his statements about civil rights were considered a bit too much by most of the existing civil rights organizations. In other words, he was more radical than them.

How Muhammad Ali influenced the Civil Rights Movement - Al Jazeera English
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Old 06-06-2016, 12:51 PM   #52
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Thanks that's good to know.

Regardless of his motivations, he influenced a lot of people who were fighting the good fight.
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:54 PM   #53
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Thanks that's good to know.

Regardless of his motivations, he influenced a lot of people who were fighting the good fight.
There's a really good documentary of him in the early years (before Fraizer, Foreman) which goes in detail about his earlier fights and the stance he took vs the draft.

https://www.amazon.com/K-Cassius-Cla...ct_top?ie=UTF8

Well worth the included Amazon Prime price . I had stumbled on the documentary one day as I was in the mood of seeing video of him in his prime (no pun intended) fighting days but then was riveting learning about the non-fight political history.
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:11 PM   #54
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He made three separate appeals to be classified as a conscientious objector. All were rejected. He then refused to step forward at his induction and was arrested, then tried and convicted and sentenced. Most of his boxing titles and license were stripped and he was banned. His lawyers appealed and lost, then appealed again. In 1971 the Supreme Court overturned his convictions.
Except for getting any titles stripped from me back then, I now wonder if the same would have happened to me if I didn't accept the draft, enter the military and fight in the Viet Nam war? (I'd bet I would still be in jail today)

In case some of here you weren't in that arena, there were lots of people of color and others in that action at the time fighting for our principles of freedom.

In my book, he was a gifted athlete but was a coward as a man.
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Old 06-06-2016, 02:53 PM   #55
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I am a Vietnam era vet also, but personally, I doubt he dodged the draft out of cowardice or not wanting to give up his luxuries. Initially, I felt that way, but in hindsight probably not.
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:37 PM   #56
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Amazing he is still so polarizing even today. Personally I thought he would disappear after he refused to be drafted. Kept from his profession for three years in his prime and he still overcame. Interesting to see how history will see him. I know how I do.
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Old 06-06-2016, 04:33 PM   #57
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In my mind he will always be a draft dodger. Some other American was drafted in his place and he continued to live a life of wealth.

He was still the champ, though.
It's definitely depends on what your positions was at the time. One man's "coward" was another's "hero"

I grew up in Harlem NYC during the 60's while the world had MLK, our heroes where Malcom X and Ali.

Many many blacks felt no love for the war. why should we?? we most certainly were not equal at the time. My father (who I posted on memorial day) fought in Korea, was awarded the silver star and then had to ride in the "colored" car in order to see his parent in La. You think my dad was going to allow his sons be drafted?? not likely and often said he would not.

Ali said what many Black folk felt at the time, "why are we fighting for a country that routinely lynched us and hated us"

not sure if he lived a life of wealth though, I believe he was banned from boxing, was convicted and sentence to jail (though he stayed free while on appeal) and fined.

I was not a boxing fan so for my family his activism on behalf of Blacks were way more important.

He is way more of a hero in our eyes for NOT reporting when drafted. it's easy to fight for "freedom" when you actually have it. it's a tougher sell for others. My dad did not allow any of his sons (my brothers) to join the military. well maybe I should say 'not allow" more like he was very vocal in his opposition.
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Old 06-06-2016, 05:13 PM   #58
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Thanks to all for the very personal and heartfelt reflections and perspectives.
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