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Boxing – Heavyweight Champions – Special – Boxing’s Best – Muhammad Ali


HBO’s Boxing’s Best series was in this lil ole Chiweenie Sportsphile’s opinion….the very best boxing special series ever produced…..especially this one on “Muhammad Ali – Boxing’s Best”….for it covers The Greatest from his youth through the end of his career and beyond.  There have been so many great pieces done on Ali….that it is hard to pick which was the best….but this one sure does it for me….for as I have said before….Muhammad Ali was a one-of-a-kind in the world of sports….partly because of his incredible boxing mastery for a man that big…..partly for the incredible entertainer that he was and how he could build tremendous interest in a fight long before he stepped into the ring to face his opponent….and partly because of his conviction and courage that he displayed throughout his life.

In truth, it was the part of Ali that was his strength of conviction and courage that elevated him to be Bone Daddy’s all time favorite athlete…..as exemplified by two significant points in his life. First, his strength of conviction in refusing to go into the US military…..willing to be stripped of his title and incarcerated for three (3) full years…..as he never even flinched in his strength of conviction….plus he never “threw any barbs” at those who brought these charges against him…,NEVER….and it takes a heck of a person to be able to turn the other cheek and not reveal any bitterness about his demise.

However, when you talk about courage…..it certainly takes courage to continue to fight a great heavyweight champion from round 2 to the end of the fight in the 12th round with a broken jaw….but, even that example doesn’t resonate with Bone Daddy and me….like the day that Ali was to throw out the first pitch at the game on the 100 Year Anniversary of Fenway Park.  As the time came for Ali to deliver the first pitch….the Red Sox organization brought Ali from inside the Green Monster in left field in a golf cart to home plate.  Ali was sitting in the passenger seat next to his chauffeur…..while an attendant to Ali was sitting where the golf bags typically rest in the back of the golf cart….whose sole purpose was to hold Ali arms down…..keeping them from flailing in the wind as a result of the advancement of his Parkinson’s disease.  As the golf cart reached the pitchers mound…..Ali made the best motion he could make….like he was throwing a pitch…..and then the chauffeur drove him to home plate to deliver the 1st pitch to Red Sox catcher and captain Jason Varitek.  As he moved the baseball from his lap towards the catchers mitt….and Varitek reached out to grab the ball from Ali’s hand that was shaking like a palm branch in a hurricane….Ali in his inimitable way, would pull the ball back….giving Varitek a GOTCHA along with a big smile…..a classic Muhammad Ali move….there and gone in an instant.  For in my simple opinion, this event showed the true courage of Muhammad Ali….for here was a athlete who was once too pretty….too fast….and too talented….to be anything but The Greatest heavyweight champion of the world….who was dealt a hand of total debilitation of who he once was….who still had the courage to let people see what he was at the worst point of his life….yet he still had the courage to deliver a GOTCHA when so many of his fans least expected it.


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