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Ali The Greatest

Reader comment on item: Muhammad Ali's "Beautiful Soul"

Submitted by George Clark (United States), Dec 1, 2005 at 15:32

I always assumed that Ali's refusal to report for duty was courageous. He was well aware that refusal meant prison and the loss of his livelihood, perhaps for the rest of his athletic life. Had he reported for duty he probably would have spent his time boxing in exhibitions to entertain troops.

His "racism" was fashionable among black people at the time (the 1960's), for whom it was vital to establish racial pride. He embraced his religion while a young man, younger, perhaps, than his chronological age. He lacked much formal education. To attribute his success to "Howard Cosell and the media" is to ignore his tremendous ability, his great heart and his showmanship.

Many of his fights are among the most compelling in boxing history. Even his 15 round battle with little-known (nor long-remembered) Chuck Wepner leaves the viewer, even at a distance of 30 years, breathless. It is a credit to our nation that he was able to rehabilitate his career. He was among the most vilified athletes in history.

Now, an aging and diseased shell, he is properly among the most loved and honored. It is to the President's credit that he has bestowed the Medal of Freedom upon someone with whom he shares so little politically and philosophically.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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