Friday, March 14, 2014

1304 Ali: Down for the Count

Muhammad Ali wouldn’t hit a man while he’s down. In fact, at the height of his adrenaline-fueled motor mouthing prime, it wouldn’t even occur to him.


But right now, at age 72, Ali is down for the count. The Parkinson’s is 30 years old and that’s older than many of his fans.  And the tabloids and a right wing roll of toilet paper -- digital toilet paper -- are having a field day with allegations from unreliable sources that the first time he won the heavyweight championship … the fight was fixed, though Ali didn’t know about it.


The city was Miami.  The date was February 25th, 1964, a Tuesday.  Young Cassius Clay, as he was known then, stepped into the ring to take on Sonny Liston.  


Liston outweighed Ali by about five pounds, or maybe eight… there are several versions of these figures. He was seven years older… or maybe eight, had two inches more reach and he looked a lot bigger.


By the end of the sixth round, Clay/Ali had pulverized the once unstoppable Liston.


And when the bell rang for round seven, Liston remained seated in his corner and the world had a new heavyweight champ.


Now comes the disgraceful fake newspaper Washington Times and it has the same Freedom of Information law rights as anyone else and uses them to go back into prehistoric documents from the J. Edgar Hoover days of the FBI. Back when there was a commie under every rock and Da Mob controlled everything in the country from the backroom of a penny arcade on the boardwalk at Coney Island.


Two big time mobsters are said to have bet on Ali against the gargantuan bullet proof Liston.  And those two mobsters got away with a nice payday.


Was the ‘B-I interested in shutting down the sports book? No. It was interested in shutting down the arcade and the guys who owned it. After all, what’s just one more bookie in a world controlled from that backroom.


“We think … we suspect …” there was a payoff, say the documents obtained by the Toilet Paper Daily.  The “documents” are musings of FBI agents looking for any tidbit to titillate Hoover.


If they had a case then, they’d have made the case then.  They certainly don’t have one now.


But unlike Ali, the Washington Times and the useless tabloids just can’t resist hitting Ali when he’s down.


And down he is.  With Parkinson’s, you don’t count in seconds, you count in decades.  And Ali is on his back on the canvas hearing the number three.  That means he has seven to go before he has to be on his feet or Parkinson’s wins.


Parkinson’s is going to win.  But at least give the guy a ten-count.


Shrapnel:


--American Idol keeps declining in the weekly ratings.  Maybe Fox will get the message and make this, mercifully the last season.  But Fox doesn’t receive messages all that well, though they did with the X-Factor.
I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2014


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