He said he could PAY FOR someone else to fight. He was discharged from his sport for it. Others died instead. A boxer was against violence ?
He did not want to go to war.
He did not.
In his prime he could not fight.
Still all acknowledge he was a great boxer.
He would dance in the ring. Shuffle his feet. He would slip the punches. He would put his hands down and invite the greatest of his day to punch him. Later he would rope-a-dope and let them pummel him both hands around each cheek.
Then they worn-out he would then hit back.
He ran his mouth.
He backed it up.
He is my hero.
We all lost a great man who lived-on far longer than any thought when we ALL KNEW he was damaged in the ring.
I once got his autograph.
I never did actually see the 1st Sonny Liston fight but I predicted and guaranteed as a boy he would win.
When others picked on him for his name change AFTER that – 3 years after that – well excuse me it was a very unpopular war.
These were NOT good times as Hank Aaron has tried to share. Buses and him in back. Truly. Water fountains and 1 for him and 1 for someone else. Even in the court houses here. No. It was bad. Lester Maddox and I got into it at Underground Atlanta. Former Governor for riding his bike backwards he thought he could sell axe handles here and me no right to come into his store and have it out with him.
That he could refuse service to whomever he wanted for fried chicken at his restaurant or me in his God Damn store.
He found out otherwise that a youngster I would STAND RIGHT UP TO HIM. He better because of his skin ?
Good Lord I told him you are a 6th grade drop-out God Damn Frigin’ idiot. Everyone is better than you I shared with him.
But on that night at Ponce de Leon Ballpark MY HERO won and he BECAME the Heavyweight Champion of the World on my AM radio.
The sport causes much damage as I can attest to you for them his tactics even more so.
So many boxers have more problems than football players from the head bashing REQUIRED.
I followed him his whole career. He did not want to fight in Viet Nam but it was not because of his religious beliefs. It never was about that.
3-time Heavyweight Champion of the World counted-out for the final time.
My hero The Greatest.
He beat Sonny Liston twice, Floyd Patterson, Jerry Quarry to be 30-0, after losing to Smokin’ Joe Frazier he beat Jerry Quarry again Floyd Patterson again and was 40-1, then lost to Ken Norton then beat Ken Norton, then he beat Joe Frazier and then he beat George Foreman to be 45-2, then he beat Joe Frazier again, then Ken Norton again – then at 55-3 the TV camera moved in on the ringside for Leon Spinks and his trainer said I have a little something for you and gave him a drink from a clearly brown small bottle before Leon Spinks returned to the ring and Leon Spinks won that round and the fight.
No one ever tells you about that either.
I saw it.
Then he beat Leon Spinks and was 56-3 and then he slurred his words and struggled this man of WORDS to use words any longer.
It is a sub-category of CTE and don’t tell me it isn’t. I know I was there. I am there for my hero. When this they tried to deny that my hero was NOT CTE, you miss the Greatest died of CTE. I know. And now you do too.
“I’m gonna float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
George can’t hit what his hands can’t see.
Now you see me now you don’t
He think he will but I know he won’t
They tell me George is good
But I’m twice as nice
And I’m gonna stick to his butt like white on rice.
The Greatest of All-Time.”