Tag Archives: Boxing

Still Looking For The Great White Hope

mayweather8They are at it again! Since Heavyweight Jack Johnson who was the best boxer in the world more than a hundred years ago; they have been and still searching for the GREAT WHITE HOPE! Last night’s sparring match was no different. The fight was far from professional and how did they give a man who has never had a professional boxing match a fight for some kind of championship?

After all the hype, all the talk, and all the profanity, it simply was unrealistic to believe McGregor, the UFC champion, could beat Mayweather in their pay-per-view showdown last night at the T-Mobile Arena. So no one should have been surprised when Mayweather methodically broke down McGregor before scoring a 10th-round technical knockout. Honestly, I don’t think Mayweather broke a sweat the entire fight!

So what did we learn from this exercise? Well, it was entertaining! The best boxer on the planet and the UFC superstar brought a lot of attention to their respective sports, and those who spent $100 on pay-per-view and thousands to witness the bout in person must not have remembered that there is a sucker born every day. Surely this was not the best boxing has to offer. I guess McGregor was just happy he was still standing at the end.

Mayweather, who scored his first knockout since 2011, looked a bit rusty early on after having not fought in two years. His boxing inexperience showed, especially late in the fight when he tried to clinch. By the end, his face was a sitting target. As a boxing fan, this was a disgrace to me. However, I am glad the black guy got a 100 million dollar payday! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Remembering: Muhammad Ali

The Greatest of All Times

thMuhammad Ali, known as the greatest boxer of all times and viewed by most as the “Champ,” retired as the first three-time Heavyweight Champion of the World. He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., the elder of two boys in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 17, 1942. He was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., who was named after the 19th-century abolitionist and politician, the owner of Clay’s ancestors. Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964.

Clay was directed toward boxing by a white Louisville police officer whom he encountered as a 12-year-old fuming over the theft of his bicycle. After an extremely successful amateur boxing career, he won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Ali said in his 1975 autobiography that he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at a “whites-only” restaurant.

Not only was the Champ a fighter in the ring, but he also had the courage to fight the U.S. Government in 1967 when he refused to be inducted into the U.S. military based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges, stripped of his boxing title, and his boxing license was suspended. He was not imprisoned but did not fight again for nearly four years while his appeal worked its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was successful.

Standing tall at 6 feet, 3 inches, Clay had a highly unorthodox style for a heavyweight boxer. Rather than the normal style of carrying the hands high to defend the face, he instead relied on foot speed and quickness to avoid punches and carried his hands low. He coined a new technique called the rope-a-dope where he rested on the ring ropes and let the dope, his opponent, punch himself out. He was also known for his pre-match hype, where he would “trash talk” opponents on television and in person before the match and often with rhymes.

These personality quips and idioms, along with an unorthodox fighting technique, made him a cultural icon. Ali built a reputation by correctly predicting, with stunning accuracy, the round in which he would “finish” an opponent. While still Cassius Clay, he adopted the latter practice from “Gorgeous” George Wagner, a popular professional wrestling champion who drew thousands of fans. Often referred to as “the man you loved to hate,” George could incite the crowd with a few heated remarks, which Ali used to his advantage.

As Clay, he met his famous longtime trainer Angelo Dundee during a light heavyweight fight in Louisville shortly after becoming the top contender to fight Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston. Despite his impressive record, he was not widely expected to defeat Liston, who was considered a more sinister champion than Iron Mike Tyson. In fact, nobody gave him a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the fight against such a dominant champion.

The fight was scheduled for February 25, 1964, in Miami, Florida, but it almost never happened because the promoter heard that Clay had been seen around Miami and in other cities with the controversial Muslim Leader, Malcolm X. The promoters perceived this association as a potential gate killer to the fight where Liston was overwhelmingly favored to win. However, it was Clay’s colorful persona and nonstop braggadocio that gave the fight its sole appeal.

The ever-boastful Clay frequently taunted Liston during the buildup to the bout by dubbing him “the big ugly bear” among other things. During the weigh-in on the day before the bout, acting like a wild crazy man, Clay declared for the first time that he would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” He summarized his strategy for avoiding Liston’s assaults this way: “Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.”

By the third round, Clay was ahead on points and had opened a cut under Liston’s eye. Liston regained some ground in the fourth, as Clay was blinded by a substance in his eyes. It is unconfirmed whether this was something used to close Liston’s cuts or deliberately applied to Liston’s gloves. What is clear, boxing historians and insiders have recalled, is that in at least two other Liston fights a similar situation occurred, suggesting the possibility that the Liston corner deliberately attempted to cheat.

By the sixth, Clay dominated Liston and was looking for a finish. Then Liston shocked the boxing world when he failed to answer the bell for the seventh round, claiming his shoulder was injured. At the end of the fight, Clay boasted to the press that doubted him before the match, proclaiming, “I shook up the world!” When Clay beat Liston at age 22, he became the youngest boxer ever to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion, a mark that stood until the Mike Tyson’s reign began.

What is significant about Clay winning the bout is this: he said, “I am pretty, I can’t be beat” as he yelled into the cameras for the world to see. In the early sixties, this was not the language Negro’s were using to describe themselves. Those words and that brash act was the catalyst for the black is beautiful movement, Afro-American, and black power. So from that perspective, yes, he shook up the world.

After winning the championship, Clay revealed that he was a member of the Nation of Islam. It was the movement’s leader Elijah Muhammad who gave Clay the name Cassius X, discarding his surname as a symbol of his ancestors’ enslavement, as had been done by other Nation members. On Friday, March 6, 1964, Malcolm X took Clay on a tour of the United Nations building where he announced that Clay would be granted his “X.” That same night, Elijah Muhammad recorded a statement over the phone to be played over the radio that Clay would be renamed Muhammad – one who is worthy of praise, and Ali – rightly guided.

The rematch with Liston was held in May 1965 in Lewiston, Maine. Ali, who had changed his name by this time, won by knockout in the first round as a result of what came to be called the “phantom punch.” Many believe that Liston, possibly as a result of threats from Nation of Islam extremists or in an attempt to “throw” the fight to pay off debts, waited to be counted out. However, most historians discount both scenarios and insist that it was a quick, chopping punch to the side of the head that legitimately fell Liston. Ali would later call the punch an “anchor punch” used by the Great Jack Johnson.

Aligning himself with the Nation of Islam made him a lightning rod for controversy, turning the outspoken but popular champion into one of that era’s most recognizable and controversial figures. Appearing at rallies with Elijah Muhammad and declaring his allegiance to him at a time when mainstream America viewed Black Muslims with suspicion and outright hostility made Ali a target of outrage, as well as suspicion. Ali seemed at times to provoke such reactions with viewpoints that wavered from support for civil rights to outright support of separatism.

For example, Ali once made this comment in relation to integration: “We who follow the teachings of Elijah Muhammad don’t want to be forced to integrate. Integration is wrong. We don’t want to live with the white man; that’s all.” Or this remark about inter-racial marriage: “No intelligent black man or black woman in his or her right black mind wants white boys and white girls coming to their homes to marry their black sons and daughters.” It was clear that his religious beliefs at the time included the notion that the white man was “the devil” and that white people were not “righteous.” Ali would also make claims that white people hated black people.

In early 1966, Ali was reclassified to be eligible for the draft and induction into the U.S. Army during a time when the United States was involved in the Vietnam War. When notified of this status, he declared that he would refuse to serve in the Army and publicly considered himself a conscientious objector. Ali believed “War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. I’m not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don’t take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers.”

Ali also famously said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them, Viet Cong … They never called me Nigger.” It was rare for a heavyweight boxing champion in those days, or now, to speak at Howard University where he gave his popular “Black Is Best” speech in 1996. Ali was invited to speak by Howard’s sociology professor Nathan Hare on behalf of the Black Power Committee, a student protest group. The event of 4,000 cheering students and community intellectuals was surely another step toward his iconic stature.

Appearing shortly thereafter for his scheduled induction into the U.S. Armed Forces on April 28, 1967, in Houston, he refused three times to step forward at the call of his name. An officer warned him he was committing a felony punishable by five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Once more, Ali refused to budge when his name was called. As a result, he was arrested and on the same day the New York State Athletic Commission suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title as did other boxing commissions, for being unpatriotic.

At Ali’s trial, after only 21 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Ali guilty; the Court of Appeals upheld the conviction; the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court. During this time, the public began turning against the war and support for Ali began to grow. Ali supported himself by speaking at colleges and universities across the country, where opposition to the war was especially strong. On June 28, 1971, the Supreme Court reversed by unanimous decision his conviction for refusing induction. The decision was not based on, nor did it address the merits of Clay’s/Ali’s claims per se; rather, the government’s failure to specify which claims were rejected and which were sustained constituted the grounds upon which the Court reversed the conviction.

The legacy of the “Greatest” is the stuff movies are made of – Muhammad Ali defeated every top heavyweight in his era, which has been called the golden age of heavyweight boxing. Ali was named “Fighter of the Year” by Ring Magazine more times than any other fighter and was involved in more Ring Magazine “Fight of the Year” bouts than any other fighter. He is an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and holds wins over seven other Hall of Fame inductees.

He is also one of only three boxers to be named “Sportsman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated. In 1993, the Associated Press reported that Ali was tied with Babe Ruth as one of the most recognized athletes, out of over 800 dead or alive athletes, in America.

I have met Muhammad and was so impressed I named my only son after him, hoping his example of courage and fortitude would be shared. He is my hero, and I say: thank you for your example and sacrifice. You are the Greatest of All Times. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…..

Black History is American History


We Cannot Let Them Whitewash Muhammad Ali’s Legacy

220It was truly wonderful to see the well-deserved glowing and endearing remembrances of the Champ. It is very clear to me and most of the world that Ali is the “Greatest of All Times. This post is meant to remind you that at one point in Ali’s life, he was the most hated man in America for his resistance to the war. I say this to say, look what they did to Dr. King’s legacy and others; they made them tamed and in the case of Dr. King; they would have you think he only had a dream. History is full of such acts after the person is gone.

So before it is too late, let’s get one thing straight: Muhammad Ali was a revolutionary black man, unapologetic and proud of it. He opposed the Vietnam War at a time when it was so unpopular and career-threatening to do so. He proposed reparations by another name, saying in the 1960s that the U.S. government should take $25 billion meant for the Vietnam War and instead use it to build black Americans homes in the South. Ali was so politically radical that Jackie Robinson once called him a “tragedy,” and the Nation of Islam eventually distanced itself from him.

In the 20th century, former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee chairman Stokely Carmichael said “the FBI viewed Ali as more of a threat” than himself. In the 21st, it was revealed that the NSA had wire tapped his conversations and still Ali never relented in his convictions. He was black until death, first and foremost. Ali was very clear; “I was determined to be one nigger that the white man didn’t get”. He also said, “Go on and join something. If it isn’t the Muslims, at least join the Black Panthers. Join something.”

Ali didn’t transcend race because he didn’t want to – sellout was not part of his spirit. History indicates we’ll forget all that, and one day after his death, there are clear signs that white folks are already trying to use the tactics of the authors of His-Story to whitewash Muhammad’s legacy. We should not let this happen – never. This was the most real black man who ever lived in America, except maybe since Nat Turner. We really shouldn’t let them do this to Ali’s legacy.

Depending on what you think of businessmen, either willfully ignorant or shamelessly cynical, requiring the sort of unique disregard for their past bad acts. How they tried to destroy Muhammad throughout his life by not allowing him to practice his craft or the sentiments so disturbing that it actually wasn’t out of line at all to them. It is what they did to every forward-thinking black man or group in America during that period. It was and is right in line with a long-running tradition in U.S. history: whitewashing the radicalism of black Americans.

Throughout American history, white Americans have toned down the life stories of radical people of color so that they can celebrate them as they want them to be, not as they were. Ali did not allow them to do this when he was alive, and it is our duty not to let them do it to his legacy now that he is not here to fight for it himself. It is why when we think of “I Have A Dream” we hear the name Martin Luther King Jr. and not his opposition to the Vietnam War. Narratives are altered. Complex people simplified. Revolutionary ideas watered down, wrapped and packaged with a bow for mainstream America. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Rest In Peace Champ

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I have had many things to be thankful for but above all else; I am grateful for being given life at a time that allowed me to live and witness the life of the man known as “The Greatest”! Yes, he was the greatest of all times. I am not a prophet but I will go on record and say the mold was cast, and there will never be another man like him to ever walk the earth. I am most grateful to have had the opportunity to have met him, and I will honestly say it was the greatest single moment of my life.

Hearing the news of his passing today hurt me in ways I cannot put into words. Muhammad Ali was not a myth; you had to live and understand the time he took the stage. He did more to inspire black people for though his unapologetic stance on white supremacy, the unjust war in Vietnam, and his peaceful stance relating to world issues than any other human.

People born after this day will never appreciate this amazing man because they have not witnessed his greatness. Therefore, they will not be as blessed as me! Rest peacefully with the ancestors and your God! And that is my thought provoking perspective…


The Real Sugar Man: King Of The Ring

5 (1)We’ve all heard about the boxer called the “Greatest,” the baddest man on the planet, and the Brown Bomber but Sugar Ray Robinson (born Walker Smith Jr.) was the greatest boxer of all time! Robinson’s performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions prompted sportswriters to create “Pound for Pound” rankings, where they compared fighters regardless of weight. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

Robinson was one of the first African Americans to establish himself as a star outside sports. According to ESPN.com’s Ron Flatter: “He was the pioneer of boxing’s bigger-than-life entourages, including a secretary, barber, masseur, voice coach, a coterie of trainers, beautiful women, a dwarf mascot and lifelong manager George Gainford.”The Sugar Man was an integral part of the New York social scene in his day. His glamorous restaurant, Sugar Ray’s, hosted stars such as Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, Nat “King” Cole, Joe Lewis, and Lena Horne among others.

Robinson was known as a flamboyant personality outside the ring. He combined striking good looks, with charisma, and a flair for the dramatic. He drove a flamingo-pink Cadillac and was an accomplished singer and dancer, who once pursued a career in the entertainment industry. His larger than life persona made him the idol of millions of African American youths in the 1950s. Robinson inspired several other fighters who took the nickname “Sugar” in homage to him such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Sugar Shane Mosley, and MMA fighter “Sugar” Rashad Evans.

Robinson was 85–0 as an amateur with 69 of those victories coming by way of knockout, 40 in the first round. He turned professional in 1940 at the age of 19 and by 1951 had a professional record of 128–1–2 with 84 knockouts. From 1943 to 1951 Robinson went on a 91 fight unbeaten streak, the third longest in professional boxing history. Robinson held the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951 and won the world middleweight title.

He retired in 1952, only to come back two and a half years later and regain the middleweight title in 1955. He then became the first boxer in history to win a divisional world championship five times, a feat he accomplished by defeating Carmen Basilio in 1958 to regain the middleweight championship. Robinson was named “fighter of the year” twice: first for his performances in 1942, then nine years and over 90 fights later, for his efforts in 1951.

Renowned for his flamboyant lifestyle outside the ring, Robinson is credited with being the originator of the modern sports “the entourage”. After his boxing career ended, Robinson attempted a career as an entertainer but struggled, and was challenged financially until his death in 1989. In 2006, he was featured on a commemorative stamp by the United States Postal Service.

The Sugar Man was a fluid boxer who possessed a quick jab and knockout power. He possessed tremendous versatility according to boxing analyst Boxing Historian Bert Sugar: Robinson could deliver a knockout blow going backward.” A TIME magazine article in 1951 said, “He was efficient with both hands, and displayed a variety of effective punches… “Robinson’s repertoire, thrown with equal speed and power by either hand, includes every standard punch from a bolo punch to a hook and a few he makes up on the spur of the moment.”

Robinson commented that once a fighter has trained to a certain level; their techniques and responses become almost reflexive. “You don’t think. It’s all instinct. If you stop to think, you’re gone.” Robinson has been ranked as the greatest boxer of all time by sportswriters, fellow boxers, and trainers. To include Hall of Fame fighters such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard have ranked Robinson as the greatest pound for pound boxer in history.

In 1997, The Ring ranked him as the best pound for pound fighter in history, and in 1999, he was named “welterweight of the century,” “middleweight of the century,” and overall “fighter of the century” by the Associated Press. In 2007, ESPN.com featured the piece “50 Greatest Boxers of All Time”, in which it named Robinson the top boxer in history. In 2003, The Ring magazine ranked him number 11 in the list of all-time greatest punchers. Robinson was also ranked as the #1 welterweight and the #1 pound for pound boxer of all-time by the International Boxing Research Organization.

Before all of the rest, the Sugar Man was the best “Pound for Pound”! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Great Champion Jack Johnson

2I am a huge boxing fan, mainly because of Muhammad Ali. However, there was another great champion long before Tyson or Ali or Joe Lewis. This boxers name was Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion, whose reign at the height of the Jim Crow era lasted from 1908 to 1915. During this period, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African American on Earth. This man was so bad that white people searched the world to find a “Great White Hope” to defeat him. By the way, this is the origin of the team.

Jack Johnson was the first African American pop culture icon. At the time, he was photographed more than any other black man of his day. He was also written about more than any other man. Black people during the early 20th century were hardly the subject of news in the white press unless they were the perpetrators of a crime or had been lynched; be it from a crime, real or imagined infraction. Johnson was unique in that not only was he written about in black newspapers but he was frequently the subject of white papers and often on the front pages.

Another unique, or insane, quality outside of his boxing talent was that he openly entertained and twice married “white women”. This was at a time when black men were lynched for merely looking at a white woman. As you can imagine, this made him the subject of scrutiny from the white press who often accused him of crimes as a result of his position as a champion athlete in a sport with a strong national following.

Not only did he date white women openly, but he also had a flashy lifestyle, drove lavish cars and spent large sums of money freely. All of this made it certain that trouble was always lurking. In 1912, he was convicted of violating the “Mann Act” for bringing his white girlfriend across state lines before their marriage. Sentenced to prison, he fled to Europe, remaining there as a fugitive for seven years. He returned to the United States in 1920 and ultimately served out his sentence.

Johnson’s boxing style was very distinctive. He developed a more patient approach than was customary in that day, playing with his opponents; often carrying on a conversation with ringsiders while he was fighting. Johnson would begin a bout cautiously, slowly building up over the rounds into a more aggressive fighter. When annoyed, he often fought to punish his opponents rather than knocking them out, easily avoiding their blows and striking with swift counters. He always gave the impression of having much more to offer and, if pushed, he could punch powerfully.

They found the “Great White Hope”, former undefeated heavyweight champion Jim Jeffries, who came out of retirement to challenge Johnson. The fight was dubbed “The Fight of the Century” held on July 4th, 1910 to which Jeffries lost badly. Many whites felt humiliated by the defeat of Jeffries. The outcome of the fight triggered race riots that evening all across America; in Texas, Colorado, New York, Washington, D.C., and most places in the country. Johnson’s victory over Jeffries had dashed white dreams of finding a white man to defeat him and reclaim the Heavyweight Title.

Blacks, on the other hand, were jubilant and celebrated Johnson’s great victory as a victory for racial advancement. Black poet William Waring Cuney later highlighted the black reaction to the fight in his poem “My Lord, What a Morning.” Around the country, blacks held spontaneous parades and gathered in prayer meetings. During his boxing career, Jack Johnson fought 114 fights, winning 80 matches, 45 by knockouts.

Johnson’s skills as a fighter and the money that it brought made it impossible for him to be ignored by the establishment. In the short term, the boxing world reacted against Johnson’s legacy. But Johnson foreshadowed one of the most famous boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali. In fact, Ali often spoke of how he was influenced by Jack Johnson. Ali identified with Johnson because he felt America ostracized him in the same manner because of his opposition to the Vietnam War and affiliation with the Nation of Islam.In 2002, Johnson was listed as one of 100 Greatest African Americans.

Since segregation ended and more liberal views exist today, Johnson’s life and career have undergone a major rehabilitation. His alleged crimes are now seen as the result of racial bias in law enforcement. Johnson has since been inducted into both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. In 2005, the United States National Film Preservation Board deemed the film of the 1910 Johnson-Jeffries fight “historically significant” and put it in the National Film Registry. In 2012, the City of Galveston dedicated a park in Johnson’s memory as Galveston Island’s most famous native son. The park includes a life-size, bronze statue of Johnson.

Jack Johnson was and should be considered one of the greatest boxers of all times and all who came after him owes their place in boxing history to him. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

 


Happy Birthday Brown Bomber

th (1)Joe Lewis Barrow was the first black heavyweight boxing to win and hold the crown sin the great Jackson at the turn of the century. He held the world heavyweight boxing champion title from June 22, 1937, until March 1, 1949. Known as the Brown Bomber, Lewis held the title belt for nearly 12 years, a boxing record, longer than any other boxer the history of the game and posted 25 successful title defenses.

Lewis was widely considered one of the greatest and most beloved boxers in the sport’s history was May 13, 1914 in the cotton-field country near Lafayette, Alabama. The son of a sharecropper, and the great-grandson of a slave, he was the eighth child of Munn and Lilly Barrow. His family life was shaped by financial struggle. The Louis kids slept three to a bed, and Louis’ father was committed to a state hospital when he was just two years old.

Louis had little schooling and as a teen took on odd jobs in order to help out his mother and siblings. The family eventually relocated to Detroit where Louis found work as a laborer at the River Rouge plant of the Ford Motor Company. For a time, Louis set his sights on a career in cabinet making. He briefly attended the Bronson Vocational School for training and in his off-time took violin lessons. But it was while at school that a friend recommended he try boxing.

While not an immediate success he debuted as a lightweight and was knocked down three times in his first fight but in that fight he showed promise. By 1934, he held the national Amateur Athletic Union light-heavyweight title and finished his amateur career with an astonishing 43 knockout victories in 54 matches.

Louis bruised his opponents with a crushing left jab and hook. By the end of 1935, the young fighter was showing that his amateur success was no fluke. He fought 14 bouts that year, earning nearly $370,000 in prize money. On June 19, 1936, Louis suffered his first professional defeat, a 12th round knockout to Max Schmeling, a German fighter and former heavyweight champion who’d earned the adoring praise of Adolph Hitler.

The defeat stung Louis, but it was offset by the chance to fight Jim Braddock on June 22, 1937 for the heavyweight crown. The Brown Bomber knocked out the defending champ in the eighth round setting the stage for a 12-year-run as the heavyweight king all the while becoming a sports icon for blacks and white across America.

Part of it could be chalked up to the sheer fact that fans loved a winner. Of Louis’ 25 title defenses, only three went the full 15 rounds. But in winning, Louis also showed himself to be a gracious, even generous victor. Louis, who enlisted in the Army in 1942, threw his support behind the country’s war effort and went so far as to donate twice his purse money to military relief funds.

He officially retired on March 1, 1949. A short-lived comeback, owed more in part because he was broke, soon followed. But Louis failed to capture his earlier magic. On October 26, 1951 he called it quits for good after Rocky Marciano knocked him out in the eighth round at Madison Square Garden.

The years after his retirement from the ring proved uneven for Louis. He was still a revered American figure, but money was a constant issue for him. In an effort to find some footing, he tried out a number of careers. He wrestled and partnered with a rival in setting up a chain of interracial food shops.

Lewis was not allowed to show any anger or to be too exuberant during his victories over white opponents. It was required of him to be humble. In 1970, his wife Martha committed Louis to a psychiatric hospital in Colorado because of his cocaine addiction and paranoia. He was later confined to a wheelchair following surgery to correct an aortic aneurysm. Louis was inducted to the Ring Magazine Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1982, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

There is a sad footnote to the illustrious career of one of the greatest sports stories in boxing history. For all that Lewis sacrificed for the country – the government hounded him for taxes from the early part of his career until he died. Only in America! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


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