Ali Was A Successful Boxer, But He Wasn’t A God


It may be risking an accusation of churlishness, but isn’t “going somewhat over the top” a reasonable criticism of the world’s media in its reaction to the death of Mohammed Ali?

He was, after all, a man who made his fame and money from pummeling the senses out of his opponents, in what is probably the most barbaric activity still considered a “sport” in the 21st century.

While applauding his stance over the Vietnam War, for which American society of the time crucified him, and begrudgingly accepting his work for black equality – although the Nation of Islam was a highly suspect organisation – it’s ironic to note that the thousands of white people pouring out their grief at Ali’s passing were more than once condemned by Ali as his ‘true enemies’.

His poor health can almost certainly be attributed to the damage he suffered in the boxing ring over many years. In this way he was no different to other boxers who rose to fame, and died early, from their beatings.

With a lull in the U.S. election, and the boredom of ‘Brexit’, it’s easy to see why the media is making such a fuss of Ali’s passing. Less easy to understand is the political fawning over a man quick to condemn the white political establishment. Ex-president Bill Clinton will give a eulogy at the funeral, and the present incumbent, Barack Obama, on hearing of Ali’s death, stated:

Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it.”

Unfortunately, he failed to explain just how the world is so improved, and how worse off we would all have been had this man never existed.

There is no wish to belittle Ali’s achievements in the boxing ring, nor as a champion of the U.S. black community, but he was no ‘God’ in life, and neither should he be treated as such in death.

3 Replies to “Ali Was A Successful Boxer, But He Wasn’t A God”

  1. He was no friend to women, either, RJA and would ignore female reporters’ questions. So I’ve not participated in the unremitting adulation either.

    I’ve always viewed it as a barbaric sport too. Can’t even bear to watch it. Our species is pretty sad when this can be praised as “sport”.


  2. I’ve added an “RIP” for Ali in my sidebar without comment. I reckon that he did deal with his Parkinson’s bravely. My late partner, who was considerably my senior, in his younger years was involved in the boxing world for a while, and met Ali (then Clay). He was less than impressed by Clay’s very rude and impolite treatment of the kindly wife of a friend (a “blood and cuts man”) of my partner.

    Over the years I do think Clay/Ali mellowed somewhat, as do we all with a following wind.
    That anecdote of my partner’s remained in memory though.

    As for boxing being barbaric – depends how one views it I guess. Partner viewed it, at its best, as the art of defence.

  3. WWW -I have to agree. It would be wrong to suggest that supporters are all men, but surely women are in the minority. From what I’ve seen of audiences, there are relatively few women among the them. The gambling is also a big draw for many.

    Twilight – I’m not sure boxing could truly be considered the ‘art of defence’, given that judo and jujitsu also hold that claim to fame. Mind, I doubt Ali had need of any other form of self-defence! 😉

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