Grant Elvis Phillips
Today we enjoyed a memory lane, leading back to The Fight of the Century, starring Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971.
As many recalled, Muhammad was returning to the ring to challenge the world champion after being suspended three and a half years, for refusing to join the armed conflict in Vietnam.
The panelists discussed their personal experiences and memories enwrapped around the great glamor of that magical night in Madison Square Garden.
Don Majesky said it was remarkable how quickly this mega matching was achieved…barely ninety days after Ali fought Oscar Bonavena in a bruising encounter, poleaxing the rough hewn bull like Argentine in the fifteenth and final round. Bill Caplan said that this classic match up of undefeated champions generated more section one publicity that any other fight in modern history. What made it such a great fight was the drama. Frazier and Ali were guaranteed two and a half million dollars each, today`s equivalent would add up to two hundred and fifty million apiece. Grant Elvis Phillips stressed: “I don`t think anything has scratched the surface as being as big as this. It was a monumental event.”
James Mercante says of his father Arthur, who refereed this all time great fight, donated his how tie, shirt and trousers worn on that night to the International Hall of Fame in Canastota. But before so doing he: “Soaked his shirt in the boys` sink to get the blood out of it.” During the fight he`d warned Ali to stop the chit chat to Joe, which went something like: “Don`t you know I`m God!?” Joe had succinctly responded that if that was so, then God was in the wrong place that night. Even more famously and tersely he snapped: “Well God, you`re going to get whupped tonight!!!”
James Mercante recalled that years earlier in 1962, his father Arthur had introduced the then Cassius Clay to David Susskind who was the producer of the great boxing film entitled: Requiem for a heavyweight. One of its stars Jackie Gleason, a heroic drinker, used to arrive tardily on set: “Bright and late,” in a rather disheveled state. Gleason`s chair had: “The Great One,” written on the back of it. Not knowing who the wunderkind boxer was, Jackie told the kid to cut it out and get out of his chair, to which the precocious “Louisville Lip” retorted : “When you get here, just maybe you`ll be The Great One. Until then I`m THE GREATEST!”
The main reason for this meeting is that the panel and the WBC are organizing a great celebration in 2021 to mark the 50th anniversary of this mythical event in the history of sports. It`ll include a screening of The Fight at Madison Square Garden, and a Gala Dinner at the New York Athletic Club.
Way back then on that fabled night, Ali went down in the final round from a cobblestone heaved left hook from “Smokin Joe” and got up in a haze of cigar smoke. Some of the goggling ringsiders were distinguished by their long sideburns, so distinctive for the time. Jill Diamond won applause saying everyone attending this latterday anniversary , should don clothing from the early seventies! She also asked what Don Jose Sulaiman, who attended this great fight, thought about it. Mauricio replied: “It was his reference to Boxing forever!”
If you missed this talk and are interested in being part of this celebration tune in this fabulously great chat:
𝗪𝗕𝗖 𝗧𝗔𝗟𝗞𝗦 𝗥𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗗 46 “THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY”𝗝𝗢𝗜𝗡 𝗨𝗦: https://forms.gle/gcrvufHxhzAtD6K86Wednesday May 27🥊Spanish Version 11:00 am CDMX / 18:00 Madrid🥊English Version 09:00 pm CDMX / 16:00 MadridWith:Mauricio SulaimánWorld Boxing CouncilUniversidad LiberQuaré#WBCStayHomeStaySafe
Posted by WBCUniversity on Wednesday, 27 May 2020