Header Random

Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Beginning Of The Greatest's Tale

I tried to post this on the relevant day but gremlins in my browser stopped me. Apologies for the delay.

It's forty five years today (February 24) since the then Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston to claim the Heavyweight Championship of the World. Clay became Ali, Ali became The Greatest. It started on that day. I've sometimes claimed that Round 5 of that fight was the most important moment of the twentieth century - had Clay not evaded Liston in the 'blind round' then all that came after it would not have. No Vietnam resistance, no Rumble, no Thrilla. An integral part of the Civil Rights Movement would not have existed in such a vociferous form.

It was also the fight that launched the personality that would eventually become one of the greatest athletes of all time. I've got my problems with Muhammad as a man, but he is the most famous man of all time in what is undoubtedly my favourite sport, and for that I shall mark this day with one of my favourite Ali poems.

Clay comes out to meet Liston
and Liston starts to retreat,
if Liston goes back an inch farther
he'll end up in a ringside seat.

Clay swings with a left,

Clay swings with a right,
just look at young Cassius
carry the fight.

Liston keeps backing

but there's not enough room,

it's a matter of time

until Clay lowers the boom.

Then Clay lands with a right,

what a beautiful swing,

and the punch raised the bear

clear out of the ring.

Liston still rising
and the ref wears a frown,

but he can't start counting

until Sonny comes down.

Now Liston disappears from view,

the crowd is getting frantic

and our radaring stations
have picked him up
somewhere over the Atlantic.

Who on Earth thought,

when they came to the fight,

that they would witness
the launching
of a human satellite.

Hence the crowd did not dream,
when they laid down their money,
that they would see

a total eclipse of Sonny.

1 comment:

  1. did you see Bernard DUnne?? expected something on this by now....or did you miss it?