Re: Did the exile hurt Ali's legacy or did it help it?
I could be wrong, but I don't believe Ali would have made as much in some of the bigger bouts if not for the exile. For instance, had he fought Frazier in 1968 or 69, I do not believe each would have been paid two and a half million. His absence from the ring added to the anticipation of the FOTC. That bout was a quantum leap at the time for fighters' purses. Ring Magazine wrote ".... never again will fighters be paid purses of that magnitude." Of course, three years later, Ali and Foreman got 5 million apiece, which is still small alongside some purses of more recent years. The big money certainly would have come along as it did, but I believe Ali's comeback from exile made it happen sooner.