Re: Care to speculate on what may have been different for these guys if they were whi
Langford: Would have had a proper title shot. I lack a lot of historical understand of this era.
Ali: Hmmm...if he did the same stuff, but he would still be white...I'd say he would still be considered a traitor, except it probably would have been seen as less of an offense since he would be white this time around. However, he probably wouldn't have been accepted into being a Muslim. I'm aware there are white Muslims, but the White ones accepted everyone for who they were, where as the real Ali joined a Pan African type (extreme separatists). That would be a bit hard for me to put together. But lets just say he stayed rooted in boxing. He probably would have been forgiven or he would have had a better chance at coming back to boxing in general. His fights with Frazier would have been a race war every time. Since Ali liked to stir things up you still would end up seeing the deep rivalry of Ali-Frazier, but this time the racial connotations would be extremely different. He also wouldn't have had the voice of the people for when he defeated Foreman. I can only imagine that fight wouldn't have taken place in Zaire. You'd see it somewhere in Europe or the USA. He wouldn't have had the huge impact that he had on African Americans. Also you wouldn't see that ridiculous piece of crap called "Ali Rap" that ESPN shamelessly shelled out. Hip Hop came from the Bronx, not Muhammad Ali. Read Can't Stop Won't Stop by Jeff Chang to understand that. Perhaps his greatest rival would end up being Jerry Quarry with Joe Frazier becoming his black foil. There's really a lot to speculate here.
Chris Byrd: He'd still be boring as hell, but maybe since he'd have the "White Hope" aura he would have transcended his real title reign and there would have been more pressure to unify since he was the "White Hope". He would have been able to do what Cooney couldn't do.
Writer's Note: It's interesting to see the spin that race can do to boxing. I'm lacking a lot of knowledge on Langford or else I'd be able to make a better explanation as to what would happen. It's also sad to note the differences that would happen. I think Joe Frazier would have been considered a better champ since he would have a lot to work for. Assuming that if him and Ali met up was a race war, Joe would be carrying the Black banner and his entire history would be very different. Also the Nation of Islam wouldn't have had Ali's back and a lot of the death threats they sent to Joe Bugner and any other fighter wouldn't have happened (Noted in Facing Ali). So maybe Bugner could have tried to defeat 1970 White Ali, instead of just making it look like a fight.
Final Comment: Race, just like religion has gotten us into a lot of problems. It's sad in how the nationalistic ideals played through race or religion get us (humanity) facing each other with guns drawn. All the way back to the Crusades and further before that, too many wars have been fought over differences. The only situation I see aggression justified is through proper Human progression and in some extreme situations, revolution. To understand and to reach a collective understanding outside of religion, color, and any other minor difference is basically the crux of my understanding and philosophy. Like the ripple effect, one drop can ripple throughout many lives (major and minor players in the Human race) and shape the world we live in today.