The subtle sadness in Ali’s greatest moment...

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by reznick, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. reznick

    reznick In the 7.2% Full Member

    Mar 17, 2010
    “I don’t have a mark on my face. I upset Sonny Liston. And I just turned 22 years old. I am the greatest!”

    Not a person here doesn’t know this moment like the back of their hand. Ali proves what he has been saying all along, that he is the greatest! It is a moment of glory, triumph, and ultimate achievement. Nobody with a pulse can help but be pulled in by this iconic moment.

    However, there is a subtle, darker aspect to this unforgettable moment. As Ali is yelling that he is the greatest, Joe Louis is standing inches from him. Louis, the man that up until that point, was undeniably the greatest of all time. And this amazing moment for Ali, the new greatest, completely overshadows the presence of Louis, the old greatest. Louis doesn’t hand him the torch. Ali grabs it, and leaves Louis in the dust.

    No more evident of this, is the symbolism of the ring reporter pulling Ali in, while literally pushing Louis away.

    You can’t help feel good for Ali. And if you watch Louis, you can’t help but feel bad for him.
  2. Thread Stealer

    Thread Stealer Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    That annoyed me too.

    First you had the commentator commanding Louis to go there when the fight ended. “Get up there Joe, get up there!”

    Then Joe goes and the reporter basically pushes him out of the way.

    **** that guy.
  3. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze Be real• Full Member

    Oct 12, 2020
    Sad- Louis paved the way for Ali and Black America I think he is severely under appreciated in an age of liberation- he surrendered his identity for the sake of his people.
    Even his nickname had its origins in an insult. he lived tragic and died tragic, he went into the unknown abyss that is the afterlife detached from his senses a relic in a world of momentum- He simply could not help become a shadow on the wall, So he died dreaming of better days when he had more then fleeting memories, cocaine and fear- the magic of his youth the champions finest days before his country and his own mind betrayed him.

    He needs a bio movie, a new book about his life and impact on the planet and a holiday named after him honestly-

    On the joyful side of things Ali was said to have let Louis call him Clay without any ill will for Joe had issues with speech- He also considers Louis to truly be the greatest.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  4. Stevie G

    Stevie G Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jul 17, 2009
    I always did have the feeling that there was a huge mutual respect linking Muhammad and Joe.
  5. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond Bronsonville Full Member

    Jul 25, 2015
    Ali was lucky Primo wasn't there.
  6. Fergy

    Fergy Boxing Junkie banned Full Member

    Jan 8, 2017
    Yes it's sad between Ali and Louis. But that was also Ali's personality, he was the up and coming new thing. I don't think he felt any animosity toward Louis, it was tongue in cheek and play acting a lot of the time with him.
    And Joe knew the situation, he'd been at the top for years, he knew he was still the champ in a lot of older people s eyes.
  7. Richard M Murrieta

    Richard M Murrieta Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jul 16, 2019
    I think that Muhammad Ali was overcome by joy following his victory over Sonny Liston, as just about every boxing expert including the great Joe Louis picked Sonny to beat this talkative challenger in much the same manner that Floyd Patterson was beaten, thus exposing Ali as a boastful kid. But as one talented poster alluded to, there was a mutual respect between Ali and Joe. I do believe that later on down the road, Joe and another great, Jack Dempsey were disappointed that Ali refused the military draft in 1967, as Louis and Dempsey served proudly. As mentioned previously, the Vietnam conflict was a different type of war unlike World War II, where our great nation was attacked. Vietnam was pure political, we were not attacked. Plus given the fact that Dempsey and Louis were from another time. Ali taught us the art of self promoting bouts, he was boastful, gimmicks like predicting the round in which an opponent would fall. Jack and Joe were more reserved and let the fans sing their praises.
  8. Safin

    Safin Well-Known Member Full Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    The entire thing is subjective. Just because Ali and company shoved it down people's throats doesn't make it true.

    Many would have still favoured Louis, especially up until that early point.
  9. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jan 4, 2008
    Dempsey never served.
    Saintpat and Richard M Murrieta like this.
  10. Richard M Murrieta

    Richard M Murrieta Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jul 16, 2019
    I did not know that, thanks for the info my friend. I saw Jack wear a uniform once, that is why I assumed that he did. I did read however, that Dempsey was disappointed in Ali for not serving.
    Bokaj likes this.
  11. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jan 4, 2008
    Yeah, I think that picture was staged. If I remember correctly there was a controversy regarding that.
  12. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Nov 24, 2005
    Nice story but .... nobody then was taking Clay's "Greatest of All Time" boasts seriously at all. Nobody thought Liston quitting on his stool in Miami had proved anything of that sort, even those who thought Clay put on a great performance.

    Of course, it's not unusual for former champions to be somewhat 'overshadowed' by the bright young things in moments and context like this, and that's only fair. But that's not the same as them being overtaken or eclipsed in the all-time greatness category, far from it.
  13. Jamal Perkins

    Jamal Perkins Well-Known Member Full Member

    Oct 19, 2012
    I wrote about this some years ago.

    You're clearly a polite man I saw it more as Ali greatly disrespected Louis he ignored the old ageing champion.

    I may be wrong but I'm sure around this time Ali also called Louis an uncle Tom.

    I dont know if Ali himself felt slighted by something Louis said about his boxing to behave this way.

    Later in his life when Ali matured he was more respectful to the great champ.

    Another subtle moment I recall is Tyson Fury"s disrespect to Lennox Lewis after the Wlad title victory.He blanked Lewis ,turned his back on him....than I seem to recall some indignity when he turned around and asked lennox to hold his water bottle for him
    Richard M Murrieta and TipNom like this.
  14. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Come on. You don't expect Ali, having stopped Sonny Liston, something he was told was impossible, to turn to Joe Louis and say "you were such a great fighter too and you blazed a trail for me."

    Louis rated Ali pretty early as a fighter, before this, he know what he was seeing (Rocky was totally bamboozled and literally couldn't believe what he was seeing on that night). The two got on OK, but Louis generally did very well in verbal sparring with him.

    He definitely called Louis Uncle Tom, as he did every single leading black figure who was not a black Muslim with the possible exception of Jim Brown.

    Ali was neither respectful nor disrespectful of Joe Louis. He was experiencing a moment of ecstasy the likes of which you and I will never experience.
  15. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    It needs to be remembered too what Joe Louis was at this time in his life. He was broke, he was probably using heroin, he was on the make for a dollar, often from active fighters (he speared Liston mercilessly) and when he got one he tended to gamble it away.

    No fighter, none of them, looked a Joe Louis at this time and said anything but "I won't turn out like him." So the context, like you say, is important.
    LoadedGlove likes this.