The whole Liston – Cassius Clay gun incident was a publicity stunt. Clearly, Liston was in cahoots with the eventual Muhammed Ali during all the pre-fight taunting, to gin-up ratings. As for Ali’s decision to run like hell when Sonny went ballistic, we turn to a contemporaneous celebrity: Jimmy Hoffa. After an assassin attempted to rub out the union boss (in court no less), Hoffa famously recommended that one should run from a knife, charge a gun. Take that as you will. Meanwhile, godspeed champ. And, while we’re at it, Ali’s endlessly entertaining foil and inveterate truth teller Howard Cosell.

30 Responses to A Dubious Armed Self-Defense Lesson from Muhammed Ali

  1. Ali and his handlers were showmen. I was never a boxing fan but I could appreciate the show around Ali.

    Had Liston pulled a gun, fake or real, today, his boxing career would have been over and his legal career just started.

    • .

      Hmmm.

      Seems some black muslims named mohammad are more equal than others.

      Whatever. Just build the damn wall already.

      .

  2. God was slow to take the draft dodger, guess his illness was pay back for getting out of the draft when it was his turn to serve the nation. Not saying others didn’t Rush, Chaney, Romney, etc…. Flame suit is on and ready.

    • He didn’t dodge the draft. He showed up, refused to take the oath and stood ready to suffer the consequences. Those were honorable actions. Running to Canada or finding every exemption in the book was “dodging the draft” and the acts of cowards.
      Exactly how was fighting in VN “serving the nation”. North Viet Nam was no threat to the United States. It was a war for the MIC and nothing else.

      • One doesn’t flee to Canada if they’re willing to take the consequences. In fact, that’s a distinct disinclination to take the consequences. Just sayin.

        Likewise, his entire reasoning for doing so isn’t up on some ivory tower pedestal. He didn’t want to fight the white man’s war and his peaceful religion forbade him from participating in a non-islam war.

        Great boxer? Sure. A role model? Meh, not so.

        And if you don’t understand the concept of containment in reference to communism through the 60s and 70s by now, there’s really no hope for you. The Vietnamese in and of themselves were never the problem.

    • Having served with draftee’s I’m of the opinion that a draft is of little value. I believe that all people owe a service to their country. But it doesn’t need to be military service. Quite simply, not all are cut out for soldiering and except in times of dire emergency I don’t think any should be forced to join.

      Still, heinlein’s views on service and citizenship are tempting at times.

      • “Service” to the country is a socialist concept. The military, in general, is no noble a pursuit than hedge fund managing – the devil is in the details.

      • Different people can provide different skills to help with a common cause or goal… If a person is a excellent mechanic, pilot, cook, accountant, engineer, etc why not have them serve at what they can do best.

        That’s the whole point of the ASVAB; not much sense in sending the 130 IQ, who scored a 99, to catch bullets, unless that’s what they want to do.

        • If a person is a excellent mechanic, pilot, cook, accountant, engineer, etc

          Back in the day in the Army, an excellent mechanic became a cook, an excellent cook became an engineer, an excellent pilot became an infantryman, and an excellent accountant became a general.

      • I would favor conscription, if we scrapped our current military and replaced it with a citizen’s militia forbidden from ever being used for anything other than defending our own borders. But drafting men and sending them to fight overseas is lunacy.

    • He should of just let himself be drafted. In all likelihood he never would of went to Vietnam, outside of some morale thing. He was Cassius Clay, the beat boxer in the world. He would of been put on the army’s boxing team.

        • He stood for them when it came to the draft.
          When it came to interracial sex, he was firmly and religiously against it except when he was doing it.

  3. “If 10,000 snakes were coming down that aisle now, and I had a door that I could shut, and in that 10,000, 1,000 meant right, 1,000 rattlesnakes didn’t want to bite me, I knew they were good… Should I let all these rattlesnakes come down, hoping that that thousand get together and form a shield? Or should I just close the door and stay safe?”

    “You’re my enemy. My enemy is the white people.”

    “Integration is wrong. We don’t want to live with the white man.”

    “No intelligent black man or black woman in his or her right black mind wants white boys and white girls coming to their homes to marry their black sons and daughters.”

    — Muhammad Ali

    That’s the prick America is fawning over. Damn, Americans are stupid.

    • Ignorant, and blessed with short memories.

      Kids don’t know that stuff at all. They know the punch-drunk smiling boxer who seemed kinda cool for the last 20 years. Many of us who knew this stuff when we were kids have forgotten.

      I always thought that a lot of that bluster was “show” for the ‘black power’ movement and such folks consumption. Didn’t he mellow considerably on all that by the late ’70s?

      • Didn’t he mellow considerably on all that by the late ’70s?

        It’s hard to say. He did stop talking shit when he left the Black Muslims after his pal Malcolm was assassinated by them. Then he became a Sunni and in his later years he started to become a Sufi. So did his opinions change, or only his rhetoric?

        Ali was a well-conditioned fighting machine with the best chin I’ve ever seen on any fighter, and I’ve been a boxing fan for over 60 years. That’s his legacy. Nothing more.

        • Ali was a well-conditioned fighting machine with the best chin I’ve ever seen on any fighter, and I’ve been a boxing fan for over 60 years. That’s his legacy. Nothing more.

          That is definitely his legacy – at least the one that’s positive. A great fighter to be sure, and the rest of the stuff belongs in the dustbin of history – not to be forgotten that it happened, just another reminder that athletes are not to be looked to for anything but feats of the human body.

      • My only impression of Ali as a kid was the one I got from watching reruns of his cartoon series on Saturday mornings.

    • This and more like this is the memory of this man that i remember.
      When i heard he passed…my first thought was …..good.
      The world just got lighter.
      I dont care about the athlete as well.

  4. Ali’s dead, big woop. He was a racist, sexist, adultous, religionist piece of trash. Refusing to take the oath and serve was the only honorable thing he ever did. Known for the irrelevance of thuggery veiled as sport, and sport in any case, and running his mouth. He’s been a pile of mush for decades, all the hangers on waiting to feed at the carcass. Big parade for these stars, not much said about people who have actually done some good medically or otherwise to improve our quality of living.

  5. I am ambivalent about Ali. I had no problem with him refusing the draft. Or Bush,Clinton,Trump or Ted Nugent. I know I didn’t want to go to Vietnam(I came close). WW2 I’d have no problem fighting for my country. ALL these insane Asian adventures were an unforgivable waste of blood and treasure. No fan of moose-lims in general but Ali comported himself well after he started shaking…

  6. Never cared for him – I remember as a kid in the 70’s always rooting fore whomever fought against him. Frazier was more of the kind of guy I admired – worked hard, kept his mouth shut, and let his performance do the talking. Ali set the mold for what we have now – loud, obnoxious showboating to draw attention to oneself.

    This is leaving out his whacky social beliefs, which are well-documented, but ignored as he is a member of a media-protected class.

    This also leaves out his draft-dodging, as at the time he thought he would not be prosecuted because of who he was. When he was, the story was changed to make him a “principled person”.

  7. Can’t believe no one remembers the other big mouth – Cosell, that is. His capacity to enrage may have only been equaled by Ali. For better or worse, they certainly deserved each other.

    Tom

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