Archive for the ‘boxing’ Category

I had fallen asleep on my couch with my TV on ESPN.  However, I woke up and noticed a mural on the left hand side of the screen showing Muhammad Ali’s face.  Before my eyes could adjust and focus on the words on the screen, I knew that Ali had died.  I’d just spoken to my cousin about Ali just hours ago about how grave his condition was.

My first “favorite athlete”,  Muhammad Ali, was dead at the age of 74 years old.

There aren’t many men like Ali being produced in this country any more.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  He had his issues when it came to his wives.  He wasn’t perfect.  But he did more for this country than anyone who may have stepped foot on the White House lawn in the past 50 years.

People who don’t know the man think that he was “The Greatest” because of what he did inside the boxing ring.  No.  Ali was “The Greatest” for what he did outside of the boxing ring.  Ali inspired the world with his approach to day-to-day living.  He was a motivational speaker.  He was a civil rights activist.  He was an entertainer.  Oh, he was such an entertainer!

Ali had a relationship with the media that we will never see again.  He gave interviews that resembled stand up comedy sets.  The beneficiary of many of those interviews was a sports commentator named Howard Cosell.

Cosell and Ali were partners.  They fed off of each other in their interviews to become two of the biggest figures in sports.  The respect that they had for one another provided entertainment for more than a decade.  Despite their close relationship, Cosell remained unbiased in his journalist approach unlike what we see with some talking heads today.

Howard Cosell and Muhammad Ali turned each other into legends.

Ali won many awards and honors during and long after his boxing career.  I won’t go through all of his accomplishments because the talking heads will do that over the next week.  However, I will mention his impact on today’s culture.  Ali started a culture of brashness that we see in sports today.  This was a man who not only showed you in the ring that he was “The Greatest”, he would tell you that he was, too.  The predictions that athletes make today, the “getting in the head” of their opponents, and things like that were made famous by Ali.

Seated: Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

He embraced his blackness and his message resonated throughout black communities around the country.  He stood for his beliefs regardless of the controversies and criticisms that surrounded him which is something athletes refuse to do today.  Ali didn’t care if you liked him.  He didn’t care if he lost money from losing fans.  Heck, he didn’t even care if he went to jail for what he believed.

Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

There are many things that I wish that I could change with the world.  There are many things that I wish that I could go back in time and fix.  But if I had one wish to change anything regarding Muhammad Ali, it would be for him to forever have his voice.

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984 and it slowly robbed him of all of the gifts that he’d displayed for us over the previous 25 years prior to that.  If he only had the opportunity to continue speaking, what would his contributions to black communities and to his religion would have meant to society today?

Muhammad Ali and Sam Cooke

Would he have put black athletes and celebrities in their place when it came to their selfishness?  Would he have continued to inspire people to do more with their lives and not be ordinary?  What would Ali have given us had his voice not been trapped inside of his body?

We will never know.  The first athletic entertainer is gone.  A lot of people speculated that Ali was in a bad place this time around as we got word that he was being hospitalized.  Over the course of 24 hours, we all knew that his condition was getting worse and that he may be passing on.  Despite that being the fact, it still feels like a body punch to the gut to wake up and find out that my favorite athlete is gone.

R.I.P., Champ.


This has been one of the greatest weekends in quite some time. So much has happened since Friday night and now that the weekend is almost over, I’m just as tired as if I worked all week. I’ve been sitting around trying to think of a more active weekend then May 1st – 3rd of 2015 and I just can’t bring anything to mind. Why was this weekend so great?

Friday night for me started with “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” I grew up as a huge comic book fan and I’ve come to love their movies. I saw “Avengers” in 2012 and I’ve waited patiently for this sequel and it finally arrived. Unlike most sequels, I wasn’t worried about being disappointed because every Marvel Comic movie has been done to perfection since “Iron Man” debuted in 2008. The original “Avengers” movie from 2012 became my all-time favorite movie after seeing it and let me say that the sequel is an extremely close second! An awesome movie that non-comic fans may not appreciate, but those who are familiar with the characters will enjoy.

Grade: A+

After sleeping until 9 AM, I spent Saturday morning cleaning for the most part. I did a lot of moving, discarding, and rearranging. Later that afternoon, I fired up the grill and started to throw down on some vittles. Chicken legs, turkey burgers, hot dogs, and pork chops made up the BBQ roster. As I prepared, I peeked inside at the TV from time-to-time to see if the 141st Kentucky Derby had started.
Dating back to my youth, the Kentucky Derby was always a big deal. I was around 6 years old the last time a horse won the Triple Crown in horse racing. So I’m always excited to see the first leg of the Triple Crown races to see who will be the horse to watch. The Kentucky Derby is generally one of the most exciting two minutes you’ll ever see in a “spectator sport.”

I would have liked to have seen more action towards the front of the pack, but the race basically came down to two horses. It was neck-and-neck down the stretch before American Pharoah pulled off the victory by a length. American Pharoah will be the horse to follow as they move on to the next leg of the Triple Crown in a few weeks.

Grade: A- 

The NFL Draft was going on throughout the day on Saturday. I didn’t take the time to watch it, but I was elated when I found out that a friend of mine had a stepson get drafted by the New England Patriots. Congratulations to Matthew Wells, Mississippi State linebacker. I hope that the Patriots get good use out of your versatility.  I only hate that my Cowboys didn’t see his potential, but I am happy with their draft.  Training camp is just around the corner and Preseason will be here in just a couple of months.  I can smell the tailgating in the air already!

Grade: Gotta give an A+ when someone you once saw play in high school makes it to the NFL. 

Lastly was the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight. “The Fight of the Century” as dubbed by the promoters. Well, the actual fight didn’t live up to its name, but the hype surrounding it most definitely did. This was probably the most anticipated fight in the history of boxing. For six years people have asked for this fight and last night it finally happened. Here’s my take on the fight: I enjoyed it. Many loyal boxing fans did. I saw a lot of negative comments on Facebook and Twitter about Mayweather “running” from Pacquiao.

Unfortunately, people watch too many mixed martial arts and Rocky movies and assume that every title fight is a war. That’s not necessarily the case. You’re not supposed to get hit in boxing. Muhammad Ali most famously said, “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” Not “stand toe-to-toe and swing for the fences.” And if it’s good enough for Ali then it’s good enough for me.

Mayweather dodged Pacquiao’s punches, landed punches of his own, and got back out of Pacquiao’s way. I can’t blame the man for doing what boxing was based on: “make him miss then make him pay.” Everyone knows Mayweather’s style so I don’t understand the complaining. It’s like buying an ice cream cone in the summer and getting mad because it melted before you got home. You should have expected it. Was this fight worth the $99 I spent? Absolutely not. However, very few fights in the history of boxing would have been.

Grade: B+ 

As you can see, I had a very active Friday and Saturday. Today is my grandmother’s 92nd birthday, so I will be going to see her to celebrate her being blessed with another year on this earth. My god daughter has a dance recital in a few hours, so if I’m lucky then I can get that in as well. This has really just been an awesome weekend.