Thursday, January 17, 2008
To the "Greatest" of all time. He's 66 today.
There he is, standing over Sonny Liston, in Lewiston Maine, May 25, 1965, having thrown "the phantom punch." Only a real boxing aficionado could tell you that former heavyweight champ Jersey Joe Wallcott was the third man in the ring that night. (And only a real boxing trivia buff could tell you that Jersey Joe, who when he won the heavyweight championship at age 37 became at the time the oldest person to win the title, was born Arnold Raymond Cream. "Jersey Arnold" just doesn't have the same ring to it.)
You can see a tape of perhaps the most controversial first round in heavyweight championship history HERE.
Don't blink, or you'll miss the vicious left that puts Liston on the canvas.
Ali trained right here in Miami, at the 5th Street Gym, which is no longer in existence.
We will tell you that upon arriving on the shores of our fair city, a young Rumpole dumped his possessions in a small apartment and ambled down to the 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach to just take in the history of the place. Later, we jumped a little rope and hit the heavy bag and speed bag a few times, and climbed into the ring, just to be able to say we put on the gloves in the same place where Ali trained in the sweet science.
Happy Birthday Muhammad.
See you in court, where we often say that we float like a butterfly and sting like a bee;
the prosecution can't convict what their witnesses didn't see.