Monday, March 08, 2010

They Reminisce Over You

I had taped the documentary Facing Ali (2009) when Spike TV showed it a couple of weeks ago.  This past Saturday, I finally got around to watching it.  I've seen plenty of news stories and other documentaries about Muhammad Ali, but this was the most heartfelt of the ones I've seen.  Ten boxers who faced Ali in the ring -- Joe Frazier, Henry Cooper, Ron Lyle, Earnie Shavers, George Foreman, Ernie Terrell, Leon Spinks, George Chuvalo, Ken Norton and Larry Holmes -- talk about the experience of fighting the man known as "the greatest of all time".

They also talk about how they feel about him.  Some did not agree with Ali's alliance with the Nation of Islam, and some were not cool with his anti-Vietnam War stance.  Terrell and Frazier, in particular, talk about how they didn't appreciate Ali insulting them before, during, and after their fights.  As time has gone by, a lot of the old grudges have faded, however.  Some of the boxers -- especially Chuvalo and Norton -- had some hard times after their fighting days were over.  But the boxers have ongoing respect and affection for Ali.  Frazier, in reference to Ali's current state of health, tears up when he expresses a wish that Ali "gets to live like we all live. . .he's earned it." 

This is a great documentary, that tells another side of Ali's story, from the perspective of his opponents.  

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