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When We Were Kings DVD Cover - (PolyGram Filmed Entertainment photo)



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To some Muhammad Ali seemed to be a complex individual but there are three documentaries that put all of the information together and consolidated his personalities. If there is a legacy that Ali leaves behind it is to be kind, love and care for one another as he did in his own somewhat mysterious life. Ali will always be remembered as THE GREATEST. Three documentaries regarding the struggles in his life are worthy of being in a video library


Monday, June 13, 2016


The recent passing of Muhammad Ali shocked the world which raised the question how would his life be dealt with on television coverage. When David Bowie died it seemed like a week that television presenters and journalists had too much to say, it was as if Bowie was the spirit of GOD, to them.

Bowie was white but Ali was black and despised over the years by many white people because of his brashness and success. CNN televised some video tributes but nothing like how they grieved over Bowie. The most ironic was CNN having their star raging Jew Wolf Blitzer hosting a half hour tribute to the man known as THE GREATEST

The irony is that CNN and Blitzer represent everything that Ali was against… WAR and HATE. This is a topic deserving of its own story but this is about the television coverage given Ali and not the shortcomings of CNN and Blitzer.

Throughout the week following Ali's death Fox Sports was the leader of the pack to honor the man considered the greatest fighter ever. They presented three documentaries regarding the former three time heavyweight champion…'When We Were Kings', 'Muhammad Ali-The Greatest' and 'I AM Ali.'

It culminated Sunday June 12 with telecasts during the day and repeated back to back telecasts in the evening. For those that aren't aware of whom Ali was or what he represented these documentaries are MUST SEES.

The legend of Ali is what he did for the black race in raising their self-worth and having dignity. He fought the US government in refusing to be inducted into the military service to fight America's illegal war in Vietnam.

The crux of his disagreement with the government was after winning the gold medal in the 1960 Olympics he was refused service in a white only restaurant. Legend has it that he was so disgusted that he threw the media in the river. Basically he was the champion of the world in Olympic boxing representing America but in reality his reward was to continue to be treated like a nigger.

To put it into perspective his win was at a time when segregation was being practiced in America. Black student couldn't go to school with white students in the south. America was supporting Israel but FAILED to support their own black population. Blacks were and remain the oppressed.

Ali was a Muslim and refused military service based on his religious beliefs. The government sentenced him to five years in jail. Ali appealed and eventually won his case but it cost him almost four years of fighting and income when he was between the ages of 25 to 28 the peak of an athlete's career. At that time he was undefeated with a 29-0 record.

His punishment put him in a position of being unable to earn a living. Ali was known for being a quick thinker and had the ability to turn on a dime and think on his feet. He resorted to having to make speeches to college students in order to make a living.

In one scene he was challenged by a student who asked why he refused to go to war. His reply was he had no problems with his fellow brown people the Vietnamese. He noted that they never did anything to him. They never called him nigger. He pointed out that his enemy was the white people as he pointed at the student.

Ali's suspension from boxing resulted in him speaking against racism and supporting human rights. In essence what Ali was doing as a result of his persecution was educating people.

The documentary 'Muhammad Ali-The Greatest' focused on this topic and his fight with the government. It also features interviews with some of his greatest opponents notably Ernie Shavers because Shavers called him Clay (his slave name) and not Ali his selected Muslim name. Throughout the fight as Ali was punching then while clinching Shavers he would ask him, "What's my name?"

Joe Fraizer also was featured in a documentary regarding his fights and feuds with Ali. Frazier's son Mavis pointed out that his father was deeply hurt by the names that Ali called him, the BIG GORILLA. In part the hurt was embellished by the fact that Frazier was one of the people that supported Ali for the boxing commission to permit him to fight again.

The two fought after he was reinstated. Both were undefeated and Frazier won gave him Ali his first loss making his record 31-1. The fight was billed as the biggest fight of the century and it lived up to his billing.

Ali later won two more fights with Frazier including the Thrilla in Manila when he was 33 years and 257 days old. He won that fight when Frazier refused to come out for the 15th round. Ali's record then rose to 49-2.

One of Ali's greatest fights was against the then undefeated George Foreman referred to as The Rumble in the Jungle that was held in Zaire, Africa. This was the focus of the documentary 'When We Were Kings.' At that time Ali was 32 years and 286 days old.

This documentary is devoted to this fight in depicting the events leading up to the fight and lengthy portions of the fight itself. It covered that festivities and music concerts surrounding the event featuring James Brown and BB King.

Much of the documentary demonstrated how much the African people were in support of Ali. George Foreman was annoyed and said Ali had lighter skin the he. An interview with an African said that Ali was more real and genuine. Africans were filmed throughout the doc saying Ali Boom By Yea (phonically) meaning Ali kill (George Foreman).

The doc featured journalist Norman Mailer stating that everyone felt Ali would be slaughtered by the undefeated Foreman who was a bigger stronger man.

Another journalist George Plimpton was featured in the doc saying that he thought the fight was fixed since Ali never attacked during the first two rounds and was leaning backwards against the ropes looking up as if he was trying to see what was on his roof.

Mailer mentioned that Ali's tactic of leading with a right hand lead was unorthodox and disrespectful. He noted that a right had lead had to travel a greater distance to connect and would leave Ali open for a counter attack. He noted that it was an Ali strategy since he felt Foreman didn't train for it and was unprepared to defend it as the $50 a day sparing partners Foreman had would not throw it out of respect.

It was this type of wisdom that gave Ali the advantage over his opponents. He was one of the smartest fighters that ever lived and had an IQ of only 78.

For those that knew him, Ali was a caring warm human being who would help anyone. He was known to visit children in hospitals and care for the indigent. He message was to love one another and not hate. His message was to live together and not kill each other. His message was intended to the black race as well as those of the white race that despised him.

He was loved by people all over the world. When I was bargaining for a leather bag in Florence, Italy in 1975 the vendor became angry. He said that the only Americans that were of worth were black activist Angela Davis and Muhammad Ali.

One documentary, 'I AM Ali' depicts the warm side of Ali. It depicts his interviews and recordings of him speaking via telephone to his children. Ali had nine children some with woman he didn't marry. He cared for all of them and made it a point to have all of his children meet once a year to be together in Los Angeles.

The film begins with a phone call between Ali and his daughter Hana that took place in November of 1971. In the call Ali tells Hana, a young child at the time, that he might fight in one final boxing match. Hana tells him not to do it. The film then transitions to Ali’s last professional fight, which took place in 1981, ten years later.

The film includes glimpses of Ali’s life shown through archival footage, interviews with friends and family, and many more of Ali’s personal audio recordings. Notable periods of his life are covered by interviews with those who knew him best, and others who considered themselves fans and admirers. Through these devices the documentary looks back at Ali's life, beginning with early childhood.

The documentary also focuses on Ali's relationship to the boxing world. Ali’s boxing matches with various rivals, including Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and Sonny Liston are discussed. Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson talks about how he aspired to fight at the same level as Ali.

To some Ali seemed to be a complex individual but these documentaries put all of the information together and consolidate his personalities. If there is a legacy that Ali leaves behind it is to be kind, love and care for one another as he did in his somewhat mysterious life. Ali will always be remembered as THE GREATEST.

When one thinks about Ali's career you can only wonder how much greater he could have been if a racist government didn't take him to task to join the military. All of his greatest fights followed an almost four year removal from the sport that he loved.

When he was permitted to return he was great but he was not as sharp, quick, fast or as in shape as he was, prior to his banishment from boxing. His determination to overcome these limitations is demonstrated in these DVD's. His determination and the will to die for his beliefs is what made him greater than just being a boxer.

These three documentaries are worthy of being in a video library. FOX SPORTS televising of these classics… DID ALI RIGHT.

In essence Jesus died on the cross to save sinners while Ali lived his life to EDUCATE THEM.


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