Today, June 3rd, marks the first anniversary of the death of the one and only Muhammad Ali; without a single doubt the most famous boxer of all time. The tributes continue to come in thick and fast for the three time world heavyweight champion who would have been 75 today had he not lost his long and extremely brave battle with Parkinson’s.
The books continue to roll in, too – even though, as has been pointed out by more than a few boxing aficionados, there surely cannot be anything to write about Ali that hasn’t already been written. We’ve had “The Real Story,” with Ali’s autobiography, released way back in 1975, we’ve had another endorsed account of Ali’s life, with the 1991 effort by Thomas Hauser, and we’ve had hundreds, if not thousands of Ali books since. They’ve not all been gloriously pro-Ali – the late Mark Kram’s superb “Ghosts of Manilla” doing a fine job of demystifying Ali, the man – but most of them have; so revered and idolised as Ali is and will always be. A new book is in the works, and this biography, written by Jonathan Eig, will reportedly count the exact number of punches Ali took during his long career (or careers: pre-exile and post-exile) in the ring.
Ali of course showed time and again that he could REALLY take a shot to the head; with monstrous punchers like George Foreman, Earnie Shavers, Joe Frazier, Ron Lyle and others being unable to KO the greatest heavyweight in history. But do fans really want to recount all of the blows Ali took; the punches that ultimately left him in the dire condition he was in in the 1990s (or before) until the very end? It’s a new angle to be sure and maybe Ali fans will buy the book to find out just how many times their hero got punched. There will be other things in the book of course, but again – is there anything left that we do not already know about Ali?