Just two great photographs. I love Angelo Dundee checking out Ali on the monitor.
“A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.” – Muhammad Ali
How to make a young boy’s day. Year. Life so far…
(via Open Culture)
Part 3 of Louis Vuitton’s beautifully realized Core Values campaign. Words of Muhammad Ali: Float
Parts 1 and 2 here
Posted in Advertising, Sport
Tagged Boxing, Core Values, Fashion, Louis Vuitton, Mos Def, Muhammad Ali, Niels Shoe Meulman, Poetry, Short FIlm, Stuart McIntyre, Words, Yasiin Bey
Hip-hop emcee, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), and calligrapher, Niels Shoe Meulman, pay homage to The Greatest, and sport’s greatest showman, Muhammad Ali, in this video for Louis Vuitton’s Core Values campaign. Drawing on Ali’s most famous quotes, Bey adopts the role of storyteller, bard and (literal) ringmaster to glorify the heavyweight champ. The results, directed by Stuart McIntyre, are beautiful. Both visually and lyrically dazzling.
Posted in Advertising, Poetry, Quotes, Sport
Tagged Boxing, Core Values, Hip Hop, Louis Vuitton, Muhammad Ali, Niels Shoe Meulman, Poetry, Short FIlm, Stuart McIntyre, Words, Yasiin Bey
As was perhaps befitting of a man who had evolved from merely a cosmically gifted champion into a genuine global superstar, by the 1970s Muhammad Ali’s fights had become so much more than merely international sports events. As his fame grew and grew, so his fight-nights morphed into something extraordinary, almost surreal, somewhere between a catwalk show, a film premiere and a Harlem grindhouse. They became an irresistible whirlpool for celebrities, hustlers, pushers and pimps. Where the rich and not-so-famous came to strut, jive and swagger. To be seen and photographed. Where vanity and ego swelled cavernous arenas, the smell of greenbacks and chinchilla threatened to overwhelm. And where, frankly, what happened in the square ring was almost incidental.
The zenith of this ringside showboating was almost certainly Ali’s iconic 1971 championship fight against Smokin’ Joe Frazier, at Madison Square Garden, NYC (famously photographed, again for LIFE magazine, by a ticketless Frank Sinatra.) But here are some fantastic photographs of a slightly earlier contest, from 1970, against the cast-iron Argentine Oscar Bonavena, also at MSG.
They are a wonderful document of the time, the place…and the intoxicating attitude.
(For the record, Ali knocked out Bonavena in the 15th round. The only time the Argentine was stopped in his craeer.)
Posted in Photography, Sport
Tagged 1970s, Argentina, Boxing, Harlem, Heavyweight, Heavyweight champion, Madison Square Garden, Muhammad Ali, Oscar Bonavena, Sport
I recently re-watched Frederick Wiseman’s documentary, Boxing Gym. I was lucky enough to catch it at the brilliant IFC Centre on Sixth Avenue, New York, in 2010. Like so much of Wiseman’s work it was gripping then. And it remains so.
Boxing is a sport of incomparable skill, wit and dexterity. An ability to improvise both physically and mentally, to read the tides and adapt accordingly, is something that is hard to teach. If it can be taught at all. It is a quality that separates the great from the merely “good”. But boxing is also a sport built on repetition and devotion, on a quasi-religious fidelity to routine. Only through a strict adherence to ritual solitude can fighters lay down the foundations for glory. Through the thousands of rounds, punches, dips, ducks and jumps that condition the body and purge the mind.
The ambient sounds of a boxing gym, the metronomic buzzers and bleeps, the whip of the skipping rope; the dull thud of the punch bag and medicine ball, the staccato thrup of the speedball, the exhalations and the beat of the footfalls. All create a natural cadence, a lyrical lilt, that pay homage to this habit. It is a cadence that permeates Wiseman’s wonderful film.
Gene Tunney was heavyweight champion from 1926-1928. He defeated the brilliant and ferocious Jack Dempsey twice. Once in 1927, and again 1928. The second, The Night of the Long Count, remains one of the most controversial fights in boxing history.
Tunney had impeccable technique, a solid chin, fast feet and was an excellent counter-puncher. He was one of the first fighters to dedicate serious time to studying film footage of his opponents, allowing him to neutralise styles and then dominate as the rounds passed. He was never knocked out.
A friend of Ernest Hemingway, he was widely disliked for his intelligence and literary ambitions. He was regarded with suspicion by many traditionalists, who saw him as effete and lacking in true vigour. This made him an unpopular victor over Dempsey, who was adored for his raw, masculine aggression and exceptional power. Popularity did come later however, and deservedly so. He retired as champion after defeating Tom Heeney in 1928.
Gene Tunney was a very fine fighter.