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[SPORTS] BOXER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP FOUND DOPING

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Cuba’s Luis Ortiz has failed a drug test only weeks before he was due to challenge for the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman revealed they were notified of the positive drug test by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), part of the governing body’s clean boxing program.
Ortiz was due to box WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder on November 4 in a major event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in New York City.
While Ortiz can appeal, this is not the first time he has failed a drug test.
He was World Boxing Association interim heavyweight champion from 2015 to 2016 but his first reign was nullified via no contest when he was stripped of the title when it was revealed he had tested positive for prohibited substance in 2014.
The 38-year-old, nicknamed “The Real King Kong”, has won 27 of his 29 professional fights, 23 of them by knock-out.
Before turning professional in 2010, Ortiz won 343 of his 326 amateur fights.
Among the titles he won was the World Cup in Moscow and the Panamerican Championships in 2005.
The winner of Wilder-Ortiz would have been most likely to fight Anthony Joshua, in one of the most lucrative showdowns in the sport, in 2018.
Wilder, the Olympic bronze medalist at Beijing 2008, has lost out on big fights  before due to opponents failing drug tests, notably a significant showdown with Alexander Povetkin in Russia in 2016.
Ahead of a fight in February this year, his original opponent Andrzej Wawrzyk also tested positive for a banned substance.
At least, there are substitutes on the November 4 bill, with former world champion Bermane Stiverne and former world title challenger Dominic Breazeale  due to box each other.

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[SPORTS] Golovkin-Canelo: Triple G robbery very damaging result for boxing

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Poor decisions happen all the time and don’t get me wrong this fight was close but Golovkin won and the 118-110 score for Canelo from Adelaide Byrd in particular has enraged fans and media throughout the world. In a 2017 which has seen great action, unification bouts and an undisputed champion crowned in Terrence Crawford this decision has brought out the ugly side of boxing once again. In the last few months I felt the Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor fight could undo the great work but it was fine. Awful decisions, corruption and flawed scoring are what is destroying boxing today.

 

I SCORED THE FIGHT 8RDS TO 4 RDS GGG . EMAIL AARON@FLEETDJS.COM IF YOU LIKE TO LEAVE A COMMENT.

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[SPORTS] Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez Sat

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Unified middleweight world titleholder Gennady Golovkin will defend his belts against former champion Canelo Alvarez on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) has 18 straight defenses in the division and is looking to get closer to the record held by Bernardo Hopkins, who made 20 middleweight title defenses between 1994 and 2005.

Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) will now campaign as a full-fledged 160-pound middleweight following his one-sided unanimous decision victory against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on May 6. Alvarez hasn’t lost a fight since dropping a majority decision against Floyd Mayweather in 2013.

 

On May 6, moments after Canelo Alvarez finished rolling over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a shutout decision that wasn’t competitive for a moment, Gennady Golovkin’s ring walk music — The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” — hit, and the T-Mobile Arena crowd suddenly perked up and erupted in cheers.

In pure WWE style, Alvarez had called Golovkin to the ring to tell him he was next, and GGG made his way to the ring for a joint interview to close the HBO PPV telecast. At long last, the mega match had been made official nearly two years after it had become the next must-see fight in boxing, but put off by Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, Alvarez’s promoter, who didn’t want to risk his cash cow just yet while allowing him to grow into a true middleweight.

However long it took, Golovkin finally has the big fight he craved and dreamed of for years. Golovkin and Alvarez will meet to determine middleweight supremacy and quite possibly No. 1 on the pound-for-pound list on Saturday (HBO PPV, 8 p.m. ET) at T-Mobile Arena in one of the most anticipated fights in years.

“It is [the] biggest fight for boxing. Two warriors, two big boxers and I think great style,” said Golovkin, who will be making his 19th title defense, one shy of Bernard Hopkins’ division record. “Canelo’s style and my style [are] very close and very similar. [It’s] very interesting. I feel good right now. I think he feels [the] best of his career right now. I think this is the biggest test for us. Who’s stronger? Who is boxing’s No. 1 pound-for-pound in the world?”

A fight of this magnitude has been a long time coming for Golovkin, who finally landed a huge fight at age 35 and after 11 years as a professional.

“We have been talking about this fight for years,” Golovkin said. “The last two years, I lose interest, because after every fight, Golden Boy said, ‘No. OK, maybe next fight.'”

Golovkin was particularly stung when after Alvarez drilled Amir Khan in May 2016, De La Hoya said he would attempt to make the fight next and didn’t. Alvarez even vacated a middleweight world title last year in order to put off a mandatory fight with Golovkin.

“I remember the situation after the Amir Khan fight, when I go into the ring,” GGG said. “Oscar De La Hoya said, ‘This is a good day for us and I will call GGG’s manager tomorrow.’ I think it was hard on the fans, too. The fans are hungry for this fight. After the Julio Cesar Chavez fight, I believed it is possible for us, and in June I see Canelo’s face and it is more serious. He is ready. This was not like Canelo not being ready. It was Golden Boy not being ready.”

Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer, couldn’t believe how long it took for GGG to get a truly big fight.

“I was surprised a silver medalist (for Kazakhstan in the 2004 Olympics) with 350 amateur fights and five losses, [who] beat the major players at that time in boxing, wasn’t getting recognition,” Sanchez said.

For years, Golovkin, as exciting to watch and as talented as anyone, nonetheless toiled. He was signed to Germany’s Universum Box-Promotions, the now-defunct onetime powerhouse, but he was largely ignored by the company, which was more interested in putting its muscle behind an assortment of German titleholders and ticket sellers. Golovkin was neither German nor a ticket seller and relegated to undercards in nondescript fights.

Even when GGG ascended to the mandatory position for then-middleweight titleholder Felix Sturm, a major star for Universum, he could not get the fight. Universum denied him over and over, prompting him to bolt the promotional company, which sued him and forced Golovkin to hit the road for fights.

Sanchez remembers those days well.

“We had to go to Panama to fight for nothing; we went to Germany and fought for nothing; went to Ukraine – fought for nothing,” Sanchez said. “But it was a way of building his name up, building his reputation up, building everything up. We were willing to do the sacrifice in order to get him to this point now.”

It was a long road but Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), who now lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife, son and an infant daughter who was born on Friday.

Sanchez said there were times where Golovkin was frustrated by not being able to get a major pay-per-view dance partner even after he had unified belts and became an HBO staple.

“Many times (we talked about it). I’d say that you got to keep winning. Just keep winning, keep doing what you’re doing, keep knocking people out,” Sanchez said. “Eventually those guys are going to have to come to you.”

In 2012 Golovkin hooked up with promoter Tom Loeffler, who went to work trying to get Golovkin a televised fight in the United States.

“The blueprint was, when we met with HBO, we said Gennady will fight anyone,” Loeffler said. “They had a list of 20 fighters, 20 names of different fighters, anywhere from 154 (pounds) to 168, and Abel and Gennady didn’t turn down any one of those. That blew HBO away. They’ve never been used to someone willing to fight everyone. They realized, if there wasn’t a fight that was able to be made, it wasn’t on the GGG side. I was very transparent with all the negotiations, everyone that we reached out to.”

Five years ago this month, Golovkin made his American and HBO debut and absolutely destroyed solid contender Grzegorz Proksa in five one-sided rounds. He had arrived and became a staple on HBO, but still couldn’t get a top opponent to get into the ring with him even though he was developing a big fan base, selling out Madison Square Garden in New York and The Forum and StubHub Center in Southern California.

It was nothing new for top fighters to find reasons not fight Golovkin, he of the recently finished streak of 23 knockouts in a row.

Sturm blatantly ducked him. Sergio Martinez was shielded from him and his handlers didn’t even try to hide it with promoter Lou DiBella saying he would never match his meal ticket “with that beast.” Miguel Cotto was not interested. Titleholder Billy Joe Saunders turned down the fight and career money. Contender Chris Eubank Jr. did the same. It got so bad that Golovkin went to London last September to defend against Kell Brook, a welterweight titlist at the time, who moved up two weight classes because had his own issues getting a marquee opponent.

Instead Golovkin, who will be fighting in Las Vegas for the first time, feasted on solid contenders but not the best of the division, though he was able to unify belts when David Lemieux dared to be great by putting his title on the line in late 2015.

Then it appeared that Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), 27, of Mexico, was going to avoid him also as De La Hoya made Golovkin wait nearly two years for the fight.

“This is the fight that we’ve been working for,” Loeffler said. “Every fight in Gennady’s career, really since he made his HBO debut September 2012 — this fight is almost five years to the day — and every fight since then, this is really the fight that we’ve been working for. It would have been great if he’d had this type of fight earlier in his career, but the other name opponents, or the champions even, weren’t willing to get in the ring with him.

“All the knockouts, all the training, all the hard work, all the sacrifice that Gennady’s made has been built toward this exact fight in his career.”

For Golovkin, this fight is exactly where he wants to be. It is what he has yearned for years, to prove himself against another one of the best fighters in the world. There is a sense of relief in him that he finally has it.

“All my career I’ve been denied the fights I’ve wanted,” Golovkin said. “That ends Saturday night.”

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[SPORTS] Adrien Broner Goes Bonkers, Knocks Guy Out on Vegas Strip

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Former four division world champion Adrien Broner went ballistic on the Las Vegas strip Friday night … violently shoving a woman and knocking an unidentified guy out cold.

TMZ Sports obtained the video, which starts with Broner taking pics with fans. Moments later he snaps, but it’s unclear why. The former world champ appears enraged as he walks near the MGM.

A female companion tried to calm him down, but Broner isn’t having it and shoves her, sending her flying backward. Then he uncorks a ferocious knockout blow to a guy who went down for the count.

In recent years BRONER has been in numerous issues out of sports. Lets not judge the situation until all facts are let out. If the dude was talking sh$t he had it coming.

 

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[SPORTS] Mayweather Wasn’t Wowed by McGregor’s Power

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 26 KOs) was able to walk the supposedly big punching Conor McGregor (0-1) down and stop him in the 10th round last Saturday night. UFC star McGregor, 29, came into the fight with Mayweather having a reputation as a knockout artist in the UFC, where he holds 2 titles.

Against Mayweather, the southpaw McGregor didn’t look powerful at all. He was mostly hitting Mayweather with arm punches for 10 rounds. Mayweather said after the fight that if McGregor was a big puncher, he wouldn’t have walked him down the way he did in their mega-fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

“As far as his punching power – he’s solid,” Mayweather said after the fight. “I’ve felt it before, so that’s why I kept coming straight ahead. Obviously, it wasn’t the type of power to say, ‘I can’t come forward.’ Because if it were that type of power, I wouldn’t have come forward.”

What power McGregor had, he failed to use it with the way he was throwing arm punches instead of loading up. McGregor hit Mayweather with a minimum of 3 solid punches in the entire fight. The rest of the shots McGregor landed were jabs and arm punches. It’s no wonder that Mayweather was able to walk McGregor down with the way he was throwing such weak shots.

McGregor’s corner should have made some adjustments when Mayweather started to walk forward. That’s McGregor’s fault for failing to get a boxing trainer to help him prepare for Mayweather. McGregor stuck with his MMA coach, which was not wise. A good trainer would have known right away how to stop Mayweather from walking forward the way he was. Mayweather didn’t fight like that in his matches against Marcos Maidana and Saul Canelo Alvarez. Those guys would have lit Mayweather up if he fought like that against them. Mayweather was leaning backwards all the time against those guys.

McGregor, 29, came into the Mayweather fight with little more than a puncher’s chance of winning. The odds were heavily stacked against the UFC fighter and rightly so. He was making his debut in boxing without any experience whatsoever in that sport. You cannot count UFC competition as experience in boxing. That’s a completely different animal. It’s like saying NFL player has the experience to compete against Mayweather because it’s a contact sport. We’re talking different sports, and it’s confusing why the Nevada State Athletic Commission ever sanctioned the Mayweather-McGregor face.

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[SPORTS] Floyd Mayweather defeats Conor McGregor by TKO in 10th round

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Floyd Mayweather defeated a game but tiring Conor McGregor by TKO in the 10th round Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Referee Robert Byrd stopped the bout at 1:05 of the 10th round.

Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs), a former five-division world champion, came out of a two-year retirement to fight McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion who was making his professional boxing debut.

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[SPORTS] Diddy and Mark Wahlberg Wagering An Insane Amount On Mayweather/McGregor Fight

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Diddy and Mark Wahlberg are throwing some money around for the upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.

Sean “Diddy” Combs and Mark Wahlberg are putting down big money on the upcoming Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor fight.

The two superstars wagered $250,000 on the last Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight.

Diddy picked Mayweather, while Mark Wahlberg was on the losing end, by betting on Pacquiao.

In a new video released called “The Bet 2,” Diddy and Mark Wahlberg reveal they are betting again, this time double or nothing.

Diddy is putting his loot on Floyd “Money” Mayweather, while “The Notorious” Conor McGregor is Mark Wahlberg’s pick.

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[SPORTS] Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: Lennox Lewis calls fight a ‘Farce’

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Floyd Mayweather’s fight against Conor McGregor is a farce, says former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

Irish UFC lightweight champion McGregor, 29, will make his boxing debut when he faces undefeated American Mayweather on 26 August in Las Vegas.

“There is tremendous build-up and hype but I don’t really take it as a serious fight,” Briton Lewis told Sportsweek.

He added that “nothing is ever obvious when it comes to gimmicks and hype” but “Mayweather should win it”.

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[SPORTS] 2016 “THE YEAR IN SPORTS”

The Year in Sports…

 

As 2016 comes to a close I could not help but take a look at all the amazing stories of this year…

 

The greatest story line to me has to be the World Series win for the Chicago Cubs. While they were one of the favorites going in to the season, having not won a title 108 years it is just a moment when you have to be happy for them even if you are not a sports fan. That said while a perennial bad team the majority of the past 108 years somehow they have managed to maintain an incredibly loyal fan base and have been selling out for years. Not only did they win the World Series but it also took one of the most exciting game sevens to make it happen with an 8-7 10-inning victory over the Cleveland Indians who were trying to exercise there own demons having not a Championship since 1948.

 

Another monumental moment in sports this year was Peyton Manning taking the Broncos back to the Super Bowl and earning his 2nd ring as we all knew retirement was in the wings. Coming back from a mid-season injury and really a shell of his MVP form, he along with Von Miller and the vaunted defense willed another title for Denver.

 

What truly kept me on the edge of my seats during a usually boring long NBA season was watching the Golden St Warriors go for the best record in NBA history. The Chicago Bulls in 1996 when an absurd 72-10 and established a mark I thought would never be broken. Low and behold Steph Curry your defending MVP came back with another MVP season and players like Clay Thompson and Draymond Green played at All Star levels and the once laughing stock for many years went on to go 73-9. They reached the NBA finals and after a 3-1 lead bowed out to Lebron and the Cavs 4-3. Many will say because they did not close the deal they are not in conversation with greatest teams ever. If anybody’s asking I am taking the 96 Bulls in 5 games if they would have played.

 

This was also the year of the Summer Olympics and we had some great moments. Carmelo led the US Basketball team to another Gold and we loved that but swimmer Michael Phelps winning his record 23rd medal and retiring from the Olympics was the top story. The most bizarre and controversial moment was when Ryan Lotche, Phelps’ teammate alleged that he was robbed by gunpoint at a gas station with fellow swimmers Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen. Brazilian officials found no evidence that the incident occurred and announced in a press conference that the men had vandalized the property.

 

There were so many great stories in 2016 these are just a few what are your favorites?

 

#allaboooooard

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The Greatest” is gone. Muhammad Ali, equal parts world champion and humanitarian, died late Friday at age 74,

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Ali had been hospitalized in the Phoenix area this week with respiratory issues. The Paradise Valley Police Department told ABC News that an emergency medical services call was made from Ali’s address in the Phoenix area on Tuesday, and the Phoenix Fire Department confirmed it responded to a call for mutual aid for a 74-year-old male with respiratory issues at that time.

Retired from boxing since 1981, Ali had battled Parkinson’s disease for decades. He had been hospitalized a few other times in recent years, including in early 2015, due to a severe urinary tract infection initially diagnosed as pneumonia.
Ali had looked increasingly frail in public appearances, the last coming April 9 when he wore sunglasses and was hunched over at the annual Celebrity Fight Night dinner in Phoenix, which raises funds for treatment of Parkinson’s. He had been living quietly in the Phoenix area with his fourth wife, Lonnie, whom he married in 1986.

Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, spokesman Bob Gunnell said in the statement. No further details were expected to be released until Saturday morning. Flags in the city will be put at half-staff Saturday at 10 a.m.

Ali’s death reaches far beyond the sport of boxing.

Ali was one of the world’s most recognized people for his actions in and out of the ring. His stance on the military draft and conversion to Islam polarized America mainly along racial lines. Yet later he unified people with his messages of freedom, peace and equality.

Reaction from the news was immediate.

“Words can’t explain what Muhammad Ali (has) done for the sport of boxing,” Floyd Mayweather told ESPN. “He’s one of the guys that paved the way for me to be where I am today. We lost a legend, a hero and a great man.”

Said Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James: “The reason why he’s the GOAT [Greatest of All Time] is not because of what he did in the ring, which was unbelievable. It’s what he did outside of the ring, what he believed in, what he stood for — along with Jim Brown and Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor, obviously who became Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson. Those guys stood for something. He’s part of the reason why African-Americans today can do what we do in the sports world. We’re free. They allow us to have access to anything we want. It’s because of what they stood for, and Muhammad Ali was definitely the pioneer for that.”Added Bob Arum, who promoted 27 Ali fights: “A true great has left us. Muhammad Ali transformed this country and impacted the world with his spirit. His legacy will be part of our history for all time.”

Ali was born on Jan. 17, 1942, and was named Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior. His father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Senior, was named after a 19th-century white abolitionist. Clay Sr. made a living painting billboards and signs. His mother, Odessa Grady Clay, worked as a domestic servant.

At age 12 he took up boxing under the tutelage of Joe Martin, a Louisville policeman who became Clay’s trainer for his amateur career. During that time Clay won two national Golden Gloves titles and one AAU championship. After graduating from high school he won the light heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

After the Olympics, Clay turned professional. Fighting as a heavyweight he won his first 19 bouts and had Angelo Dundee as his trainer. Clay exhibited quick hands, nimble footwork and an active mouth. Proclaiming himself “The Greatest” the brash fighter earned the nickname “Louisville Lip.”

In 1964, Clay got a shot at the heavyweight title against champion Sonny Liston. Leading up to the contest, Clay said he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Despite the bravado, odds-makers had Clay as a 7-1 underdog.

On Feb. 25, Clay fought Liston in Miami Beach, Florida. Clay got off to a quick start but at the end of the fourth round complained his eyes were burning and he couldn’t see. “I didn’t know what the heck was going on,” Dundee told NBC Sports years later. “He said, ‘Cut the gloves off.'”

Dundee said Liston’s corner had used Monsel’s Solution (applied to stop bleeding) on the fighter. After Ali’s eyes were cleaned, he resumed control of the fight. Liston, who some thought was invincible, couldn’t answer the bell for the seventh round. At age 22, Clay was heavyweight champion of the world.

The next day Clay, accompanied by Nation of Islam member Malcolm X, announced at a news conference that he was converting to Islam and changing his name to Cassius X. On March 6, Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad bestowed him the name Muhammad Ali. Muhammad meant one worthy of praise, and Ali was the name of a cousin of the prophet Muhammad.

Ali’s proclamation was met with hostility from the mainstream media, many of whom refused to acknowledge his new name. The Nation of Islam preached black pride and black nationalism. Unlike the non-violent teachings of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X justified violence in the act of self-defense.

On May 25, 1965, Ali defended his title in a rematch with Liston in Lewiston, Maine. The fight lasted only one round and ended with what some thought was a “phantom punch.” Ali went on to defend his title eight more times.

In 1966, with the United States becoming more involved militarily in Vietnam, Ali said he was a conscientious objector based on his religious beliefs.

“I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong,” he said.
“I’d like for them to say: He took a few cups of love. He took one tablespoon of patience. One tablespoon, teaspoon of generosity. One pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter. One pinch of concern. And then he mixed willingness with happiness. He added lots of faith. And he stirred it up well. Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime. And he served it to each and every deserving person he met.”
Muhammad Ali, when asked in 1972 how he’d like to be remembered

In 1967, shortly before he was to appear at a military facility for induction, Ali said, “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”

On April 28, in Houston, Ali refused to step forward when his name was called for military service. That same day the New York State Athletic Commission suspended his boxing license and stripped him of his title. Other boxing commissions followed suit. Soon after, he was convicted of evading the draft, sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000.

Ali stayed out of prison while his lawyers filed a series of appeals that eventually reached the Supreme Court.

By 1970, the mood of the country toward the combat in Vietnam was changing with a strong and growing anti-war movement. More people now saw Ali’s refusal to be drafted not as the act of a traitor, but as a legitimate reaction against what they thought was an unjust conflict.

Eight months before the court ruled, Ali was able to land a fight with highly rated heavyweight Jerry Quarry. The fight would be held in Atlanta. The state didn’t have an athletic commission and with the approval of the mayor, the fight was green-lighted despite the objections of segregationist governor Lester Maddox.

On Oct. 26, 1970, 43 months after his last fight, Ali made a triumphant return to the ring. Despite showing some rust, Ali bloodied Quarry, winning on a third-round TKO.

While Ali was banished from boxing, Joe Frazier became the heavyweight champion. During Ali’s boxing exile, Frazier had supported his attempts to return to the sport. An agreement was reached for the two to fight. In the buildup, Ali called Frazier an “Uncle Tom,” something Frazier would never forget or forgive.

On March 8, 1971, they fought at Madison Square Garden in “The Fight of the Century.” The bout was between the current undefeated champion and the undefeated former title holder whose fans still considered him the real champ. What followed was a 15-round epic with Frazier knocking Ali down in the 15th round en route to a unanimous decision win.

On June 28, 1971, it was Ali’s turn to win a unanimous decision when the Supreme Court overturned his draft evasion conviction.

There was great anticipation for a championship rematch but circumstances changed that in 1973. In January, Frazier lost his title when he was savagely defeated in two rounds by George Foreman in Kingston, Jamaica. Two months later, Ali had his jaw broken in a loss to Ken Norton in San Diego.

Ali avenged his loss to Norton and added a win over Ruddi Lubbers while Frazier won his next fight over Joe Bugner, setting up Ali/Frazier II. On Jan. 28, 1974, the second Ali-Frazier bout was scheduled to take place at Madison Square Garden. Just days before they were to fight, the boxers appeared on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” with Howard Cosell. An argument ensued, with Ali calling Frazier “ignorant.” Frazier countered, “I’m not ignorant!”

That led to the two wrestling on the studio floor before they were separated.

The real fight was billed as “Super Fight II” and was for the North American Boxing Federation championship. But the real prize was for the winner to get a shot at champion George Foreman. Ali won the fight with a 12-round unanimous decision.

Ali was 32 on Oct. 30, 1974, when he faced the 25-year- old Foreman for what became known as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” The fight was held in Kinshasa, Zaire. To accommodate viewers in the United States, the contest began at 4 a.m. local time. Foreman was 40-0 with 37 knockouts, including a two-round demolition of Ken Norton earlier that year. There was concern by some that Foreman would kill Ali. With the crowd chanting “Ali bomaye!,” (Ali, kill him!), Ali unveiled a strategy that would turn the bout.

Starting in the second round he stayed along the ropes, allowing Foreman to throw a series of punches that were mainly blocked by his arms. The “rope-a-dope” tactic sapped Foreman’s energy in the tropical heat. But Ali was also absorbing a great deal of punishment. In the eighth round, he came off the ropes and landed a series of punches that sent the exhausted Foreman to the canvas. Ali had regained the heavyweight title in an unlikely victory.

Following the death of Elijah Muhammad, Ali left the Nation of Islam and converted to Sunni Islam.

Ali defended his title three more times before his third and final fight against Joe Frazier. The “Thrilla in Manila” took place Oct. 1, 1975, in Manila, Philippines. It would be the most brutal of the trilogy, a battle that would test the limits of their wills.

As was the case in the previous two encounters, Ali belittled Frazier leading up to the fight. At one news conference he said, “It’s gonna be a chilla, and a killa, and a thrilla, when I get the Gorilla in Manila.”

The fight began with Ali unleashing a flurry of punches that landed on Frazier. But Frazier wouldn’t back down. By the middle rounds Frazier was taking over the fight. Ali survived the onslaught and in the eleventh was able to unleash several combinations that caused severe swelling around the challenger’s eyes. Taking advantage of Frazier’s condition, Ali continued to connect, and in the 13th round, he knocked out Frazier’s mouthpiec. At the end of the 14th round, both men were exhausted, but with Frazier unable to see, his corner stopped the fight. Ali was barely able to get off his stool to acknowledge the victory. Years later, Ali described the fight “as the closest thing to dying.”
Ali lit the Olympic cauldron at the Atlanta Games in 1996, one of his many post-fight career honors. Doug Mills/AP Photo

Ali was 36 when he faced 24 year-old Leon Spinks on Feb. 15, 1978 in Las Vegas. Like Ali, Spinks was an Olympic light heavyweight gold medal-winner. Spinks was a 10-1 underdog as he faced Ali in only his eighth pro fight but won a 15th-round split decision. Some thought it was the end of Ali’s career; it wasn’t.

Seven months after losing his belt, Ali took it back. On Sept. 15, an estimated 90 million people viewed ABC’s telecast of Ali-Spinks II, with another 60,000 watching inside the Louisiana Superdome. Ali took a 15-round unanimous decision and became the first man to win the heavyweight title three times.

In June 1979, Ali retired from boxing. Unfortunately for him and his fans, he decided to unretire.

In early 1980, he agreed to fight new WBA heavyweight champion John Tate. But Tate lost the belt to Mike Weaver in March. In July, following one failed attempt, Ali signed on to fight WBC champion Larry Holmes in Las Vegas.

Due to concerns about his health, the Nevada State Athletic Commission had Ali examined at the Mayo Clinic as a prerequisite to receiving a boxing license. In his book “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times,” Thomas Hauser obtained a copy of the findings that indicated Ali had difficulty controlling facial muscles in speech.

“The remainder of his examination is normal except that he does not quite hop with the agility that one might anticipate, and on finger-to-nose testing there is a slight degree of missing the target. Both of these tests could be significantly influenced by fatigue,” the report said. “There is no specific finding that would prohibit him from engaging in further prizefights.”

As a result, the 38-year old Ali was granted a boxing license.

The Oct. 2 fight was never in doubt. Holmes was 8 years younger and had a 35-0 record entering the contest. Though Ali wasn’t knocked down, Holmes dominated, winning every round on the judges’ cards. Ali’s corner stopped it after the 10th.

A few days after the fight, Ali was examined at UCLA Medical Center, where doctors said the boxer suffered “residual damage” from the one-sided contest. Ali said at a news conference he checked himself into the facility ” to stop rumors about my being hurt — brain damaged or kidney damaged.” But he also revealed he was taking Thyrolar for a thyroid condition at double the prescribed amount. Ali claimed that sapped his strength contributing to his defeat. His doctor, Dr. Charles Lee Williams Sr., said he prescribed Thyrolar for a thyroid imbalance, but couldn’t say how he came to that conclusion. Some suspected Ali took Thyrolar to lose weight, which can happen with overdosing the medication.

Ali weighed in at 217½ pounds, the lightest he’d been since the Foreman fight. Ali said, ” I shall return.” That return would be against 28 year-old Trevor Berbick, a Jamaican fighting out of Canada. Berbick had lost a 15-round decision to Holmes in April 1981, for the WBC heavyweight title. But with concerns over Ali’s health and diminished boxing skills, state athletic commissions wouldn’t issue him a license.

There were claims, including from his former cornerman, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, that Ali had suffered brain damage from fighting. Ali submitted to a series of tests before the fight at New York University. The tests were supervised by Dr. Harry Demopoulos, who told Sports Illustrated that 30 doctors were involved.

“There’s absolutely no evidence that Muhammad has sustained any injury to any vital organ — brain, liver, kidneys, heart, lungs — nervous system, or muscle or bone systems. His blood tests indicate he has the vessels of a young man,” Demopoulos said. He also called Ali’s slurred speech “psychosocial response.”

The Bahamas approved the fight.

On Dec. 11, 1981, Ali lost a 10-round unanimous decision to Berbick in his final fight, a lackluster performance that even Ali realized was a sign of his reduced capabilities.

“My timing and reflexes just wasn’t there,’ he told reporters after the fight. “There were things that I wanted to do but just couldn’t. No, I’m certain this time. At the Holmes fight I had excuses. This time I had no excuses. I know myself better than anybody and I know this is the end.”

Ali finished his professional career with a 56-5 record, including 37 knockouts. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.

“We lost a giant today,” Manny Pacquaio said in a statement. “Boxing benefited from Muhammad Ali’s talents but not nearly as much as mankind benefited from his humanity. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Ali family. May God bless them.”

In 1984, it was revealed that the 42-year-old Ali had Parkinson’s syndrome. He had tremors, slurred speech and slow body movements. Doctors said it was the result of injuries to the brain sustained during his boxing career.

In the following years, Ali’s condition deteriorated but he remained active as a humanitarian and goodwill ambassador. The man who used to fight in the ring now traveled the world fighting racism, hunger and poverty. Ali supported many charities and causes, including research into Parkinson’s disease, supplying medicine to the needy and improving literacy rates.

In 1990, against the wishes of the U.S. government, he traveled to Iraq and won the release of 15 American hostages who were being held by dictator Saddam Hussein.

In 1996, Ali was given the honor of lighting the Olympic cauldron at the Atlanta Games, his hands trembling so uncontrollably that the world held its breath.

Ali served for 10 years as United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2005, he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

ESPN had ranked Ali as the third greatest athlete of the 20th century, behind Michael Jordan (No. 1) and Babe Ruth.

“We are sad to hear of the passing of Muhammad Ali. However, we revel in the memory of his athletic excellence in the ring, we recollect with pleasure the charm of the charismatic young man from Louisville who would shock the world and we celebrate the dramatic achievement of a champion of civil rights who changed the world,” ESPN President John Skipper said in a statement. “In many ways, he was truly the greatest of all time.”

Tennis Hall of Famer and social activist Arthur Ashe summed up Ali’s contribution to American race relations in an interview with Thomas Hauser.

“Ali didn’t just change the image that African Americans have of themselves,” Ashe said. “He opened the eyes of a lot of white people to the potential of African Americans; who we are and what we can be.”

In a 1972 interview with David Frost, Ali was asked, “What would you like people to think about you when you’re gone?”

Ali answered: “I’d like for them to say: He took a few cups of love. He took one tablespoon of patience. One tablespoon, teaspoon of generosity. One pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter. One pinch of concern. And then he mixed willingness with happiness. He added lots of faith. And he stirred it up well. Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime. And he served it to each and every deserving person he met.”

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