Thursday, January 17, 2013

The great poet and boxer Muhammad Ali

It's Ali's birthday.

Click here to see a KPIX Eyewitness News report from May 19th 1971 featuring scenes from a press conference where Muhammad Ali recites a poem to reporters which touches on boxing, civil rights and life choices.

It includes the lines: "Better violent to die / than to Uncle Tom and try / making peace to live a lie."

Click here for an account by George Plimpton on the collaborative poem composed by Ali and Marianne Moore:

"We will call it 'A Poem on the Annihilation of Ernie Terrell,' " Miss Moore announced. "Let us be serious but not grim."

After we defeat Ernie Terrell
He will get nothing, nothing but hell,
Terrell was big and ugly and tall
But when he fights me he is sure to fall.
If he criticize this poem by me and Miss Moore
To prove he is not the champ she will stop him in four,
He is claiming to be the real heavyweight champ
But when the fight starts he will look like a tramp
He has been talking too much about me and making me sore
After I am through with him he will not be able to challenge Mrs. Moore.