Sunday, June 05, 2016

He's Not The Greatest

Leave it to Shank to make the passing of Muhammad Ali into a trivial column about New England and himself:
Ali had a few connections to Boston and New England. His second fight with Liston was scheduled to be held at the Old Boston Garden in November 1964. Three days before the fight, Ali took ill while staying in Room 611 of the Sherry Biltmore Hotel (146 Mass. Ave.) and was rushed to Boston City Hospital, where he was treated for an incarcerated inguinal hernia. Boston promoter Subway Sam Silverman lost hundreds of thousands of dollars when the bout was postponed. The fight was ultimately moved to Lewiston, Maine, and according Ali biographer Thomas Hauser, Massachusetts boxing authorities would not sanction Ali-Liston II because they feared Silverman was tied to organized crime.
When he readied to return to New England for the rematch, he bought a bus and invited four sportswriters to join him and his entourage on the trip north.
In May 1965, in the tiny Central Maine Youth Center in Lewiston, Ali defeated Liston in less than two minutes of the first round.
Thirty years later, Ali had a couple of other brushes with Boston and New England sports.
On Nov. 2, 1994, Ali came to a fund-raiser dinner at the Park Plaza, where he was honored by Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. The Globe bought a table for the event, and I found myself seated with Greg Moore, who was then our managing editor.
When Ali saw goofy me standing nearby, holding a cardboard image of his young perfect self, he waved me into his circle.
UPDATE, 6/6/2016 AT 4:17 P.M. - Seems appropriate:

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