Brunt provides penetrating and honest profiles of 15 fighters from around the world who faced Muhammad Ali, and he produces a book that should become one of the essential works for understanding the legendary fighter. Brunt’s subjects range in chronological order from Tunney Hunsaker, the first man to fight Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) as a professional, to Larry Holmes, whose crushing victory in Ali’s fourth comeback showed that the champion’s career was truly finished. In between, Brunt (columnist for Toronto’s Globe and Mail) offers bracing new looks at Ali’s well-known opponents, including Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and George Foreman. Some of Brunt’s best portraits, however, bring to life those “extremely unlikely tales, longshots, no-hopers, fighters lifted out of obscurity for their date with the most famous man on earth,” such as Germany’s Jurgen Blin, who fought Ali and the next day “was back at work at the sausage factory.” Although each story varies, Brunt is amazingly sensitive to and respectful of each fighter’s own words, no matter how factually wrong or self-serving they might be. He deftly illustrates how all the fighters to some degree believe that, as Jean Pierre Coopman says, “The Ali fight was the defining moment of my career,” although this feeling is ironic for some, such as George Chuvalo, who despite his winning record became better known in his native Canada for going the distance with Ali and losing. Others are bitter, such as Joe Frazier, who views Ali’s current Parkinson’s disease unsympathetically; as Brunt cannily observes, “on the cosmic scale, [Frazier's] getting even..
- getting even.”
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Muhammad Ali has been written about ad nauseum, but here we have a fresh approach: examine Ali the boxer through the eyes of his opponents. From the champs (Foreman), to the contenders (George Chuvalo), to the hopelessly overmatched (Jean-Pierre Coopman), the lives of Ali’s opponents were profoundly shaped by facing (and, usually, getting pummeled by) an international icon. While Ali transcended boxing, his opponents didn’t, and most of these fighters spent their lives getting beat up in the ring and out of it. That makes for fascinating reading, but for those who care more about Ali than, say, Earnie Shavers, the book is also chock-full of anecdotes and opinions about Ali as seen by his opponents. From each fighter’s story, a different Ali emerges. To Frazier, Ali is a cruel bully. To Chuck Wepner, Ali is Apollo Creed to Wepner’s Rocky Balboa. To Joe Bugner, Ali is just a brilliant businessman who knew how to put butts in seats. Between the perspectives on Ali and the witty, elegant retelling of 15 fighters’ lives, this is a must for boxing fans. John Green
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Muhammed Ali cast a blinding light onto his sport, on the tumultuous times he in part initiated, on all of those who surrounded him, and who surround him still. That includes the fighters brave enough to stand alone, across the ring from the greatest heavyweight champion of all time. Ali’s own story has been told again and again, but the stories of those who faced him have, by and large, been ignored. For each, the moments alone with Ali changed their careers, changed their lives, and affected them for ever. “Facing Ali” tells the story of fifteen men from around the world, from famous names like Joe Frazier, Joe Bugner, George Foreman and Henry Cooper to lesser lights like Tunney Hunsaker and Jurgen Blin. Each man, many for the first time, tell their stories in their own words. The resulting book offers a unique perspective on what it was really like to fight Ali, and gives new insights into the character of the most famous man on the planet.
The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life’s Journey
Few lives have been more zealously recorded in movies, photography and literature than Ali’s. So it’s fortunate that this book is not so much a memoir as a collection of the supreme athlete’s spiritual contemplations. Structured as a series of minichapters on abstract virtueslove, friendship, peace, wisdom, understanding, respect, etc.it consists of Ali’s religious reflections, buttressed by personal anecdotes, Sufi parables, aphorisms, personal letters and poetry. What might be seen as mawkish or cloying from someone less universally beloved has real poignancy coming from boxing’s brashest champion (“The Mouth” was one of his many nicknames), who is slowly being driven behind a wall of silence by Parkinson’s. The book has the intensity of a deathbed confessional. Ali is settling his accounts, apologizing to Joe Frazier and Malcolm X for hurting them. But primarily he is giving advice to his many children, for whom he obviously feels an overwhelming love. (His daughter Hana addresses her love for her father directly in the book.) Besides Ali’s love, readers will be struck by his remarkable faith. With the Black Muslims, he found not only an expression of his own pride in being black but also a personal relationship with Allah, which served as the wellspring for the remarkable courage he displayed both inside (“The Rumble in the Jungle”) and outside (refusing the Vietnam draft) the ring. It’s hard not to be moved by Ali’s spirit. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“During my boxing career, you did not see the real Muhammad Ali. You just saw a little boxing. You saw only a part of me. After I retired from boxing my true work began. I have embarked on a journey of love.”
So Muhammad Ali begins this spiritual memoir, his description of the values that have shaped and sustained him and that continue to guide his life. In The Soul of a Butterfly the great champion takes readers on a spiritual journey through the seasons of life, from childhood to the present, and shares the beliefs that have served him well.
After fighting some of the fiercest bouts in boxing history against Joe Frazier and George Foreman, today Muhammad Ali faces his most powerful foe — outside the boxing ring. Like many people, he battles an illness that limits his physical abilities, but as he says, “I have gained more than I have lost….I have never had a more powerful voice than I have now.” Ali reflects on his faith in God and the strength it gave him during his greatest challenge, when he lost the prime years of his boxing career because he would not compromise his beliefs. He describes how his study of true Islam has helped him accept the changes in his life and has brought him to a greater awareness of life’s true purpose. As a United Nations “Messenger of Peace,” he has traveled widely, and he describes his 2002 mission to Afghanistan to heighten public awareness of that country’s desperate situation, as well as his more recent meeting with the Dalai Lama.
Ali’s reflections on topics ranging from moral courage to belief in God to respect for those who differ from us will inspire and enlighten all who read them. Written with the assistance of his daughter Hana, The Soul of a Butterfly is a compassionate and heartfelt book that will provide comfort for our troubled times.