Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Muhammad Ali in Croke Park,1972

Boxing is a popular sport in Ireland. It should be no surprise, as they do love to put a little money down on their sports, and there is almost no sport better for the bettor than boxing. Ireland even won a boxing gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics (Katie Taylor).

...But way back in boxing history, another legendary boxer came to Ireland for a bout. The one, the only, the greatest of all times, Muhammad Ali.

In 1972, promoters scheduled a fight between Ali and Alvin "Blue" Lewis (not another boxing Lewis) at historic Croke Park in Dublin. We all know Croker is home to Ireland's national sports and select international events (or not), so what better venue for a huge event like this?

Before the fight, Ali shot some promotional material, resulting in this little gem of a TV spot:

He seems to have some trouble with pronunciations like shillelagh, but he gets off some other nice bits like, "[Whiskey is] the water of life. That's just crazy!" He even calls Ireland greener than Kentucky- and we all know that's saying something!

Now let's get to the fight itself. It's not a classic to the tune of the Rumble in the Jungle, but interesting nonetheless. Momentum shifts back and forth a few times, but Ali seems to be in control throughout the fight. He appears to get stronger as the bout wears on, as Al Lewis fades.

I've included time spots with highlights below the video. Each round is marked along with a few other interesting bits, like the cringingly-sexist remarks about the ring girls.

  • 2:33- The Dubliners perform the National Anthem of Ireland. Luke Kelly is the one on the right with the huge red hair and beard.
  • 4:09- The (clearly English) announcer calls The Dubliners court jesters as they are ushered from the ring. Wonder what the Irish thought of that?
  • 8:51- Round 1 begins
  • 11:55- Quite insensitive description of the woman with the "Round 2" sign. Very 1970s.
  • 12:50- Round 2
  • 16:52- Round 3
  • 21:00- Round 4- Ali has a very strong round.
  • 24:53- Round 5
  • 27:46- Ali knocks down Lewis to a 9-count at the end of the 5th.
  • 29:00- Round 6- Lewis makes a bit of a comeback, landing some solid blows.
  • 32:59- Round 7
  • 36:55- Round 8
  • 40:25- Another sexist joke about the rounds girls, calling them a "change of scenery." 
  • 50:55- Round 9
  • 44:55- Round 10- Ali comes out big at the first bell
  • 48:55- Round 11- Ali looks fresh, dancing around Lewis, who is clearly exhausted.
  • 50:11- The Ref calls the fight before Ali can devastate the dazed and stumbling Lewis.
The fighters end with an embrace, and Lewis even lifts Ali on his shoulders to the excited crowd.

I wonder if Ali ever beat "Ugly Joe Frasier" and came back to Ireland for a real holiday as he predicted in his promo spot.

1 comment:

  1. He even showed up at a village fete in palmerstown http://irishphotoarchive.photoshelter.com/image/I0000pJiBHxK0Jao it's still talked about to this day


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