Most of the world thought that Muhammad Ali was finished,

The year was 1971 and his dazzling skills looked diminished.

It was in 1967 that he was stripped of his heavyweight title,

And was forced to quit boxing for supporting Vietnam's struggle.

Racist Americans -- they wanted to see him killed in war,

As in the ring, there was none, who could give him a scar.

So, for almost four years the world's real champion,

Was stripped of his boxing licence and denied basic freedom.

Let me name a few of the opponents whom he annihilated,

Liston, Cooper, Patterson and Terrell, all were battered.

Even Karl Mildenberger of Germany tasted defeat,

And the likes of Cleveland Williams were rocked off their feet.

The last contender who challenged Ali for his throne,

Was robust Zora Folley but he was slower than a drone.

Thus, when the racists of the U.S. found that Ali couldn't be beaten,

In the ring by anyone, they attacked his Muslim religion.

They lowered the standards of induction into the military,

And wanted the boxing champion to join the  U.S. army.

These racists refused to call the champ as Muhammad Ali,

Insisting he was still Cassius Clay, a braggart and a phoney.

But the man who knew how to fight back and defend,

Said, after embracing Islam, he would never ever bend.

To the whims and desires of all merciless butchers,

Who were killing the Vietnamese calling themselves as soldiers.

Thus, Ali refused to join the army remaining steadfast and firm.

And from 1967 to late 1970 he stuck to his own terms.

He sacrificed his prime boxing years for the sake of his beliefs,

And by doing so he gained from God more spiritual relief.

In the meantime the racists prepared a bum* called Joe Frazier,

And after a few fights, they made him their favourite fighter.

They prepared this slugger by programming his heart and mind,

So that he may be able to tackle Ali, the relentless yet kind.

As part of this new plan, there was a title elimination bout,

And Jimmy Ellis and Joe Frazier matched each other's clout.

Ellis was a good technical fighter but did not have the grit,

Nor the power and endurance to withstand Joe’s left fist.

After beating Ellis though Frazier came to be known,

As the new world champion and was given Ali’s crown.

Yet, there were some experts who knew, who the real champ was,

And they rallied and struggled a lot for Ali's just cause.

At last in the autumn of 1970, Ali was given a chance,

He was made to fight Jerry Quarry, a dummy who couldn’t dance.

On October 22nd that year the whole boxing world watched,

How Ali vanquished Quarry, who was, in three rounds stopped.

Then came the Argentine brawler called Oscar Bonavena,

Who had once taken Smokin’ Joe close to hell in the arena.

In the first fight with Frazier, Oscar floored him twice,

After mauled him badly and cutting him down to size.

Even though Joe won the rematch clash with Oscar,

Ali was certain of 'killing' the 'bull' like a matador.

In November 1970 they clashed at Madison Square Garden,

And after 15 tough rounds Ali fulfilled his prediction.

For, in the pre-fight interview, Oscar had boasted a lot,

But within three minutes of round 15, was floored thrice and lost.

But after having seen the skills and style of Ali,

The vanquished Argentine greeted him respectfully.

The bull as he was known, Oscar announced on air,

That Ali was the real champion and beyond compare.

After this, Frazier agreed for the "Fight Of The Century",

And on March 8, 1970, got into the ring against Ali.

Even though a boxer called Buster Mathis had also whipped Joe,

The racist experts of boxing claimed he was the better foe.

Predictions were made and the news spread around the world,

That the "Fight Of The Century" was a fight for the real gold.

And as all seats were sold out at Madison Square Garden,

Ali and Frazier clashed to decide the real champion.

From rounds one to four Ali battered Frazier at will,

Even though he had lost some of his previous speed and skill.

Frazier was flustered and frustrated at the start of round five,

That those who knew about boxing saw he was not a special guy.

Then, as some eyewitnesses say, a written paper was given,

To Muhammad Ali and the fight scene changed its pattern.

The sharp and hard-hitting Ali went to lie on the ropes,

As Frazier charged wildly and rekindled his lost hopes.

Yet, despite his wild charging and his aimless punch throwing,

Frazier's admirers found that he was just not 'smokin'.

And even though on the ropes Ali out-punched the so-called champ,

Proving to all his detractors he was still the people's champ.

Frazier hit him with low blows, a lot, below the belt,

But Ali made fun of him and neatly with him dealt.

All impartial observers who had converged there on that night,

Saw that despite Frazier's best Ali was ahead in the fight.

However, all those men and women who wanted Ali to lose,

Gave most of the rounds to Joe though he looked like a blown-up fuse.

Every fair analyst of the "Fight of the Century",

Slowly saw through the scheme prepared for Muhammad Ali:

That because of Ali's bravado and his fearless nature,

The racists of the world wanted Joe to be the winner.

The racists wanted Muhammad to lose and they called all the shots,

As the “People’s Champion” was made to look distraught.

And to save his future as a professional and good boxer,

Ali let himself look like he could not overpower Frazier.

And in the 15th round Ali even made it even more convincing,

By getting knocked down by Joe's left hook which he threw while charging...

And thus, even though, he had won more rounds than Frazier,

The referee and the ringside judges declared Joe as the winner.

Unexplainable things happened on that fateful March-8 night,

As a winning Ali was compelled and forced to lose the fight.

Video footage of those gruelling 15 rounds if seen even today,

Will make those who know boxing ponder why Ali threw the fight away.

For, as time reveals, after losing this momentous first battle,

Ali’s revoked boxing licence was given back to him sans the title.

This poet too has boxed as an amateur in his days of youth,

And to his death day will he say that Frazier "won" due to some crook.

For except round eleven and then the fateful final round,

Frazier had lost most of the rounds though Ali even clowned.

Perhaps the facts behind the "Fight of the Century",

Will emerge one day and sift falsehood from reality.

And as many boxing pundits like me say Ali won the fight,

History too will rewrite what really happened that night.

And in the rematch fight that followed Ali beat Frazier easily,

And in their "Thrilla in Manila”, consolidated his victory.

Nobody in his senses will disagree with this poet's contention,

That in all their three bouts Ali dominated most of the action.

And Joe Frazier was stripped of all his claims to greatness,

By losing to George Foreman who Ali knocked out senseless.

Truth cannot lie hidden forever and one day it will be proven,

That Muhammad Ali won the fight...and lost the decision.

The decision that made Frazier as Ali's victor in the first match,

Was nothing but a plot which the U.S. racists had hatched.

And even after more than four decades Ali is still known as the champ,

While nobody even remembers or knows Frazier even in his training camp.

Author's Notes/Comments: 


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