Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ali and Boxing Inspirations

Bob Dylan and the The Hurricane
     Rubin Hurricane Carter's book, The 16th Round was published in 1974. Carter who had been in and out of jail all his life had in 1964 finally got a chance to fight for the middleweight title losing the fight to Joey Giardello. The book however was written about his fight for justice after being charged for a triple murder  in  1966. A murder he said he did not commit. At the time it made an impact on quite a few people of prominence with one of them being boxer Mohammad Ali and another, in musician Bob Dylan, who decided to visit Rubin in jail. Bob Dylan wrote and recorded the Hurricane in July 1975 . Dylan had to alter some lyrics as the retrial case was still being heard and was worried about mentioning names of the star witness's which could lead to court actions. Dylan used a considerable amount of poetic licence in the song but it had the desired effect and got peoples attention. Released on Dylan's 1976 album Desire. Carter was eventually tried and convicted twice for the murder in the Lafeyette Bar in 1966. Once in 1967 and again in the retrial in 1976 but in 1985 the second conviction was finally overturned and he was freed.

Hurricane Bob Dylan


                                               Rocky and Sylvestor Stallone

       Living in a one bedroom apartment in 1975, broke and needing some inspiration. Stallone decided to visit the library and spent most of the day  reading Edgar Allen Poe .  

      Then a couple of days later he viewed the Mohammad Ali V Chuck Wepner fight on TV . This became the inspiration for the script of Rocky and even though later denying this, after Wepner took out a lawsuit, over the script . Stallone settled out of court. Wepner was a huge underdog in the fight and knocked Ali down in the ninth round but with only nine seconds left of the fifteen round event, Wepnar himself was knocked to the canvas unable to get to his feet.
Ali vs Wepnar Final Round

      Stallone was so inspired by the fight that he sat down for three days straight and completed a movie script. Shortly after he was pulled in by his agency for a small part and he decide to offer the script to them and get their views on it. They offered him 25,000 for the script alone, but he would'nt take the deal unless he was able to play the role of Rocky. They eventually gave in to Stallone and gave him a million dollar budget to make it . It was basically filmed with a hand held camera for many of the scenes to keep the budget down. It ended up costing less than a million and earning over 200 million dollars.

Rocky Theme Songs
  •       Gonna Fly Now was Bill Conti's theme song for Rocky. He had written it and taken it to his friend, Carol Connors and asked her what she thought as he wanted to include some words with the music but could'nt come up with any suitable. The story goes like this, Carol was in the shower when Gonna Fly Now came into her head . That evening she called Bill who immediately  liked the words and that is history. The song had thirty words in total when finished. Trivia -- Carol Conners was the lead singer for the Teddy Bears who had the hit song To Know Him Is To Love Him.  
  •      Eye of the Tiger  was the theme song for the Rocky III movie which interestingly included a scene where Rocky got thrown out of the ring by a wrestler Hulk Hogan . After Wepner's fight with Ali his career headed downhill and in 1976 Wepner ended up in the ring with Andre the Giant where he was thrown out of the ring. I dont think this is coincidental . Wepner retired from boxing in 1978

      Born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky,on January 17th 1942. His first boxing bout was in 1954 which he won in a split decision . He won three Louisville Golden Gloves titles before winning the National Golden Gloves in 1959. The following year he became an Olympic gold medalist. Then in 1964 he won the world heavyweight boxing title for the first time .It was after this fight that he converted to Islam and then in 1967, in the middle of the Vietnam conflict he was called up for military service. Ali refused to be enlisted so was stripped of his title and had a battle to keep himself out of jail. Finally in the seventies he got the opportunity to reclaim the title .Eventually becoming the first person to hold it three times. Recording wins in famed bouts against Frazier and Foreman. He was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 1984 after which Ali devoted much of his time to philanthropy and in 2005 he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died on June 3rd 2016 in Phoenix Arizona.

Ali Quotes
  • I'm so fast that last night .I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark. 
  •  I've seen George Foreman shadow box and the shadow won. 
  • At home I'm a humble guy, but i dont want the world to know. Humble people ,I've found don't get very far. 
  • I said I was the greatest , I never said I was the smartest.
  • Don't wait for the world to recognize your greatness,live it and let the world catch up to you.
  • I am the greatest . I said that before I even knew I was.   
  • Inside the ring or out , aint nothing wrong with going down. Its staying down thats wrong. 
Mohammad Ali and Sam Cooke recording The Gangs All Here

said Ali "captured the imagination and support of the entire dark world". 
Lawrence Guyot Civil Rights Organiser
said"He was this beautifully arrogant young man. Who made us proud to be us and proud to fight for our rights".

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