Fight of the Century: Ali vs. Frazier March 8, 1971

Fight of the Century: Ali vs. Frazier March 8, 1971

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by Michael Arkush
     
 

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It was more than the long-awaited showdown between two superb athletes in their prime, more than the ultimate test of speed and artistry versus power and endurance. It was more than a boxing match, much more. The first meeting between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971, transcended the world of sports to become a major

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Overview

It was more than the long-awaited showdown between two superb athletes in their prime, more than the ultimate test of speed and artistry versus power and endurance. It was more than a boxing match, much more. The first meeting between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971, transcended the world of sports to become a major international media spectacle with tremendous social and political overtones.

In The Fight of the Century, sportswriter Michael Arkush delves behind the scenes to explore the richly textured history and the ongoing impact of one of the most important sporting events of all time, a battle not only between two undefeated champions, but between two competing views of a nation still reeling from the turbulent 1960s.

Arkush draws from interviews with Ali's trainer, Angelo Dundee; his doctor, Ferdie Pacheco; and more than 100 others to examine how the fight, watched by more than 300 million viewers around the world, ushered in a new era of sports marketing. From then on, every game would be turned into an "event," powered by over-the-top hype and carefully staged pageantry.

This sweeping real-life saga features insightful portraits of both fighters. The outspoken Ali, coming back to boxing after a three-and-a-half-year ban for evading the military draft, was already one of the best-known human beings on the planet—a hero to millions, though certainly a thorn in the side of America's power structure. Frazier, by contrast, did not feel compelled to constantly weigh in on the political issues of his time, though he did?refuse to call his opponent by his adopted Islamic name, instead referring to him as Cassius Clay.

Among many telling details in this fascinating account, you'll discover why Ali's favorite foil, Howard Cosell, who had defended the champ passionately during his exile, did not call the fight, and how a prominent Hollywood agent and a California businessman teamed up to promote the event. You'll also learn how a little-known Georgia legislator helped make Ali's comeback possible.

Complete with photos of both fighters at the peak of their careers, The Fight of the Century is very likely the most dramatic, compelling, and moving sports story you will ever read.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

* ""...an enthralling and meticulous account of genuine sporting rivalry...Brilliantly capturing the unprecedented grandiosity of the occasion... must be recommended"" (The Independent, October 27th 2008)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470056424
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
10/26/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,395,196
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.63(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Arkush not only gives us the inside story on one of the century's signature sporting events, he frames it politically and socially. I was there, and now I know much more about what happened. This is flesh and blood and history."--Robert Lipsyte

"Ali-Frazier I was the greatest sports event I ever saw or ever expect to see. With his landscape portrait of the men and their times, Michael Arkush takes us again to that historic moment in Madison Square Garden when two of boxing's proudest warriors began their blood feud."--Dave Kindred, author of SOUND AND FURY: Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship.

"The Fight of the Centurytranscends the mere sports story. In Michael Arkush's capable hands, this classic duel and its surrounding pressures and personalities show us where we have been as a society and where we are going. It is a story that truly stands for a place and time. It is a fully engrossing read."--Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestelling author

"Never is a long time but there'll never be another cosmic boxing event like Ali-Frazier. Michael Arkush brings alive that melodrama with all its political-social implications, wheeling and dealing, hyping and hitting." - Larry Merchant, author and boxing commentator.

"A richly detailed history of Ali and Frazier's first big fight and the social and political forces at play. A great read."--Ron Shelton, director of Bull Durham and Tin Cup

"Fight of The Century brings back memories of a different and troubled time both in sports and in our country. It is vividly reported and a perfect example of the old saying that the genius is in the details."--John Feinstein

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