Martes, Hunyo 14, 2016

I and the House Speaker on Ali

By Mortz C. Ortigoza


The last time I publicly discussed Muhammad Ali was in June 5 when Bombo Radyo-Koronadal called me at my hotel room in Iloilo City.
HISTORICAL PHOTO ‘I shook up the world!!!’ Cassius Clay (later named Muhammad Ali)   repeatedly screamed after knocking out  world heavy weight champ and KO artist Sonny  Liston 52 years ago.
Here was my post at Face Book on that conversation: “I was in my hotel at dusk when an anchorman from Bombo called me to get my take on the death yesterday of "boxing's greatest" Muhammad Ali. With some humors I explained how the wife of Joe Luis and Ali's boxing rival Sonny Liston were bewildered about Ali's sanity when he kept shouting and bragging as he faced knock out puncher, ex- convict, and world champion Liston.  I told Bombo about Ali's "genius" fight like rope-a-dope against favorite pug George Foreman (he knocked out in two round most of his opponents) in the "Rumble of the Jungle" in Africa, his three fights with bitter rival Joe Frazier that was concluded in the death defying "Thrilla in Manila” by defeating the "Gorilla Frazier " who was told by his trainer before the start of the 15 round that the fight was off since he could no longer see anymore, and others.
When the anchorman asked me to compare Ali to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. I told him in ilonggo the showboat and loquacious Mayweather could not be at the class of Ali. "Mayweather has the propensity to select his opponents and Manny Pacquiao has the propensity to quote Bible verses like Bersekulo Baso kapitolo E.S.Q whenever he meets the media.”

 One of my unforgettable thoughts about Ali was when I asked former Speaker Jose de Venecia if he liked Ali.
WANNABE. Wannabe boxing anal-list, er, analyst Mortz Ortigoza mimics Ali's
famous scream after knocking -out Sonny Liston with an effeminate Philippine aswang (witch)
.
Yes, I even watched him fight in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire ( now Congo, Africa),” the Speaker, in his Marlon Brando's God Father movie voice, although in a faster pace, told me with a tinged of excitement on that event in 1974.
 “Geez sir that was a classic match, Ali’s defining moment. Foreman punched probably stronger than (Mike) Tyson.  Have you seen Joe Frazier’s feet were lifted by a foot from the canvas when he (Foreman) hit him with an upper cut on the chin and brought him to dream land in the second round? Frazier was knocked down six times before that knocked out,” I emphatically narrated to the Speaker who relished it as they were punctuated by my punches – just like when I mimic to him earlier Winston Churchill’s “Never Surrender” speech after Germany’s Adolf Hitler trained his military juggernaut to Great Britain.

I expounded to him that the “boy” from Louisville, Kentucky was not worried about the number of opponents Foreman had knocked out. I said he wanted to show to the world that intelligence and ring smart matters.
“Look at Foreman, he opens his mouth in the middle of the (15 rounds) fight! He lacks stamina!” Ali shouted, as I rephrased him, to his trainer as they watched the fight tapes of Foreman.
Ali’s observation of the weakness of Foreman caused him to train very hard on his fight plan’s rope-a-dope.
Rope-a-dope was a dangerous ploy where he allowed his sparring mates like Larry Holmes to hit him, as he hid behind his gloves lower hands, with all their might at a corner of the ring until his opponent gets tired,” I told the Speaker while mimicking how rope-a-dope was done.
Media man and press heartthrob Atong Remogat thought I became crazy punchin' on thin air because we had not yet eaten our breakfast and lunch before we met the five-time House Speaker.
As what Wikipidia wrote: “When the two fighters were locked in clinches, Ali consistently out-wrestled Foreman, using tactics such as leaning on Foreman to make Foreman support Ali's weight, and holding down Foreman's head by pushing on his neck. He constantly taunted Foreman in these clinches, telling him to throw more punches, and an enraged Foreman responded by doing just that
The fight showed that Ali was capable of taking a punch and highlighted his tactical genius, changing his fighting style by adopting the rope-a-dope, instead of his former style that emphasized movement to counter his opponent”.
 "They told me you could punch, George!" and "They told me you could punch as hard as Joe Louis." According to Foreman: "I thought he was just one more knockout victim until, about the seventh round, I hit him hard to the jaw and he held me and whispered in my ear: 'That all you got, George?' I realized that this ain't what I thought it was”.

The rest was history as Foreman got tired and Ali  unleashed the coup d’grace's left hook and right straight on his face that knocked him out.

(To further appreciate my article watch the below video on the classic match Ali versus Foreman):


(You can read my selected columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too attotomortz@yahoo.com

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