Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Champ

Image1 : Ali

Image2 : Ali couldn't contain himself upon defeating Sonny Liston for the World's Heavyweight Championship title in 1964
(Picture Credit: From Google images)

Apologies! I had earlier posted this in Haiku Heights for prompt 'poised'. But this is not a haiku. I had since withdrawn it. As an afterthought I'm submitting it again for the next prompt 'charm'.   This time with a haiku below to make it proper.

A phenomena
Charmed millions, living legend
‘I am the greatest’

Ali! Ali! Ali!
In 2008 his 60th birthday
Celebrated in a very big way
By the whole country
A sporting celebrity
Sportsman of the Century
Ali!  Ali!  Ali!

As Cassius Clay at the Rome Olympics in 1960
Won the Gold in the light-heavy
But didn’t keep it forever
Flung in disgust into the Ohio River
When refused service on his return
From an all white restaurant
Ali! Ali! Ali!

In 1964, wrested the Heavyweight crown
When he whupped Sonny Liston
Poised for fame with the very first
With a cry of ‘I’m the Greatest!
‘The Louisville Lips’ predicting
With uncanny accuracy the round
When opponents would hit the ground
He won  and lost the title 3 times
A feat not ever repeated again***
Ali! Ali! Ali!

The World’s Heavyweight  bouts
Since then were remembered easily
By those pulverized, pummeled and thumbed
All his prized trophies   
When he ‘floated like a butterfly
And stung like a bee’
Ali! Ali! Ali

Joined Nation of Islam in 1964
Just a slight blight on his career
Changed his name to Muhammad Ali
But accepted by the fraternity thereafter
Refused the draft in 1967
‘Ain’t got nothin’ against them Vietcongs’
But the fraternity this time
Stripped off his titles for 3 years
And heavyweight boxing lost its shine
Ali! Ali Ali!

‘Thrilla in Manila, Rumble in the Jungle’
Rope-A-Dope, Frazier,Foreman,Bugner
Norten, Cooper, and host of other names
Brought back boxing from the brink
The epitome of honor
When amidst hushed secrecy
He emerged to thunderous applause
To walk the steps up to the cauldron
Lighting the 1996 Atlanta Olympic flames
Ali! Ali! Ali

Though Parkinson’s debilitating effects
Is physically restricting his movements
He is the fighter in more ways than one
A Champion of all time

*** I stand corrected

Inspired by Haiku Heights #86 - 'charm'
Submitted for d'Verse OpenLinkNights Week 11


  1. Not a great follower of boxing, but I do recall a few of his!

  2. I'm looking (in vain, I think) for the haiku! :-)

    Poised and poise

  3. interesting,
    only saw boxing on tv a few times.

  4. we have a limerick prompt this week, experienced poets such as you are welcome to write one or two and post in your blog, share with us,

    help new or aspiring poets to learn via your talented piece.

    hope to see you in.

  5. Never was a boxing fan, but your verse deserves a hand. It is quite grand and has some punch, giving Ali a whole bunch of credit where credit is due, another fine verse by you.

  6. he was magic to watch fight...remember watching him with grandad...sad to see him today at times and what it did to him...

  7. Yes, he was some boxer alright. He got the guts before and now, even with his illness. The man has a generous heart too~

  8. Hank, I am not a follower of boxing, but I do remember Ali quite well. The onset of his disease hit pretty close to home for me. I lost two brothers to the disease. Actually one brother had Cancer and Parkinson's. Overwhelmingly heartbreaking. Well documented piece.


  9. I am not at all into boxing...
    for me WWE heavy weight championship ;)

  10. a fighter indeed. And SO good looking!!

    I'd liked to have been in Rome in 1960. Or now.

    Such a shame about the all white restaurants, segregation was all before my time, but so terrible.

    He is a great, and always will be, for sure.

  11. How well I remember him in my younger days when of course he was younger,You have written a good poem about Ali. Thanks for sharing Hank.
    Brought back many memories.

  12. Yeah, I like the way you got the Haiku in!!

  13. That's a grt tribute to the great man.. heard a lot about Ali.. inspiration in many ways..Yes, true Champ..

  14. It was his mouth that got me, but he did have talent in the ring.

    Dare to Charm

  15. He brought poetry, grace and humor to a sport notorious for lacking all three.

  16. What an inspiring poem...there is something poetic about Ali's movement in the ring. I love the chanting of Ali throughout the poem. Nicely written and great tribute! P.S. Ali carrying the torch at the 1996 Olympics was one of my favorite moments as well.

  17. I know him...but have not watched any of his boxing bouts!

  18. A great tribute to a great champion!

  19. WooooooooW. so vivid. I love it!!! Ali is my Idol :)

  20. You are a great fan of Mohammed Ali (Cassius Clay) the legend and I do remember him in his heydays!! A period of great popularity, success, and power; "I am the greatest" was charming and befitting!! The other names are also familiar though not a great fan of boxing!! Joe Frazier ( Smokin' Joe) and Sunny Liston remain as names etched in my memory!! Wonderful tribute to an icon!!
    :) Yes missed your haiku yesterday :)
    You have a rich tribute here in two forms of poetry Hank!! Excellent!!

  21. What a fabulous tribute to a remarkable man.

  22. Even those not familiar with boxing - did not miss the "bigger than life" Ali ... with both forms of poetry (short and longer)... nicely done!

  23. my dad was a big muhamed ali fan...took me back to when he watched the fights..

  24. The man was one hell of a boxer, and just as much of a human being. People like him make a difference in life, and while he was often the butt of a lot of racist resentment, he overcame it, through sheer personal force helped bring African Americans some of the respect they were always earning and never getting. Good poem to a great man.

  25. I love Mohammed Ali! The 60's were filled with so many intense things! Man on the moon, computers! Calculators that weren't the size of cars, central air conditioning was becoming common, but I can't think of anything more exciting than watching and listening to Howard Cossell calling the fights while Mohammed danced around inside the ropes, "Floating like a butterfly, sting like a bee!" How wonderful it was to have lived then and to have witnessed the incredible entity known as Mohammed Ali! I'm not sure if your readers know this too, but he is also one of the most charitable icons from the 20th century, constantly jumping into lend a hand where it is needed, even though it may be shaking terribly with his disease, it doesn't stop him......

  26. I love this, Hank!

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel