Tag Archives: boxer

Muhammad Ali: he did it his way

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Ali in America – defiant, in a White man’s world …

By Gordon Davis

What a Black man needed to do in Racist America. This is a question that we all face in one way or another. What does a woman need to do in a man’s world? What does an immigrant need to do in the land of majority natives?

Muhammad Ali is being buried today, June 10, 2016.

The death of Muhammad Ali compelled me to think of his experiences and the experiences of other Black men. Ali is a hard person to write about, as he was to say the least multi-faceted. It is a condition that our alienation from the society in which we live forces onto us.

I liked Sonny Liston in 1964. He was a Philly fighter, and I thought he would beat the crap out of the loud-mouthed self-promoter known as Cassius Clay. Clay, to a certain extent, reminded me of the buffoons that Black men had played in the movies in order to survive in a racist society.

It was quite a shock when Clay beat Liston.

Buffoons were not supposed to beat Philly fighters.

When Clay changed his name to Ali, he seemed to have intentionally alienated himself forever from what is now called mainstream society.

Ali joined a group that was calling for separate societies for Black and White folks. Almost everyone else, in the mainstream, called for an integrated society. He had this continuous contradiction in his life, as he had White friends and worked with White people in the boxing industry. He was able to maintain this contradiction better than other Black men, especially with his talent for boxing.

It was this ability that made him important to Black people: How to be defiant in a racist America without being beaten down to levels of great indignity.

We Black people admired him for this reason. In the bosses’ America all working people – who are the majority of Black people – live under the fear and threat of impoverishment for speaking out of turn or speaking truth to power. We only have to look at the fate of Worcester’s MOSAIC to see this. Every Black person in the City of Worcester knows this and has to some extent made compromises or sacrificed his/her dignity. Some of us have gone silent. Some of us pretend to love the boss. Others continue to fight against racism and economic injustice.

When Ali lost his ability to speak as a result of his illness, he could no longer defy the system of racial and economic injustices that all working class people face. It was during his last years of relative silence that bosses in American began to express their love for Ali.

I know that Ali was a charitable man and did good for humankind. Most of all, he gave us hope and was an example of defiance – without being beaten into shame and poverty.

He did it his way.

Worcester’s La Bomba! Rodriguez march to world boxing title continues!

By Bill Turgeon

Mashantucket, CT.- Worcester’s adopted son, the undefeated, USBA Super Middle Weight champion, Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez continued his winning ways in a lopsided eight round victory over the enthusiastic but overmatched Jason Escalera. In the palatial MGM Grand Ballroom at Foxwoods Resort and Casino the pugilistic skills and athletic prowess of Edwin Rodriguez were on display as never before.

Combining slick boxing skills with relentless punching power the outcome of the HBO headlining event was never in doubt. Rodriguez was like Sherman on his march to the sea; leaving a wake of destruction in his path. The bout between the third ranked Rodriguez and the undefeated, hard hitting Escalera, lived up to its promise to be a slugfest.

The Rodriguez–Escalera bout was scheduled to be a ten round affair but, as Rodriguez predicted, “There’s no way I’m letting this fight go the distance. I’m gonna knock him out.” Rodriguez went about backing up his prognostication from the get go. Fans hadn’t even had time to get settled into their swank opera chairs when Rodriguez started dropping bombs on Escalera. Battering the up-and-coming Jersey prospect from corner-to-corner throughout the first round. Judges went so far as to award Edwin a two point advantage 10 – 8 in the first round. Impressed Ringside observers were quick to note the size, strength and experience advantage Edwin had on the granite-jawed but outclassed Escalera.

It was said Rodriguez had gained as much as twenty pounds since the weigh in Friday afternoon. The resulting power differential paid immediate dividends. Rodriguez rained thudding body shots at Escalera at will. Time and time again pressing the action and using his superior ring savvy to stalk and trap his quarry in the corners of the ring. Although Rodriguez clearly won each round handily the challenger continued to counter punch and would not be taken off his feet. Edwin concluded the fight in resounding fashion; delivering a vicious left hook to the head of Escalera resulting in a technical knockout at just twelve seconds into the eighth round.

Following the fight a clearly jubilant Rodriguez was asked about possible future bouts by HBO’s Max Kellerman to which he responded, “I’ve proven myself, I’ve sent a message with my performance tonight. Now it’s my time, time to fight for the championship world, I’m ready.”

As Edwin continues his march towards the world title a grateful city embraces “La Bamba” the man who gives so freely of his time to help at-risk youths stay out of gangs and preparing young up and coming boxers at his Worcester training site, Camp Get Right.