FACING ALI: THE OPPOSITION WEIGHS IN by STEPHEN BRUNT
They won, they lost, they were scorned or cheered, but they
got in the ring with the champ. Muhammad Ali through the
stories of 15 of his opponents — an incredible cross-section
that reveals Ali as never before.
Every fighter who got into the ring with Ali shone brighter
as a result; no life or career could be the same afterwards.
Stephen Brunt, Canada's most respected sports writer, has
travelled to meet the men who fought Ali, opening a new
perspective on the most famous man on the planet. They
include great champions and "tomato cans", no-hopers and a
few men who beat Ali; by turns triumphant and tragic,
hilarious, uplifting and angry, each tells a different story.
Brunt speaks to men like Joe Frazier and Larry Holmes, who
remember their titanic bouts with Ali with love and rancour.
In 1963 Henry Cooper's perfect left hook floored Ali — but
he was saved by the bell and some ringside shenanigans.
Cooper's moment still helped make " 'Ammerin' 'Enry" into
Sir Henry Cooper, while the little-known Jurgen Blin
returned from facing Ali in Zurich straight to his job at a
The men he fought can tell us about Ali the boxer as no-one
else can. But they also saw Ali invent himself as a media
personality before such a thing existed. They were there
when Ali's personality and courage, his controversial
beliefs and his refusal to play the parts assigned to him,
indelibly changed the United States and the world. Stephen
Brunt has fashioned their stories into an engaging portrait
of the man who remains a phenomenon.
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