DC at Night

DC at Night

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Gloves of Cassius Clay Displays Ali's Greatness

DC's Smithsonian museums (there are 17 of them here in the city) are among America's most visited and treasured places. But the Smithsonian also publishes a series of some of the most interesting, fact-filled blogs appearing anywhere on the internet. Each Sunday, The Prices Do DC re-posts an entry either about the Smithsonian or that 1st appeared in 1 of the institution's blogs. Hope you enjoy and maybe we'll see you soon at the Smithsonian.


Cassius Clay was a towering young braggart, but as much as he used his mouth, the real music was in his hands. In January of 1964 he hadn’t done much worth talking about yet in professional boxing; he was just a 22-year-old working out in a seedy sweatbox of a gym in Miami Beach, where you could watch him in action for 25 cents. He trained on a heavy punching bag, the hands turning his silly doggerel—“Don’t make me wait, I’ll whup him in eight!”—into epic poetry as he rapped out verses with his gloves: whap-whap-whump-whap-whap-whump-bam.
Clay was in training for his bout with Sonny Liston, the reigning world champion, who had underworld ties and a heavy, flooring punch. Veteran sportswriters said the pretty kid wouldn’t last more than a round, and the touts made him a seven-to-one underdog. Only later would he become Muhammad Ali, the rich rhyming savant, public militant and charismatic superstar.
To continue reading this story, which 1st appeared in The Smithsonian, click here

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