Muhammad Ali faced the champion Joe Frazier in the Fight of the Century on March 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.

Ringside seats cost $150 and each boxer was guaranteed $2.5 million.

Big money in 1971.

Big money now many places in the world.

The bettors were favoring Ali over Frazier.

Ali was taller with a longer reach.

I was a hippie.

I wanted Ali to regain his title.

His resistance to the draft was a key factor in popularizing the anti-war movement, but Frazier was no lackey to the Boss. He supported Ali throughout his exile from the ring. The heavyweight never said anything about this charity, probably to prevent joining Ali on the unemployment line.

Everyone watched his fight.

I was sitting at El Phoenix bar on Commonwealth Avenue.

Everyone in the bar was backing Ali.

Dave the bartender was all-Frazier. He took all bets at all odds.

“Ali likes to predict the rounds of his KOs. I say 15 and Frazier puts Ali on his ass and this has nothing to do with politics.” Boston was severely divided on race and war. We didn’t talk that shit in bars. Someone on the wrong side could get hurt too fast. Dave didn’t have to worry. He was the bartender. We needed him more than a winning a point about a war 8000 miles away from LA.

I placed $10 on Ali.

The fight started out with the challenger scoring points in the first three rounds.

Frazier resisted Ali’s defense and brought the fight to the Louisville native.

In the 11th round Frazier blasted Ali.

A wicked left.

Frazier was no joke.

Ali knew that too late.

Me too.

$10 was a lot of money in 1971.

Dave the bartender won $2050 that evening.

He bought a used GTO the next day and called it ‘Joe’.

We all did.

Joe was the champ.

To view THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY, please go to his URL

This is history.

Poetry Police

My hillbilly girlfriend in the 70s was funny. Ann was even funnier drunk. Her limit was two drinks after which she was transformed from an ingenue actress into a white trash beauty.

I wasn’t sure which I liked better.

One night at CBGBs she launched into a tirade about the poetry police coming to arrest Patti Smith and William Burroughs.

“Here come the poetry police.”

I poured her into a taxi for the ride home to our apartment on East 10th Street, as she ranted about TS Eliot, Keats, and Ezra Pound. The taxi driver told her to shut up. I informed him that she was a genius. I still think that.

Alice stopped drinking soon after that night, but this week I remembered that the poetry police this week, when the Qatari government sentenced Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami to life imprisonment for insulting the ruler of that wealthy desert country. Al-Jazeera has made no comment about this draconian punishment in fear of losing their financial backing from the news agency’s royal sponsor.

This offense against the ruling family was supposedly directed at the crown prince.

I couldn’t find any copy of the poem TUNISIAN JASMINE online.

The US has a big military base in Qatar.

No one in our government has said a word in the defense of free speech.

Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami has been held since November 2011. His trial was closed to the public. His lawyer said, “The judge made the whole trial secret. Muhammad was not allowed to defend himself, and I was not allowed to plead or defend in court. I told the judge that I need to defend my client in front of an open court, and he stopped me.”

Ajami was jailed in November 2011.

His life sentence has been reduced to fifteen years.

All for saying the truth.

“We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive elites.
The Arab governments and who rules them are, without exception, thieves.

Beware of the poetry police.

Dif-Tor Heh Smusma

The Masoretic version of the Bible purported that Methuselah achieved the epic age of 969. His name has become synonymous with longevity in the West. No one in modern history has touched his nonacentarian record, although my great-grand aunt Bert lived to 103.

She circled the world in a sailing ship. One port of call was Bangkok. Bert was the first of my family to visit the Siamese capitol, but not the last. Other relatives have reached ripe old ages. My father lived to 90. I expected to hit at least 110 if only because many more Americans are living longer, for wrinklies are becoming the largest growing segment of the population.


People don’t die as much as they used to die.

Once past 30 few people want to live by the James Dean adage ‘live fast and die young.

Even morticians don’t want to hump fat kids and those ghouls will hump most everything dead.

With that macabre phenomena in mind I’m living as long as possible.

I don’t want anyone touching my dead flesh until I’m way pass my prime.

Of course Vulcans like STAR TREK’s Mr. Spock live to 300.

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER or Dif-tor heh smusma in Vulcan.

Flutter Like A Butterfly

Muhammad Ali was undeniably the greatest boxer of the 20th Century. The heavyweight regarded his Manila match with Joe Frazier as ‘the closest thing to death’ as his greatest fight and his recapturing the title against George Foreman in Zaire as his greatest upset. These boxers sacrificed their body and soul during these combats and Ali’s slurred speech has been a painful reminder of boxing’s deadly effects on the brain.

In 1996 Muhammad Ali was invited to Indonesia by the president’s corrupt son, Tommy Suharto, to view a championship bout.

My friend Abe had attended a Jakarta party in his honor and he later said that he had been appalled by Ali’s deterioration, especially when Ali came up to him and said, “You look like my Uncle Ernie.”

Abe was a short white Jewish guy from Brooklyn.

He almost cried hearing Ali say these words.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Fame was fleeting, but Ali wasn’t through with Abe.

At the end of the festivities Ali shuffled behind Abe and whispered, “And my Uncle Ernie was ugly too.”

Abe had to laugh, for like many fighters and the US government he had underestimated the Kentucky native.

The body might be weak, but the floating butterfly had not lost its sting.

Ali Versus Stevenson

Fight promoters were dying to match Muhammad Ali versus the undefeated Cuban heavyweight Teofilo Stevenson. Many boxing pundits wrote that Stevenson could last fifteen rounds with Ali, but judging from his reach Teofilo wouldn’t have needed fifteen rounds.

Longer arms.


Better shape.

All action.

No talk.

But Ali had an edge,

Something one can explain.

Other than being Ali.