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Sports Then and Now



Muhammad Ali’s Idol – Sugar Ray Robinson 2

Posted on September 18, 2015 by Tony Samboras
The legendary Muhammad Ali considered Sugar Ray Robinson among his early idols.

The legendary Muhammad Ali considered Sugar Ray Robinson among his early idols.

Recognized as one of the most remarkable boxers of all time, Sugar Ray Robinson is also Muhammad Ali’s idol. History tells us that the legendary boxer held the Welterweight world title for six years (1946-1951).

Free bets in favor of Sugar Ray rose up as from 1958 when the fighter became the first sportsman to scoop divisional world championship for the fifth time.

Born in the year 1921, Sugar Ray is arguably one of, if not the best boxers of all time. In 1940, Sugar Ray turned pro and won his first fight. Sugar Ray spent a quarter century engaging in professional boxing and the twenty-five years of active fighting, Sugar Ray won the world Welterweight and Middleweight titles.

Free bets during the twenty-five years attracted both pundits and fans alike in favor of Ray. Having a successful career, Sugar Ray was referred to as being “Pound for Pound, The best”. Sugar Ray Robinson ended his boxing career in 1965, retiring from the sport having scooped 175 victories. Read the rest of this entry →

Happy 70th Birthday Muhammad Ali! 59

Posted on January 17, 2012 by Dean Hybl

The man who would become a polorizing figure in the 1960s and the most recognized sports figure in the world was born in Louisville, Kentucky 70 years ago.

In honor of the 70th birthday of one of the great sports personalities of the 20th Century, Sports Then and Now has selected some YouTube moments to remember the remarkable career of the self-proclaimed “Greatest of All-Time.”

Born in Louisville, Kentucky on January 17, 1942 with the name Cassius Marcellus Clay, Muhammad Ali emerged on the boxing scene in 1960 when he won Light Heavyweight gold medal at the 1960 Olympics.

He defeated Sonny Liston to win the Heavyweight Title on February 25, 1964 and held it for more than three years with nine title defenses before he was stripped of the title after refusing induction into the U.S. Army.

Ali returned to the ring in 1970 and claimed the WBA and/or WBC Heavyweight Championship two more times during his career. Overall, he went 56-5 in his career, including 22 wins where he either won or regained the WBA and/or WBC Heavyweight title.

Below are some videos featuring the greatness of Muhammad Ali:

Read the rest of this entry →

Muhammad Ali – The Most Influential Sportsmen Ever 27

Posted on September 13, 2011 by Rod Crowley

With sport of all kinds having made the transition from amateur to professional status, it is always worth remembering that one unique sportsmen who added unforgettable memories, great depth of character and unadulterated self belief, over a professional boxing career that spanned 21 years . His name of course is Muhammad Ali.

Without any doubt whatsoever, Muhammad Ali became the most famous sportsmen of all time. He was the first man to win the World Heavyweight Boxing champion three times, with two of those titles coming after he was stripped of his boxing license in his prime for 3½ years for refusing to fight in Vietnam.

His antics before and after fights were often a joy to behold, his self promotions, his poetry, his philosophy and his humour were aspects never associated with sportsmen of any kind until he arrived on the scene.

Add these aspects to a boxing style that was graceful, very fast in his early days, intelligent in his later days and ruthless on any given day, Ali established himself quickly as a major box office hero and quite simply was never out of the news. In his absolute heyday, he was unquestionably the most famous man in the world, even more famous than John Lennon, the man who claimed that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus.

Ali was known on all five major continents, fighting in four of them, two of which the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ in Zaire against the unbeaten knock out specialist George Foreman in 1974 and the final bout in the Ali/Joe Frazier trilogy, known as the ‘Thriller in Manila’ in 1976 both broke world television viewing records. Ali of course won both of those fights with stoppages which gave him hero status throughout Africa and the Far East and also confirmed him in the eyes of many as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. Read the rest of this entry →

Louis vs. Schmeling: When Sports Transcended Society 0

Posted on June 19, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Max Schmeling and Joe Louis met in two historic boxing matches in the 1930s.

It is hard now more than 70 years later to fully appreciate the social and global significance of two boxing matches in June of 1936 and 1938 between a black man from Detroit, Michigan and a white man from Germany. However, at the time, Joe Louis and Max Schmeling were prominent figures on the global stage and represented very polarizing situations within the social consciousness of the day.

When they met for the first time 75 years ago on June 19, 1936, Joe Louis was the 22-year-old Louis was 27-0 and considered the number one contender for the Heavyweight Championship. At 30-years-old, Schmeling, a former Heavyweight Champion was thought to be on the downside of his career and given little chance to defeat the powerful Louis.

However, Schmeling claimed before the match that he had noticed a flaw in Louis’ style specifically in how he dropped his guard after throwing a punch. Sure enough, Schmeling stayed close and in the 12th round knocked out Louis.

The victory made Schmeling a hero in Hitler’s Germany of the mid-1930s while the loss was felt hard by blacks in America who had seen Louis as more than just a good fighter, but as a champion for the cause of black Americans at a time when there were very few black heroes. Schmeling’s victory was touted by Nazi officials as proof of their doctrine of Aryan superiority.

Read the rest of this entry →

35 Years Ago: The Thrilla in Manila 0

Posted on October 01, 2010 by Dean Hybl

The Thrilla in Manila marked the completion of boxing's greatest trilogy.

It was 35 years ago, October 1, 1975, that one of the great rivalries in sports history reached its climax with the third and final meeting between two of the great heavyweight boxers of their era. For both Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, the “Thrilla in Manila” was a defining moment in their careers.

For Ali, the victory secured his place as one of the great boxers of all-time. While for Frazier, the loss ensured that he would never be recognized as the top fighter of his era. Another loss a year later to George Foreman ended his tenure among the boxing champions.

Whether it was hype or real, the two men didn’t seem to like each other very much. Ali was constantly needling Frazier, an obvious attempt to get into his head. The two men once fought on the set of ABC’s Wide World of Sports and represented vast differences in African American society of the 1970s.

But in the ring, they were both warriors and their three fights were among the greatest in boxing history.

Below are some great YouTube videos that capture the buildup and the boxing from the “Thrilla in Manila.”

Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • George Musso: From Longshot to Hall of Famer
      August 5, 2017 | 4:52 pm
      George Musso

      George Musso

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month went from small college long shot to Pro Football Hall of Famer.

      When George Musso finished his college career at Millikin College in 1933, Chicago Bears coach George Halas offered the 6-foot-2, 265 pound lineman a tryout and eventually a $90 per game contract, but had serious doubts whether he could make the transition from small college football to the NFL.

      It took a year for Musso to adjust, but by 1935 he was an All-Pro tackle. Two years later, he moved to guard and again earned first team All-NFL honors. He became the first player in NFL history to earn first team All-League honors at two different positions.

      Read more »

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