Ali Frazier 1 – Polarization Sells

Frazier's famous left hook to knock Ali down in the 15th round of Ali -Frazier 1

Frazier’s famous left hook to knock Ali down in the 15th round of Ali -Frazier 1

I finished watching an hour long piece on Ali – Frazier 1 and it was wonderful. I had seen a documentary on the Thrilla in Manilla so I was already somewhat educated on the rivalry of the two fighters but this hour long segment had me captivated. In one corner you had a hard working, poor boy from South Carolina who grew up working the fields and in the other a middle class, trash talking, pretty boy who converted to Islam. Frazier, “the white man’s champ”, let his skills in the ring do the talking and Ali was a master of trash talking, promoting, and showmanship. There was no middle ground in this fight. “If you were rooting for Ali you were black liberal or young, against Vietnam and for the Civil Rights movement. If you backed Joe Frazier you were a representative of white, conservative America.” These conflicting viewpoints is what made this “the Fight of the Century” and is considered the greatest heavyweight fight of all time.

Any event that is seen by 300 million people around the world can be considered legendary. It was a global event and I thought to myself what is it that made this fight so epic and why can’t I think of many events of recent time that was of this magnitude. The answer was that you had two polar opposite sides. People had to make a decision of who they wanted to win the fight and that stood for what your beliefs were. You couldn’t like both fighters because than you were a weak minded, wishy washy, individual who stood for nothing, This idea, combined with the fact that this actually was a fight between the greatest heavyweight champs at the time, is what created the buzz around an even that makes history.

“Fight of the Century” type events don’t seem to happen anymore. Is it that the fighters don’t garner enough interest? Is it that the genius of Muhammad Ali and his gift of self promotion isn’t found so readily anymore? Without Ali’s personality, this fight doesn’t turn out this way. He was the catalyst. He made it happen. If there were two Joe Frazier’s all you had was a fight. Ali’s personality created this global event by talking, taunting, and believing in something bigger than boxing. Boxers nowadays are just that, boxers. No one cares that much about simply boxers. The draw of this event was the hoopla surrounding it. It combined war, race, talent, and what kind of person you were into one event. We don’t see that anymore in 2013. People have such a large pool of information to pull from that there are so many events that one event doesn’t come together like it once did. There is more education, more options, more choices to make. It’s not black and white anymore but millions of shades in between. I think the stars have to align perfectly for something like Ali-Fraizer 1 to happen. You’d need a soccer match between nations that stand for completely opposite beliefs to gain that type of attention. This is why I wrote that polarization is needed to transcend an event to that next level. This principal can be taken in just about any verse type competition. Creating that interest lies in more than the event but what the event stands for. For some reason it doesn’t seem to happen like it once did.