Cosell vs Ali — The Greatest Fight Ever Sold!


A bit of a change of pace….


On the day of the BIG FIGHT,  every time that day came, I remember that the projects where I lived would always go real quiet. It would become deserted.   I remember not seeing my friends outside.  I remember not seeing ANYBODY outside!   The atmosphere would change in da hood.   There was a tangible shift in the air.  Anticipation, maybe?   I couldn’t explain it then, but I definitely could feel it.  And if I happened to be sent to the store, I’d only see a few random men hurriedly picking up those last  six-packs of Schlitz or Budweiser.  What was happening?  Ali was about to fight, that’s what!   Get your butt in the house and set down in front of your TV, fool!   I imagine that everybody had already made their preparations before hand, cooked their chicken, made their potato salad, mixed their lemonade and made their sweet potato and bean pies!    Sidenote: to those who haven’t tasted the bean pie, well you truly don’t know what you’re missing is all I can say.

This was a special time in America, but it was a sacred time in black America, and everyone was at the alter of their TV sets,   with their drink offerings and food offerings, preparing to worship the GOAT–the Greatest of All Time!   It always promised to be a good time, I know, even though I didn’t personally get too involved watching–I wasn’t into boxing just yet.   But I do remember all of the hoopla and I did love Muhammed Ali, as everybody did. 

But there was one more character in this play!  I also vaguely remember the whole Howard Cosell phenomenon as well.   He was bigger than life with a mouth to match–full of verbosity and pomposity, with a touch of bombasticity!  But I recently found some videos of the two men and it’s very interesting and quite a bit of fun to watch the relationship and the repartee between Cosell and Ali.  I had no idea of how close these two were and how well they fit together and fed off each other comically!   Some have compared them to Abbott and Costello!  Ha Ha!   Whatever you want to call it, it was some pretty funny stuff!  But the one thing that shines through was their friendship.  You can see the admiration, respect and love between the men.   Enjoy!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Lin says:

    Hey Sista, Anna:

    These vids bring back a lot of memories. I really enjoyed their banter back in duh day. It was mad entertaining & together they were funny as Hell (especially w/ Ali playing w/ Howard’s toupee! lol.) . Ali seemed to be the only person (at least in the public eye) who could handle Cosell intellectually, then straight-up CLOWN him, make him look completely ridic… & beneath it all, you could always tell they had love & respect for each other.

    You don’t see that kind of relationship between sportscasters & athletes anymore. It was definitely a Golden Age.


  2. Val says:

    Sisters, you are both on point, you definitely could tell it was about their mutual love & respect for one another. I had the privledge of living through that era, watching folks, get hyped just to watch and listen to what Ali & Cosell, was going to bring next. It was geniune.
    My dad, was a hugh fan and never missed one of Ali’s fights. In, 1961, my dad, took us to visit my great Aunt & Uncle, in Louisville, Kentucky, who lived next door to Ali’s parents. which as a teenager, was such a big deal, to meet & see where this bigger than life personality grew up. What a childhoold memory??????

  3. Anna Renee says:

    @Lin–yes they did enjoy their banter so much, especially Howard!
    Howard was a special kind of white man who was able to not be affected by the day’s racist sentiments, and he took it to Ali with the banter! But yes, Ali brought it right back at him, definitely clowning him! But he loved being clowned!
    I noticed that he seemed to trust that Ali would never hurt him because he really didn’t flinch much whenever Ali raised that might fist of his!
    Anybody else would have been scurrrrd!

    @Val– WOW! OK? Just wow! You practically knew the man! Indeed…. a fantastic childhood memory!!!!

  4. Reggie says:

    I remember those days. It was almost as if Ali/Cosell were the show.

    They both talked so much trash, but it just wouldn’t have been anywhere near as interesting if they didn’t.

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