By: Sean Crose
“I’m thinking about Muhammad Ali,” President Donald Trump told members of the media on Friday. Trump was referring to people he plans on pardoning. Trump has recently pardoned Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion, and Alice Johnson. If Trump were to pardon Ali, it would be posthumously, as the iconic boxer died in 2016.
Ali was convicted of avoiding the draft during the Vietnam war. Ali considered himself a conscientious objector, but the United States’ government disagreed. The decision to convict Ali cost the champion his heavyweight title and arguably his prime years in the ring. The Supreme Court overturned the government’s decision in 1971 and Ali famously regained his title.
Fight experts and historians have been left to wonder, however, about what could have been had Ali been allowed to hold on to his title during what may have been his peak years in the ring. The Ali of the 70s was still a top level fighter, but some of the fluidity from the man’s earlier years was gone forever.