Muhammad Ali’s Offer of a Million to “Sugar” Ray Robinson Rejected!
By: Ken Hissner
It was after Muhammad Ali won the world title in 1964 over then champion Sonny Liston that he announced he had joined the Nation of Islam.
Considered by most historians as the greatest pound for pound boxer in the history of boxing was “Sugar” Ray Robinson the former welterweight and middleweight champion.
After winning the title Ali was invited to join Robinson on the island of Jamaica in 1965 as a celebrity trainer for one of Robinson’s fights. In March Robinson was fighting Philadelphia’s Jimmy Beecham in Kingston.
As the story goes there were two figures mentioned. Ali either offered Robinson a million dollars or $700,000 if he would become a Muslim. The money would come from Muslims donating $1.00 each. Robinson informed Ali that he could not accept such an offer being a Christian.
It’s been reported recently that the FBI has made public the racist remarks Ali made against white people. One thing not mentioned is that his trainer was Italian Angelo Dundee and his cut man a white Cuban named Ferdie Pacheco. Wali Muhammad was the assistant trainer along with Bundini Brown.
In December of 1990 Ali was responsible for bringing home 15 hostages from Iraq which included both black and white.
Pacheco would inject needles into Ali’s tender hands when Ali’s manager Herbert Muhammad requested he put a halt to it. Pacheco advised if he didn’t do this “Frazier would kick his ass!”
Kanat “The Kazak” Islam Super Welterweight Contender Knocking on the Doors of the Champions!
By: Ken Hissner
This writer on February 17th at the Chase Center in Wilmington, DE, had his first look at Kanat “The Kazak” Islam, 23-0 (19). He was born in Altay, China as Hanati Silamu in 1984 and ended up in KAZ while now living in Pahokee, FL.
In DE Islam received a very bad cut over his right eye in the beginning of the first round from a clash of heads with his opponent Robson Assis, 16-3, of BRZ. He knew that at the end of the round there was a chance of the ring physician halting the fight so he went for the knockout that came at 2:12 of the first round. His trainer is Nelson Lopez, Sr.
As an amateur Islam who won a Bronze Medal at welterweight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He defeated boxers from Zambia, Cameroon and the Bahamas (Taureano Johnson) before losing to Carlos Banteaux of Cuba. He also won a Bronze Medal in 2006 at the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.
He won over boxers from India and UBZ before losing to a boxer from KAZ. In the same year at the World Cup in Baku, AZB, he defeated an Egyptian but lost to a Russian and a boxer from UKR. In 2007 at the Asian Championships he won a Bronze Medal in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. He defeated boxers from Iran and UZB before losing to one from Mongolia. In the same year in Chicago he defeated boxers from UZB, Australia, AZB, KAZ before losing in the semi-finals to a boxer from Thailand gaining a Bronze Medal. The boxer from KAZ was the one he lost to in 2006. In 2004 at the Olympics in Athens, Greece he defeated a boxer from Uganda before losing to a boxer from AZB.
In the World Series of Boxing in the 2010-11 season for the Astana Arlans Islam went 5-1. He defeated boxers from Armenia, BRZ, UZB, US (Russell Lamour) and France before losing to one from AZR. In the 2011-12 season he went 3-3 defeating boxers from the US (Lamour), Georgia and Bulgaria. He lost to boxers from Russia (2) and UKR.
Islam would turn professional right after the 2012 Olympics in September stopping five boxers in the DR then went to Colombia for a pair of stoppages and back to the DR in December going 8-0 in just three months in 2012. In 2013 he was 8-0 improving his record to 16-0 with 13 stoppages, two wins by DQ and one decision. Following those two years things slowed down to only having two shows a year in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The biggest wins Islam has had were over Humberto Toledo, 41-8-2, in 2012 winning the vacant WBA Fedecaribe super welterweight title. He knocked out Jose Vidal Soto, 24-14-2 in 2013. He won a fight in FL in April of 2013 stopping Yolexcy Leiva, 5-5. In Ecuador he defended his title with a decision win over Eduard Flores, 15-8-2. In another fight there he knocked out Emilio Julio Julio, 28-11-2, for the vacant WBA Fedelatin title. He would defend it four times with the last one in 2016 also winning the vacant WBO Inter-Continental title by decision over Patrick Allotey, 34-2, in Almaty, KAZ.
In 2014 Islam knocked out Fidel Monterrosa Munoz, 32-9-1, in Colombia. In 2015 back in FL he knocked out Jonathan Batista, 15-7. In 2016 he stopped Juan De Angel, 18-3-1, in FL. His last ten opponents had winning records.
Islam is ranked No. 4 in the WBA, No. 6 in the WBO and No. 15 in the IBF. He’s fought in DR eleven times, COL five times, ECU twice, and KAZ and DE once each and FL three times.
IBF champion Jermall Charlo has vacated his title to compete at middleweight.
Canelo Alvarez has the WBO where Islam is No. 6. Erislandy Lara has the WBA super title and talking about moving up to middleweight. The WBA regular champ is Jack Culcay and the WBA are trying to get only one champ per weight class. After the cut he suffered in his most recent fight he will probably be ready to fight again in three or four months. Tureano Johnson who he beat in the amateurs is the No. 1 middleweight contender in the IBF.
Anthony Joshua: Sparring with Discrimination
By: Dan Power
“I’m just saying racism still exists” So said Floyd Mayweather in January of 2016. Here we are again but a year later and the question of racism looms its ugly head once more. The target, Britain’s Anthony Joshua. An athlete mere months away from the biggest fight of his career. A fight in which he’ll go head to head with a man who just so happens to be white.
The white vs black race war has often been played up to by boxing promoters themselves in years gone by. Their eagerness to dub promising young caucasian fighters “The Great White Hope” when paired up to face a black champion added a dimension to the match that played unapologetically on the racial profiles of the two men facing one another. However, it is actually away from the ring itself that this latest instance of racism has sprung. On a recent trip to Dubai the IBF champion uploaded a photograph to his Twitter account in which he could be seen praying in a mosque. Joshua himself has stated that he isn’t Muslim. Indeed, he has stressed that he doesn’t follow any one religion but that he does possess an interest in all aspects of them. He maintains what he does “believe” in, is spirituality and faith itself. It is a decidedly classy stance from a competitor who clearly respects the traditions and customs implicit in the different cultures across the world. In spite of this, after uploading the photo Joshua found himself subject to a barrage of hateful messages lambasting him for taking part in the Islamic prayer session.
Call it an unwanted consequence of human nature, or the residue from a time when we were a more tribal species, that racism still exists at all in this day and age is an unfortunate but accepted reality. The surprising thing in the case of Anthony Joshua, has been in the way that it has turned once patriotic supporters and fans into a heckling mob intent on spreading hate filled speech towards an athlete they had once chosen to cheer for. Anthony Joshua has represented his country of birth at Olympic level winning a gold medal in the process. Furthermore he continually acknowledges his pride at being British. That being said he also acknowledges his Nigerian heritage. Almost half the population of Nigeria associates as being Muslim while Joshua himself has said he was raised Christian. I tell you this to illustrate Joshua’s multi faceted cultural heritage. He isn’t bound by a single country or religion, only to the sport to which he owes so much. With that in mind, surely its only fair to him to judge him on his exploits in the ring and as a role model out of it. On both of these fronts he has only ever been a consummate professional. His closet appears free from any damaging skeletons and he continually preaches the virtues of dedication, hard work and perseverance, qualities we all recognise as being wholly admirable. Yet one photo is all it has taken for some fans to turn their backs on him. This isn’t a photograph in which we see Joshua trying his hardest to sell an ideology he accepts as his own. Its the photograph of an athlete showing respect to the customs of a country in which he is holidaying, demonstrating not only tolerance but also an appreciation of beliefs that might not even line up with his own. Its not as if he’s come out and said something as racially charged as “All Jews and gentiles are devils”, because believe it or not those are the words of a very angry and unrecognisably racist Muhammed Ali. As unbelievable now as they are undeniable, they were spoken during a period in which he had joined The Nation of Islam a time when Ali had gone even further so as to suggest the complete separation of whites from blacks. I tell you this not to pour cold water on the legacy of our greatest sporting icon. I do it only to illustrate how as human beings we exists as very complicated beasts. Often so primitive in our way of thinking, so quick to revert back to the tribalism that defined us from our early origins as a species. Yet so too are we capable of great things. Of uniting and working together. We are capable of compassion of the highest order and with it, acceptance. Later in life Ali said “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life” addressing his once radical positions on race. “religion and spirituality are very different, but people often confuse the two. Spirituality is recognising the divine light that is within us all. It doesn’t belong to any particular religion;it belongs to everyone. We all have the same God, we just serve him differently…it doesn’t matter weather you’re a Muslim, a Christian or a Jew. When you believe in God, you should believe that all people are part of one family.”
Words that some of Joshua’s latest detractors should perhaps take heed of.