WATCHING ALI SPAR. My high school classmate Gary Keller noted in a comment that the blog shows that I am interested in boxing and suggested a movie about Muhammad Ali. Ali was a hero of mine. I posted here about going to the Boston Garden to watch a television broadcast of Ali’s first fight with Sonny Liston. The rematch between Ali and Liston was scheduled for Boston, but it was postponed and then transferred to Lewiston, Maine. Although Maine was too far away, Ali was training in Boston, and we bought tickets to watch him spar.

I had thought of sparring as practicing throwing and blocking punches, but Ali didn’t throw any punches until the last minute of the training session. Instead, he spent almost the whole time working on back peddling—maneuvering backwards at great speed.

I read later that Ali believed that a heavyweight only had enough stamina to throw punches for three or four rounds, and so Ali planned to find ways to take it easy for several rounds. Ali also said when he was told that most sportswriters (43 out of 46, according to this wikipedia entry,) thought Liston would knock him out in the first three or four rounds that he was surprised by that because he planned to run for the first four rounds.

So we got to see Ali practicing what he thought was an important part of his game plan—running.

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