Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazer: McGregor vs Diaz 2 was what?Written by Joseph Herron
On Monday, August 22, sports talk show host Colin Cowherd took to his respective soap box and raved about the "greatness" of UFC 202's main event between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz, while doing his best to diminish the time honored global pastime and Olympic sport of boxing.
"I know some of you think UFC is too raw, and it's a sport many of you will never embrace," stated the controversial host of "The Herd" on Fox Sports. "But there are four or five things in my life…big businesses that have died. DVD's…newspapers…landline phones…and Saturday night by 9:30PM PT, boxing died."
"That (McGregor vs. Diaz II) was the final nail in the coffin. Boxing's dead. I think this network (Fox Sports) even has some fights. I hope you watch them, and please patronize our sponsors…but the new standard for ritual drama in America…the trilogy coming, is McGregor/Diaz."
"It is our Ali/Frazier."
"And I know there's too much blood for a lot of you, and I know some of you would call it gross, vulgar or inhumane. But there were a lot of life lessons there. That was Willem Dafoe chasing after the helicopter in 'Platoon'…that was manipulation, holding on, cultural war."
"McGregor was the Ali…the showman, pushing back at authority. Diaz was Joe Frazier…a working class ethos, a regular guy, the toughest guy in the neighborhood. And what I watched was goosebumps, riveting…the best fight I've seen in 20 years."
"McGregor/Diaz is our Ali/Frazier!"
After hearing the ignorant soliloquy of this Fox Sports minion, it's easy to see why ESPN fired Cowherd last year.
Please…stop the madness, and try to refrain from spreading the ignorance!!
It's understandable to be excited, if one is a fan of MMA and the UFC brand, that a PPV event ostensibly lived up to its hype on a commercial and critical level. But to deface the majesty that was "Ali vs. Frazier" 1,2, and 3, and compare two foul-mouthed cretins and marginal talents like Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz to two great cultural icons and elite level fighters like Muhammad Ali and "Smokin" Joe Frazier is nothing short of blasphemy to anyone who was fortunate enough to be alive while that historic and globally significant boxing trilogy took place.
The social significance alone of the timeless boxing classic clearly separates itself from not only McGregor vs. Diaz, but pretty much every other sporting event that we will more than likely witness within our lifetime.
The pairing of the two best, undefeated Heavyweights captured the imagination of the entire sporting world…not just the avid fans of MMA and the UFC. Ali and Frazier fought for the most important distinction in all of sports at the time…the Heavyweight championship of the world.
What was McGregor and Diaz fighting for this past Saturday night? Bragging rights? Ego? Pride?
From a social perspective, Ali vs. Frazier represented the dissension American society was experiencing, circa 1971. Not only was the aptly dubbed "Fight of the Century" clearly indicative of the American struggle for civil rights, but the anti-war movement in the USA as well.
In 1967, Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the armed forces to fight for the United States in the grossly unpopular Vietnam War. As a result, "The Greatest" was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to five years in prison, fined $10,000, and banned from the sport of boxing for three years. He was stripped of his coveted World Heavyweight Championship distinction and wasn't allowed to compete in professional boxing again until 1970.
While Ali was away from the culturally rich and historic American pastime, undefeated Philly native Joe Frazier won two championship titles by knocking out Heavyweights Buster Mathis and Jimmy Ellis, and was subsequently viewed as the active and universally recognized World Champion. As a result of Frazier's dominance within boxing's glamor division, many believed Smokin' Joe was indeed Ali's superior, which consequently created an unprecedented amount of global hype and anticipation for a showdown pitting the two best, undefeated Heavyweights in the entire world against each other to determine the true Heavyweight champion.
So leading into the eventual fight, Ali had become a symbol of the anti-establishment movement during his government inflicted exile from the sport, while Joe Frazier had been adopted by the seemingly "patriotic" and conservative pro-war faction in America. The nation was divided, circa 1970, and the two fighters represented the social division in U.S. It was more than merely a battle for pride or financial gain.
The iconic clash of Heavyweights genuinely seemed to mean a great deal to most interested spectators, and ostensibly captured the imagination of the entire sporting world.
Once again, what was McGregor and Diaz fighting for this past Saturday night? A few thrown water bottles during a press conference? A grudge match held at a catch-weight for no recognized distinction, even within the UFC promotional banner?
How was Conor vs. Nate socially significant? How many people actually witnessed this 5 round match-up, in which both men were ostensibly gassed by round 3?
How can anyone in good conscience compare what transpired this past weekend to a landmark sports and social undertaking like "Ali vs. Frazier"?
In terms of skill and significance, there is no comparison
Ali and Frazier are two of the most respected and skilled ambassadors the sporting world has ever seen, and their respective legacies stretch far beyond pugilism. Just a few months ago, the entire world mourned the passing of "The Greatest" Muhammad Ali, as his death was seemingly felt by millions across the globe.
Will McGregor and Diaz even be remembered ten years from now?
Shame on you, Colin Cowherd!
Please do everyone a huge favor and stick to what you know...basketball, baseball, football, etc...because in the immortal words of Uncle Roger Mayweather, "You don't know s**t about boxing!"