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Before Mayweather-McGregor, there was Ali-Inoki.

More than a year in the making, the fight pits perhaps one of the greatest boxers of all time against one of the leading mixed-martial artists. Despite the hype, there is no title at stake, but perhaps something more important is — namely, bragging rights, not only between the two verbose combatants, but also between their rival fan bases: traditionalists favoring the “Sweet Science” and the growing legion of mixed-martial arts enthusiasts.

Although Mayweather-McGregor is boxing match between foes representing two different martial-arts styles, it immediately prompts comparisons to a bout that occurred 41 years ago, more than 5,500 miles from Las Vegas. That’s when arguably the world’s most famous man participated in a sporting spectacle that tarnished his legacy and almost cost him much more.

It happened June 26, 1976, when world’s heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali took on Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki in a glorified exhibition that was billed then as “The Martial Arts Championship of the World…”

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Muhammad Ali at a crossroads: out of the ring and out of the army.

Leigh Montville outlines Muhammad Ali’s allegiance to the Nation of Islam in the new book “Sting Like a Bee: Muhammad Ali vs. the United States of America.” (Charles Harrity/Associated Press) By Sunni M. Khalid June 23 Sunni M. Khalid is a former foreign correspondent currently writing a book on modern Egypt. In “Sting Like a […]

The Undefeated, August 11, 2016 – Is Andre Ward The Last Great African-American Boxer?

The Genius was back at work Saturday night in Oakland, California. There, in ring center stood Andre Ward, gloves high, his eyes focused intently on his circling opponent, Alexander Brand, a tough, awkward, veteran light heavyweight from Colombia…

The Undefeated, July 16, 2016 – Q&A with Harry Edwards

HARRY EDWARDShttps://theundefeated.com/tag/qa-with-harry-edwards/

The Undefeated, June 6, 2016 -Ali: An Imperfect Icon

https://theundefeated.com/features/ali-an-imperfect-icon/

Sanctions: Time To End The Suffering and Rebuild Postwar Iraq, July 30, 2000 (Baltimore Sun)

  by Sunni M. Khalid In the pre-dawn hours of the morning of Aug. 2, 1990, the first of 300 Iraqi tanks rolled through the desert across the Kuwaiti border, marking the beginning of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of the oil-rich emirate.The swift attack also set in motion Iraq’s brutal sacking of Kuwait and the subsequent […]

Washington, D.C., Nov. 14, 1993 – Somalis: ‘A People WIthout A Country’ (Baltimore Sun)

WASHINGTON — Washington. — Just before he was overthrown almost three years ago, Somalian President Mohamed Siad Barre vowed in one of his final national addresses to “leave a people without a country.” By the time an armored convoy containing Mr. Siad Barre left the shell-pocked Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, the dictator had made good […]

Kaunda Loss In Zambia Shows Sweeping Scope of Changes in Africa (Baltimore Sun)

Kaunda Loss in Zambia Shows Sweeping Scope of Changes in Africa November 3, 1991|By S. M. Khalid One of the last remaining leaders of Africa’s independence era has been removed from power — not killed at the hands of mutinous soldiers, flying into exile just ahead of riotous mobs or even dying peacefully in bed […]

“New Jack Swing” a “hit” with local heroin addicts

By S.M. Khalid, Baltimore Sun, Oct. 10, 1991 For local heroin addicts, “New Jack Swing” isn’t the name of a dance, a hairstyle, a movie or a rap song. It’s one of several names for a potent heroin that is cut with morphine. Addicts love it because of the extended high it gives. But it […]

Baltimore, Sept. 30, 1991 — ‘New Jack Swing’ A Potent Brand of Heroin

September 30, 1991|By S. M. Khalid For local heroin addicts, “New Jack Swing” isn’t the name of a dance, a hairstyle, a movie or a rap song. It’s one of several names for a potent heroin that is cut with morphine. Addicts love it because of the extended high it gives. But it also increases […]