Friday 12 August 2016

Guest Post - Ali and the Sweet Science by Michael J Sahno - Booklympics

After Muhammad Ali’s recent passing, millions around the globe reflected on his amazing life, not just sports enthusiasts. As a writer and a boxing fan, the death of The Greatest made me think about the sport, American culture, and the meaning of greatness itself.

People who know me as a sensitive poet and novelist are often shocked to learn that I’m a boxing fan. “It’s such a brutal sport,” they say, and what can I say? They’re right. I usually just explain that many great artists, from Miles Davis to Warren Zevon, were huge boxing fans, and leave it at that.

If I’m honest about it, however, my enthusiasm for boxing probably goes back to my childhood: my father’s father was a Golden Gloves amateur, and Dad taught me how to box when I was a young boy. But my first real exposure to pro boxing came by way of watching Muhammad Ali on a black and white TV in the late 60s and early 70s.

It’s difficult to explain what a shocking effect the man known as The Louisville Lip had on polite, mostly-white suburbia in that time period. Even after five to ten years of his motor-mouth self-aggrandizing appearances, it still came across as pure obnoxiousness. At the same time, it was hilarious, and Ali’s interactions with sportscaster Howard Cosell were the stuff of legend.

The thing was, when he got into the ring, Ali delivered. His detractors must have been incredibly frustrated by how well he boxed, backing up the braggadocio with his unmatched skills. When he said he was The Greatest, he was right. No one else bragged like that, but no one else had a reason to brag like him, either. He wasn’t afraid to make a fight boring: he didn’t want to get hit too much, and he wanted wins more than knockouts…though he got plenty of those along the way, too.

Ali’s uncompromising stance on the Vietnam War was so far ahead of its time that it wasn’t until years later that people began to soften their positions against him and see his side of things. Over time, he became the most recognizable figure in the world. Pretty impressive for an African-American from Kentucky, of all places.

Boxing still has a ways to go before it becomes deserving of legendary champs like The Greatest: corrupt commissions, the all-too-frequent terrible judge, and an inexplicable lack of instant replay are just a few of its shortcomings…flaws that should have been resolved long ago. But it’s also the sport that demands the most of its contestants, one that will continue to compel viewers as long as warriors remain willing to step into that square circle.

- Michael J. Sahno

Thank you Michael for your thoughts on Boxing, I must say its not my favourite sport, and tend to only watch if Team GB has a boxer in a gold medal match. 

About Michael J Sahno

Michael J. Sahno began writing stories at an early age. Eventually, he was selected for Editor-in-Chief of his high school literary magazine. The quality of his work led to several honorary titles and academic awards by his senior year, which made it clear he was predestined to serve a role in literary excellence.

Mr. Sahno earned his Bachelor’s from Lynchburg College and later went on to earn his Master’s in English from Binghamton University.

After college, Mr. Sahno served in several management positions, including Director at a marketing research firm, Assistant Vice President at a Tampa-based mortgage company and college professor in the field of English composition.

Sahno became a full-time professional writer in 2001 and, in the following years, wrote more than 1,000 marketing articles on a wide range of topics. 

Mr. Sahno has written and published three novels: Brothers’ Hand, Jana, and Miles of Files. He is the founder of Sahno Publishing and available for professional speaking engagements upon request. For further information, contact

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