Monday, June 6, 2016

Muhammad Ali's 50 Opponents

Muhammad Ali's Opponents

Boxing, like football, is a brutal sport that takes a toll on a man's body. But beyond the physical pain lies a spiritual darkness that seems to follow many boxers after they leave boxing, as if there's no escape from the karma of having once entered the ring. Witness the fate of those among the 50 men who stepped into the ring with Muhammad Ali:
  • Tunney Hunsaker, the first opponent, spent nine days in a coma after a bout.
  • Trevor Berbick, the final opponent, was beat to death with a steel pipe.
  • Herb Siler went to prison for shooting his girlfriend.
  • Tony Esperti went to prison for a Mafia hit in a Miami Beach nightclub.
  • Alfredo Evangelista went to prison in Spain.
  • Alejandro Lavorante died from injuries sustained in the ring.
  • Sonny Banks did, too.
  • Jerry Quarry died broke, his mind scrambled from dementia pugilistica.
  • Jimmy Ellis suffered from it, too.
  • Rudi Lubbers turned into a drunk and joined a carnival.
  • Buster Mathis blew up to 550 pounds and died of a heart attack at 52.
  • George Chuvalo lost three sons to heroin overdoses; his wife killed herself after the second son's death.
  • Oscar Bonavena was shot through the heart with a high-powered rifle outside a Reno whorehouse.
  • Cleveland Williams was killed in a hit-and-run.
  • Zora Folley died mysteriously in a motel swimming pool.
  • Sonny Liston died of a drug overdose in Las Vegas. Many still believe the Mafia killed him.
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