ABC's Monday Night Football, Boxing, Howard Cosell, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, Sports

I’d Have Been Nothing Without You ……….


I’d   Have  Been  Nothing   Without  You !  





It’s  often  been  said the   relationships   and  friendships   one has  can  clearly  define  us  as  a  person.   And  in  some  instances  it  is  true.   Though  for some   it  hasn’t  always  been  the  case.     One  relationship  that  I  genuinely  believe  was  something   built   out   of  mutual  respect  and    in   some  cases  one   built   out  of    adoration   if  nothing  else.   Well  it  was  the  friendship  that   was  cemented   between   renowned   broadcaster   Howard  Cosell  and   former  heavyweight   boxing   champion Muhammad  Ali.   



Howard  Cosell   seen  here  with  Muhammad  Ali  at  the  coverage  of the  1972 Munich  Olympics.
Howard Cosell seen here with Muhammad Ali at the coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics. Ali playfully mocks Cosell while picking something from his head. picture appears courtesy of afp/ David Thornton......




Though  the   two  on the  face  of  it   had  nothing   in  common  .  Heir’s   was   a    friendship   that   at  times  bordered  on  that  of   father  and   son.  Whilst   there  wasn’t   often   obedience   being  conveyed   by  way  of  their   interaction.  It  has  to  be  said  that  their   friendship   was  something  that   played   out  as a  comedic  farce  that   was   genuinely  entertaining .   Though  at   times    it  was   Cosell   who  became  the   butt  of   Ali’s   jokes.   And   Cosell  willingly  abetted   Ali  in  the   joviality .  If   nothing  else  it   made   for   great   television   and   the   viewers  and  fight   fans    lapped  it   up  for   all  it  was  worth.  And   most    certainly    the  interaction  between  the  two  made  Ali’s   fights  all  the  more  pleasurable  to  watch.  The   publicity  gleaned   by   way  of   the  hype  and  that  of   Cosell   wanting  to  be   part  of it  all  was   merely  nothing   more than  a way  of   selling  a  bout.  



Ali  seen  here  with  daughters  Maryum,  Rasheeda  and  Laila .
Ali seen here with daughters Maryum, Rasheeda and Laila . picture appears courtesy of si/getty images/ Michael Bell ..................



The   bouts   themselves   were   memorable   in  more  ways  than  one .   If  it wasn’t   Ali   being   the  consummate   showman    describing  how  he  would  either  be   knocking   out   his  opponent   whilst   also   mocking  them.   Then  it  was   also   about  Cosell   ,  himself.  He  often  interjected  himself   into  the  show.  If   for   nothing  else   other  than  wanting  the   public   to  know  that   it  was  he  ,  Howard  Cosell.  Who  was  the  person    being  the   ring master    bringing   us   the   indomitable   Muhammad Ali.  Cosell   was  absorbed   in  his   own   self   importance   but  he   also    could   be  passionate   about  things   he   felt  were  undignified  and   socially  immoral.   



Ali  playfully  avoids  a jab  from  Wilt  Chamberlain  during  the  taping  of  a  television  show.  Chamberlain  at  the  time  wanted to  meet  Ali in an  exhibition  bout.
Ali playfully avoids a jab from NBA player Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt at the time wanted to meet Ali in an exhibition bout. He was also seriously considering taking up the sport of boxing, seeking to become a professional. He tried to lure Ali into meeting him in a proposed bout where both men would each receive $1m for the undertaking. picture appears courtesy of corbis. D Bettman .....................




And  nowhere  was  this   more   apparent   than   when   he   came  to  the  support  of  Ali.  The   boxer’s   treatment   at  the   hands  of  the   government  after   his   refusal   to  enter  the   military   during   the  Vietnam   War  saw   Cosell   openly   come  out   to  criticize   administration  at  the  time.  He  fully  supported  the  fighter  and  in   his   cause   made  it  known  to  those   who  were    prepared to  listen.   Though  it   had  to  be  said   he  had  his   detractors   for  taking  that   particular   stance.  But  at  the  same   time   one  has  to  admire   someone  who’s  prepared to   go  against   public  opinion   and   forsake  friendships  along  the  way.



Don  Meredith  seen  here  with  Cosell  (center) and  Frank  Gifford.  The  three  would  become  the  main anchors  for  ABC's  Monday  Night  Football.    The  show  came  into  being  in  1970.
Don Meredith seen here with Cosell (center) alongside Frank Gifford. The three would become the face of ABC's Monday Night Football during the early seventies. The show came into being in 1970. picture appears courtesy of corbis/ D Bettman .............



Though  Cosell  was   known  primarily   for   his   broadcast  commentary   provided  for   ABC’s  Monday  Night  Football. At  its  inception in  1970,   he  would   be  working   alongside   Keith  Jackson  and  Don  Meredith.  Frank  Gifford  would   join  the   team  later  in  1971 after the  departure  of  Jackson . Cosell   carried   out  other   duties   for  the  network.    He  wrote  several  books  and  his   long  standing   relationship  and  marriage to  his  beloved  wife  Mary  Edith   Cosell. “Emmy”  to  those who  knew  her  best   and  their   marriage  that  stood   for  over   forty  five years.  





Ali  lands  a  blow to  the  head  of  Frazier  during  the  eighth  round  of  their  none   title  bout  at  Madison  Square  Garden  in  January  1974.
Ali lands a blow to the head of Frazier during the bout at Madison Square Garden. picture apears courtesy of afp/ Matthew Gordon ...............





Much   has  been  made   as  to  Cosell’s  arrogance .  But   if  anything  it   was  used  as  a  shield  to  hide  his own  insecurities.   For   Ali   it was  the   exact opposite.   His  persona  and  bravado    merely  represented  what  he  was  all  about.  And  though  many  may   found   it  all  too   annoying   and  if   anything   insulting.   The  fighter   bore   this   out  as  a  way   igniting    a  nation’s   conscience  as  to  what   was  happening  around  them  .  It  may  not  have   been  welcomed   but  it  certainly   made   many  sit  up  and   take   note.   And  it   didn’t   matter   how   one   might’ve   felt  about   the  fighter  and  his   religious  beliefs.






We  may   have  our   own   differing   views  as   to  Ali’s  actions  and  his  convictions.   But  it  cannot  be   denied   the  aftermath  of  the  Vietnam  War  has  merely  proved  that   when   you  go  to  war  it  had better  be   for  the  right   reasons.  And   not   merely  being   done  to  pander  to   a  political  viewpoint.   The   loss  of  lives   precious  as  they  are   can’t  be   replaced.  And  the  memories   borne  out   of   the  battles  of  the  veterans   who   took  part   in  it  all  can  never   be    forgotten.   It  becomes  a  lingering  reminder  of  what  we  once   thought  to  be  so   pure. Life   as  we  would   want  it  to  be  but  can   never   regain  even  with  the  advent  of   medical   assistance. We  can   entrust  our   lives  to   the  military   when  making  the  choice   to  serve   our  country.   But   upon    one’s   return   at   times   it  becomes   very   difficult   to  understand  how   it   is   that   these  men  and   women   can  be  so   ill   served   by  its  own  government   when  it   comes  to  their  well  being.


Cosell   interviews  Ali prior  to   his none  title  bout   against  Joe  Frazier  at  Madison  Square  Garden in   January  1974.
Ali seen here with Cosell as he's interviewed by the commentator about his upcoming bout with Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden in New York. The fighters would have three career defining fights that gained notoriety worldwide . picture appears courtesy of corbis / D Bettman ............................




For   Ali  his  conviction   was   borne  out  of  a  right   that  he  felt   whereby   going  to war  against  an  enemy   who’d  done   him   no  apparent   harm,  would  be  against   his   religious   beliefs  as   a  Muslim (Sufi Muslim).   Unfortunately   for   many   who   are  Muslims  in  today’s  environment .  They’re   often  characterized  as  terrorists , enemies   of the   West  and   in  particular  the  United  States.  And   with  the   remnants  of   9/11   still   there   to   remind   us  why   it’s   understandable  to   have  that   belief.






The   friendship   built    between   Ali  and   Cosell  would  come  to an  end when  Cosell   died  in  1995  at  the  age  of   77.  It   has  to  be  said  that  it  left  the  world   somewhat  of  a  sadder   place  with  the  loss   of  Cosell .  He was  a  professional   in  his  chosen   field   and  he  was   actually  beloved by those  who   knew  him   best.   And   despite   the   perceived  arrogance    he  was  a   man   of   conviction . Who  felt  that  injustice  in  whatever   form  had to  be  challenged.   Perhaps  it  came   from   his  training  as  a   lawyer ?       It  may  well  have   been  also   so   different    him   had  he   chosen  to  stay  in  that  field.    But   the  lure   of   being  able  to   communicate  with   the   public    ,  first   in  the  broadcast   radio   format   and  then  television   was  too  much   to    ignore  once   he  made  the  leap   into  that  arena.



Ali   connects  to  the  head  of  Frazier  and  has  him  somewhat  dazed .     The   fighters  would  end  having  a  trilogy   of  bouts   which've  become  synonymous  with   both  of  their  careers.
Ali connects to the head of Frazier and has him somewhat dazed during their none title bout at Madison Square Garden in January of 1974. Both fighters would have a trilogy of bouts that'd become synonymous with their names. picture appears courtesy of afp/ Arthur Holston .........................


For  Ali   now   suffering   with  Parkinson’s  disease  and  in the  twilight  of  his  existence.    We  now   see  a  man   whose   best   days   are   now behind  him.   But   the  memories   of  what  he  once   had  may  well  be   no   longer  there.    But   the  mere  mention  of  Cosell’s  name   seems  to   brighten    his   face  and  demeanor.  Whatever  these    two  men   once   had   was   definitely   more  than  a  friendship.    Because   if  anything    they   both   needed   each   other   more   than   they     really   could   ever   understand.  It were   as  if   serendipity   were  at  work   from the   moment   the  two   got    together .   What  they   brought  to   the  screen   at  the  height  of  their    notoriety   is   a  reminder   of  what    we  all   truly    value   in  a   friendship.






4 thoughts on “I’d Have Been Nothing Without You ……….

  1. “Hi:

    Two things

    1) I’d like your permission to (re)print your article on Fareed Zakaria for our website

    2) I was hoping we could use your ‘scribing’ talent for our website.

    The Best Shows Youre Not Watching (dot) com [all one word]

    ‘The Clone Wars’ is one of our featured shows. We’re hoping to round up a few people who can occasionally contribute perspective (via an article/blog) on the shows – maybe a recent episode, future direction, plot shortcomings etc.

    What’s in it for you?
    Primarily a larger audience back channeled to your blog. We don’t pay but the site has a lot of promise and we’re pretty excited about getting it off the ground. Let me know what you think.


  2. To set the record straight, Howard Cosell DID NOT say “Look at that little monkey run” when he was referring to Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett. Cosell made this remark 11 years earlier in 1972 in reference to a play by Kansas City Chiefs Mike Adamle. It was 1983 on Monday Night Football when Cosell made his comment about Alvin Garrett which was “That little monkey gets loose doesn’t he.”

    I am still looking for a sound byte or video clip of Howard Cosell saying “Look at that little monkey run.” I hear that it might be contained in a Preseason 1972 K.C. Chiefs @ Giants 07/29/72 “Hall of Fame” Game. Can anyone locate the actual clip?

    1. And that’s somehow suppose to negate the fact of the statement given the era and social events taking place at the time ? Cosell and his like think merely because of who they were at the time …. they could get away with saying anything they wanted without actually thinking about the consequences of the statement made at the time.

      It’s ignorance on his part !

      tophatal …………………

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s