Muhammad Ali and Wilt Chamberlain are probably two of the biggest athletes to come out of the 70s. The two icons from two very different sports once were in the same room and almost were ready to throw hands. All thanks to the eternal instigator, Howard Cosell.
Ali ever the loudmouth was tainting and poking Chamberlain even before the cameras had started rolling. Both these men were symbols of excellence in their generation but that didn’t stop Ali from being the brash-talking menace he was in his younger days.
As Cosell called on Ali’s coach, Angelo Dundee to measure the reach both would boast in a hypothetical fight, Ali was quick to dismiss it saying, “Reach don’t mean nothing if he can’t find the man, the reach doesn’t mean nothing”, as the coaches started measuring the basketballer.
Standing at 7’1, Chamberlain was a behemoth of a human being. Needless to say, even a huge heavyweight like Ali, standing at 6’4 would look puny in comparison to him. As the coaches continued measuring Chamberlain, Ali started the taunts on his end again. “I’ll whoop basketball players, football players and Cosell, ” boasted the champion.
As the measurements came out, it was revealed that Ali’s 79-inch reach was totally overshadowed by Wilt’s 92-inch span. Then to drive the point home, Cosell asked the basketballer to hold up his hands against the camera. Chamberlain’s hand along was over to wrap around Ali’s entire face as the boxer declared, “David beat Goliath”
Ali and Chamberlain were friends in real life however the two were quite serious about holding a freak fight between themselves in the late 1960’s. As Ali was serving his suspension from Boxing due to his refusal to be drafted, he looked for alternative sources to earn, this being on of them.
Ali even joked about bringing in Bill Russel and other huge basketball players of the time to help himself get accommodated with the style required to beat Chamberlain.
Jerin is a journalism graduate who grew up watching WWE and the NBA but once he saw people kicking each other in the face for a living, he could never go back to another sport. On his off days, he likes to trek mountains in flip flops
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