Great White Hope

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Styx - Great White Hope

His career overlapped those of four of the greatest figures in heavyweight history or any other weight class, for that matter. Patterson never got in the ring with Frazier or Foreman, but he fought Liston and Ali twice each—he went with four knockouts. The two by Liston were quick, with Floyd failing to make it through the first round on either occasion. With the result Patterson has been largely forgotten, even as this quartet stand the test of time. There has never been anyone like Muhammad Ali.

Remembering Tommy Morrison and the End of "The Great White Hope" - InsideHook

Not in the heavyweight division, not in the rest of boxing, not in sports in general. But the documentary Muhammad and Larry about his fight with his former sparring partner Larry Holmes reveals he was also a man who genuinely enjoyed performing magic tricks for children, who seemingly spent as much time at his training camp bantering with the crowds as he did actually training. Why do we remember these fights?

Because of Ali, of course, but also because he had such remarkable foils. Liston brought a menace to the ring previously unseen among titleholders. These three men were also devastating fighters: Against non-Ali opponents, they were a combined with knockouts. Ali went in his six bouts against them, with four knockouts and a decision loss to Frazier. Were there white fighters during this era? Of course. Indeed, he fought Joe Bugner twice.

But these bouts are hazy memories compared to the best efforts of this foursome. And with Ali in particular achieving a stardom that went well beyond the sports page, it would have seemed that the myth of the Great White Hope could at last be put to rest. Indeed, it had even inspired the title of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play and then film about Jack Johnson that mocked the very concept—the movie brought James Earl Jones a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Surely we could judge fighters by how they actually fought and at last leave race out of it.

By he was , including a first-round knockout of the former champ Ken Norton. This landed Cooney a shot at Larry Holmes.


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Holmes was the heavyweight champ at the time. He had a record of and had nearly beaten Ali into retirement. The Greatest returned for one more equally disastrous bout. With Don King marketing the fight, it became all about race. If he was black, nobody would know who he is. Spinks, in turn, would get obliterated by Mike Tyson in just 91 seconds in in a fight that showed how far boxing had come since Jack Johnson. He could hit from either side of the plate just as well. Even without a title, Tyson somehow sold 1. Suddenly a belt, even the heavyweight one, no longer mattered so much.

Possibly because there were so many of them. For much of boxing history, boxers pursued a single title. There were downsides to this. Racist promoters, organized crime families, and other shady figures could deny a deserving contender a shot. But at least there was one positive: Having a belt meant something, because there was just one.

By , there were four boxing sanctioning organizations. That often meant multiple champs. Did this devalue the concept of being heavyweight champ? But there was a young up and comer who seemed promising and, as luck would have it, he was white. In , Muhammad Ali starred in The Greatest. He was already 35, with a legendary career behind him. As a fighter, he showed genuine power. He began his career , with 24 knockouts, generally coming in the first round. It earned him a shot at the WBO title. Then he ran into Ray Mercer, a former gold medalist. Mercer got a brutal KO in five. Morrison was notorious for partying, womanizing, and general poor decisions.

He pulled himself together for another title shot, facing George Foreman.

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Even at 44—a full 20 years older than Morrison—Foreman remained dangerous. Morrison pulled out a decision win, earning the WBO heavyweight title in At last, boxing had its Great White Hope: white, American, a heavyweight champ. Morrison was oddly suited to the role of a Great White Hope. For one, his mother was a Native American.

It took him just two fights to suffer a first round knockout to lightly regarded Michael Bentt. He held it only one fight, getting knocked out by Lennox Lewis. It seemed Morrison could keep the strange pattern of his career going for years—impressive displays leading to a loss of interest followed by a humiliating loss followed by a return to form and repeat. Then the cycle ended. Nevada was the only state requiring an HIV test at the time. It seemed a career ender. After all, boxing is literally a blood sport. With Morrison only 27, it appeared time for him to leverage his celebrity for a new chapter of his life.

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Introduction & Overview of The Great White Hope

It had according to him all been a false medical diagnosis. A decade after his retirement, he returned to the ring for two fights. Morrison died on September 1, He was just Johnson presented a double threat to the status quo; he violated laws that forbade him white female companionship, and literally, no one could whip his black ass.

Jeffries was lured out of retirement. Jeffries may have been the Great White Hope a century ago, but his replacement, Donald Trump has amassed a far better record.

The Great White Hope

After he knocked out 17 wanna- bees in the Republican Presidential primary, he scored a TKO over the first woman to seriously approach the ring. Hillary Rodham Clinton fought her way up to the championship bout. She won more than enough votes to be elected, but as is characteristic in the fight business, she lost on a technicality. The founding fathers created the electoral system to favor rich white males. This newest champ is a bit pudgy and a tad old to be in the ring, but he is as crafty as they come.

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He uses all the dirty tricks of boxing to his advantage and he concocts political poisons that lay bare every weakness of his opponents. He has a mean head fake. See also: great , hope , white. Something or someone that is expected to succeed. For example, Mark is the great white hope of the international division. This expression dates from the early s, when heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, who was black, seemed invincible and the term was used for any white opponent who might defeat him.


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  8. It gained currency as the title of a Broadway play and later a film. By then it had been transferred to anyone of whom much was expected. References in periodicals archive? A search began for a " Great White Hope " to defeat Johnson. A champion boxer who won his fight against racial hatred; Recent events have proved that race remains a hot topic in the world of sport.