The Greatest

The Greatest

A Poem by Tate Morgan

Here this man had stood by himself took the pain dealt to him alone For all the things that he believed he was willing to lose his throne


Ali known at the time as "Cassius Clay" defeats Sonny Liston for the Heavyweight title of the world.

It's hard to express this in words

for the younger generation

But when I was just a small lad

heavyweight fights led the nation

It wasn't that we didn't care

for the struggle of civil rights

It was just that back in those days

men worshiped the heavyweight fights


While Martin Luther had a place

in the hearts and minds of us all

It was the audacious Ali

who held the boxing world in thrall

He was Cassius Marcellus Clay

born in nineteen forty two

A victor at the Olympics

from where his legend only grew


He had made short work of Liston

who had mauled way more than a few

In a fight where barely a soul

had known what this great champ could do

 He then changed his name to Ali

going on to crush all comers

Taunting each of the challengers

for what seemed like endless summers


But then he'd dared refuse the draft

while men cried in lamentation

"How could the great Heavyweight Champ

bring such disgrace to our nation"

The commissioners took his title

along with his Olympic gold

They knocked him down, and took his crown

crying "How dare he be so bold"


Here this man had stood by himself

 took the pain dealt to him alone

For all the things that he believed

he was willing to lose his throne

Though as we all found out later

he was right to protest that war

Ali stood by his convictions

and soon he would do even more


At the end of his long career

 after Larry Holmes won their fight

I asked a close black friend of mine

"just who did you bet on tonight"

"I put my money on the champ

he fights with such malignity

I guess I knew, that he was through

but he gave me my dignity"




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© 2019 Tate Morgan

Author's Note

Tate Morgan
Very few people ever become so famous that we know them by their first name. But Ali was the Greatest fighter ever. He stirred the core of every man alive at the time. Forced us to look at ourselves and through that glass we came to admire him. Later he became a great humanitarian. Saving the lives of the hostages in the first Iraq war. He received a new gold medal from the Olympic committee at the Atlanta games,to replace the one taken from him. Misunderstood? Sure he was. Loved and admired around the world? Your Damn Right he is! In later years Ali has contracted Parkinson's disease. However a man once interviewed him many years after his retirement. Ali took him out to the barn to see his dusty trophies laying about. "You know" he said. "Here are the things I strove so hard for many years of my life.They didn't mean a thing when you compare them to what really matters." Well he mattered. At least to the rest of us. He is today as he has been for many years one of the most Iconic and beloved figures of the modern era. There is only One Ali!
So here is to the greatest fighter and one of the greatest men who ever lived.

My Review

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'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee'...he knew his stuff. Great tribute to one of our legends, as tough as he seemed in the ring he was a gentle soul....I enjoyed this one Tate.

Posted 6 Years Ago

I have to give you credit for this great poem although, as an Englishman, I would join many Englishmen who cried...'We were robbed!" when he fought 'Our 'Enery' (Henry Cooper.) Henry Cooper floored Ali and would have finished the fight by a knockout. However, the bell was rung and then Don King held the fight up by claiming Ali's glove had split. This gave Ali almost three minutes to regain his senses and go on to knock out Cooper. Obviously Ali would have won had he not taken Cooper too lightly. And again, to my mind the greatest Heavyweight in the world was Rocky Marciano, who retired undefeated.
But, even so, the write was a great poem and thank you for sharing with us...

Posted 6 Years Ago

Great job with this one and tonights reading of it on WPOM was one of your best.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Nicely written as always.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Tate as usual your words gave me inspiration, a smile, and some tears. There truly is only One Ali. Thanks so much for sharing this with us all.

Posted 6 Years Ago

Beautiful sentiment. What a perfect illustration of courage. Undisputably the greatest on many levels indeed.

Posted 6 Years Ago

WOW Tator Tot!
This is an amazing tribute... packed with a riveting display of drama...
Well penned!~xoxo~:))

Posted 6 Years Ago

Touching tribute here, Tate. And I must agree with Rita. It does read much like a ballad. Also the audio from the video added to the piece rather than distracted or took away from it. Well done. Thanks for sharing.

Posted 6 Years Ago

This reads like a ballad; a great tribute to a great man. I remember seeing Ali on talk shows when I was a kid; he was (and still is) a gentle man, full of wisdom and a joyful spirit.

Posted 6 Years Ago

He was an icon and still is. His legacy is living on too. His daughter is pretty amazing. Deep respect for the man and this was a fitting tribute poem to him.

Posted 6 Years Ago

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62 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on August 28, 2013
Last Updated on February 18, 2019
Tags: poetry


Tate Morgan
Tate Morgan

Marion , OH

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