- Tape #1: "The Beginning - Olympic Gold"
*includes footage of a knockdown he suffered as an amateur, his Olympic fights (highlights only) and several of his early fights.
- Tape #2: "The Youngest Heavyweight Champion" (inaccurate since both
Patterson and Tyson were younger, but anyways . . .)
*includes footage of his first victory over Patterson and several rounds from his first fight with Liston and the entire 2+ minutes of the second fight with Liston. Also included are highlights of some of his early title defenses (Cleveland Williams).
- Tape #3: "Exile"
*focuses on his last few bouts (Ernie Terrell and Zora Foley) from the 60s and out of ring activities during the time he was banned from the ring. Included is footage of his doing the college lecture circuit, appearing on various talk shows (David Frost, William F. Buckley) and a curious bit with him starring in a Broadway play with a fake big afro and full beard.
- Tape #4: "The Road Back"
*includes footage of the Quarry and Bonavena fights and about every other round from the first Frazier bout. Also included is extensive footage of the pre-fight hype leading up to "the Fight of the Century." Some coverage of the first two bouts with Norton is also included.
- Tape #5: "The Rumble in the Jungle"
*includes extensive footage of the buildup to the fight with Foreman and the entire fight with Foreman.
- Tape #6: "The Thrilla in Manila"
*includes the buildup and about five rounds of the third Frazier bout. This is followed by highlights of the third Norton bout, a few seconds of his first bout with Spinks, still shots from his loss to Holmes and some rare footage of Ali in the 80s once his speech and movement had seriously deteriorated.
The entire series includes excerpts of interviews with three of Ali's four wives (#3 Veronica is absent), Angelo Dundee, Wally Muhammad, Howard Bingham, Howard Cosell, Dick Schapp, William F. Buckley, Amiri Baraka, and many others who have played a role in Ali's life. Although it is interesting to see these people, none of them contribute anything which the Ali fan, who may have read one of his biographies, would not already know about. Still it is good to have images to match the stories.
Overall the series is noteworthy for the quality of the prints of the fights and out of ring activities. All the images, with the exception of the coverage of the third Norton fight, are crystal clear. I have not come across anything like this series and if you are a fan of Ali's you will probably want to own it.
A couple of criticisms are that the series is somewhat overpriced at $99. I am not sure why it is on six 58 minute tapes when it could have been offered on three 120 minute tapes. There are a lot of gaps in coverage of Ali's bouts from the 70s. For example, there are no shots of the second fight with Frazier and it would have been nice to see more of the other two bouts with Frazier and the three bouts with Norton. Some of the material, particularly tape #5 will be very familiar to people who have seen "When We Were Kings." In fact Leon Gast, the director of that film, is one of the editors of this series.
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