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.... i iii, Page 16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 21,2014 .... . HOOPS and HOCKEY in the HUB by Richard Preiss The Fight of the Century: ALl FRAZIER I Why is it Being Forgotten? Part 3 After the fight both men went to the hospital. Ali was treated for his swollen and possibly broken jaw, Joe for exhaustion and high blood pressure. Ali refused to stay overnight. Joe would leave but be admitted later and stay for a number of weeks. It has also been revealed that Joe had been fighting while blind in one eye, the result of an injury he in- curred years earlier. The fight had lived up to expectations as both fighters gave it their all and the fans certainly got their money's worth. Ali, who was humble and conceded he had been beaten at first, soon began to claim he was robbed, and the decision in Frazier's fa- vor was motivated by the rac- ism of the "white" judges. It was the beginning of the hype for a rematch, but de- nied Frazier the respect he deserved for winning the fight while continuing to play the race card. The rac- ist jabs would continue to be thrown at Frazier by Ali for years to come. Before their rematch he called Joe "igno- rant," and leading up to their third match in Manila he would call Joe a "gorilla" and worse. It is interesting to see white liberals standing behind Ali and laughing while he is using some of the vilest and degrading words to describe a fellow black man. I have never understood how they could accept this. So why is this fight still not a hot topic of discussion among boxing fans, and why has it only been shown twice on TV since it hap- pened? Why is it that their third meeting in Manila is considered such a classic when, at that point in their careers, both fighters were well over the hill? Well, the fact Joe Frazier won the first fight does not fit in with the Ali narrative that has been cultivated in the press all these years. While he is so often por- trayed as a martyr, and I cer- tainly agree that stripping him of his title was uncon- scionable, he was loved by a press that had become increasingly liberal. While touting him as someone who stood up to the estab- lishment, Ali had actually become a part of that estab- lishment. The limousine set loved to praise him and speak of how abused he was by the "man." Ali never had anywhere near the struggles Frazier had growing up. If the Joe Frazier saga had ended with him escaping the poverty of Beaufort, SC and getting a job in a slaughter- house in Philadelphia, his would have been a great success story. Achieving what he did in the face of all the hatred that was Ali on the way down. member of his own race was truly remarkable. Ali would continue to race bait for the rest of his ca- reer. Being a member of a religion that calls for the extermination of whites, he probably believed stoking hatred among the-races was a good cause. But, why so much venom directed at darker skinned members of his own race? Muhammad Ali was a great fighter with a magnetic personality. It is a shame he used his talents to cause so much division. Ali went on to gain saint like status and got to light the Olympic Flame in 1996. In Joe's hometown of Philadelphia a statue was erected. Not to honor Joe, but to celebrate a fictional fighter, Rocky. This was a disgrace and just one more insult hurled at a coura- geous and honorable man. It is time for fight fans and the public as a whole to revisit this fight, and to look beyond the history written by Ali's hagiographers. It is time Joe Frazier got the respect and recognition he deserved. Ali on the canvas. Sinatra snaps photos for Life. spewed upon him by a In the ring later in life. Bobby can be reached at Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes game on Saturday, March 15, 2014 at TD Garden. Bruins won 5-1. (Photo by Rosario Scabin, Ross Photography) It's a great time throughout Bruins Nation as the B's con- tinue to sail throughout the month of March. Through March 18th, the Black and Gold had won 10 straight games as they continued the hunt for a loftier goal -- the home ice advantage through all four rounds of the playoffs. That is. the reward for the team that finishes with the most points in league play during the regular season. The Bruins are currently a few points ahead of Pittsburgh in overall conference stand- ings -- meaning they would have home ice for the first three rounds. But they are currently behind Western Conference leader St. Louis (with Ana- heim and San Jose also in contention) for the ultimate prize -- home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final. "You want to keep pushing for that top spot," noted B's forward Milan Lucic. "Home ice advantage is huge in the playoffs, especially when you get into the later rounds. You need to create that momen- tum at home and if you look at our record past the second round at home you know that it is pretty good," he said. "So we're just trying to win hockey games and finish as high as we can in the stand- ings. That's been the goal since the start of the season and we're going to continue doing that." That from a player central to the success story that continues to unfold around this current edition of the Bruins -- a team that pos- sesses an enviable 28-7-2 mark on Garden ice as the countdown to the regular sea- son finale looms ever closer. Indeed, by the time you read this there may be fewer than a dozen games left in the regular season that wraps up on April 12th for the B's. As the winning streak con- tinues it's been all smiles around the B's lately -- both in the locker room and in the post-game press conferences. "I think right now we're really feeling good about ourselves as a team," noted head coach Claude Julien. "We get excited about coming to the rink. We get excited about playing. We get excited about winning hockey games. All those things go hand in hand." The winning streak has also brought a few ominous comments from some ob- servers, if you can believe it. The whispers are that per- haps the Bruins are peaking too early, playing their best hockey in the stretch run before the season that really counts -- the so-called sec- ond season of the playoffs -- gets under way. "We're playing well, we're playing hard. I think we're doing a lot of good things but we've just got to stay the course here," explained Julien. "I don't think we are doing things to peak too early. I think we are utilizing our players, our bench as much as we can, giving guys some rest and all that stuff. We're just doing the best we can." And the coach feels there is always room for improve- ment. "We watch videos after every game and analyze our team. We're good right now. We're playing well. But I think there is still a lot of room for improvement. If we expect to go a long way in the playoffs, we're going to have to be bet- ter than we are right now. So to me, that's not peaking." One of the keys this season has been the acquisition of NHL veteran Jarome Iginla, who played in his 1,300th NHL contest in the 4-i victory over Minnesota on St. Patrick's Day. He's the fifth currently active player to reach that milestone and the 55th over- all in NHL history to achieve that impressive mark. "He's come in here and done really well," said Julien of the right winger who was signed as free agent last July. He brings us size and scoring ability," continued the head coach as he expanded on his plaudits for the player that scored two goals in that vic- tory over Minnesota. He then followed that up with another score in a 4-2 defeat of New Jersey on March 18th. "He's done a great job," stated Julien. "We're talking about a veteran who has tre- mendous leadership quali- ties. He's been a great asset to our team. It could have been a lot different if we had not gotten him." Through 69 games the 36- year-old forward had scored a team-leading 26 goals and added 30 assists for 56 points, second on the squad behind David Krejci's 60 points. (Continued on Page I0)