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April 24, 2015     Post-Gazette
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April 24, 2015

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Page 12 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 24, 2015 iIl i : : ITNIt/!N:. I After Muhammad, a Graveyard The heavyweight champion won an interesting fight against an aging, but surprisingly worthy challenger. Now Ali's clouded future raises the possibility that the ring soon may be deprived of its most colorful figure. Zora Folley does pushup. The little sport from the West, 12 years old, whey- faced, hat on his knee, tie in place, hair slicked down, sat on the wooden bench next to the heavyweight who was now just a truck driver from Arizona. The kid's eyes were red, and he would not kxk at the fighter, who kept glancing o, ut of the corners of h eyes at the son of his maBager. Outside, in the dark corrtdor, a l, htweight was howling: Why do ya bms always  over for that bum.  ,ora FolIey was not listenln. He was listening to tke sond of a dream "1at i t ya, what I tell ya?* tke trainer. Johnny ta, ltept say. "R was his right  tat ed us. l wara  about Clay's rigtt.  sa double safety. Get ottt. M,e bac in a hurry when ey gets set. Folley td d. it. t was that s, impe. " ti  'tv , had had er@l., ls fee r tULC up at Ffly, am his eyes were wet. "t urdrai, r," ke said. "Cly cts Tlat was no wa  f  Zora to lose. t'S  t] way a prtze- fil sJte go. Clay con- f ra, flap:png s eraz, tlis. Poor Zora. ht 1. No,  don't, t lo "s wrong.. Ctay is a grit co.  Irottey- as: sert. Soon he pitt o Ms roag,, gray over- coat. White Mtthammad All with. th:e Muslim guard pr .ac:g in front of him and: shoung, "Out the way, get out" . entered the Mid town Motor Inn across from the Garden, Zora Folley de- parted like an old, humble preacher leaving a gospel tent, He faded into the dark- ness of Eighth Avenue; a street of no face and no names,. here already the scramblers, and tire ram- biers; and' the tiee to get i-nsidg , were-yowling that one Zorn FoUey was just an- other tff: for-a bigmouth d dtger. Sm- ei.ts: ean  at yo day. but t! fact. is: - on v l!ing at Ull ess all nigh:t -- Fo had no! to apologize fo. -- Mark Even his "heart," which was quite suspect before the bout, stood up. He made the best fight he could, and it stands as one of the more interesting fights All has had. Age (he's 34 and had been in 85 bouts) and cau- tion -- his reluctance to vary, even slightly, the style that had given him 40 knockouts -- beat Folley. He was also beaten by a patient, disciplined and "scientific" performance, which All had promised Folley just because he was such a "civilized, respectable" man. Still, Folley did accomplish some things. He cut the ring down on All. He hit the champion more often than any other opponent with solid right hands and slip jabs. He Kram April 3, 1967 SI Folley slips Ali's jab. he looked at his father and then he glanced down at his shoes. "Come over here!" All ordered the boy. "Don't be ashamed. I know you are dis- appointed, but your father put up a good fight. He's a good fighter, a slick, scien- tific boxer, and if we'd met 10 years ago things might have been different." did not tanic when All got cute. Faking and feinting, he forced All to miss several good punches. On the nega- tive side -- besides being knocked out -- he obsti- nately clung to one strata- gem; while moving to his right, he kept looking to throw a right-hand counter. it did not take All long to learn that he could go in flat-footed and ram home his good right hand, which so many peopIe doubt he possesses. It  also a popular opinion that All just played with Foltey the first two rounds, but it is more likely that he was measuring Folley's reactions and the strength of his punches. It wasn't until the third round that AIi began working. His strut left hands -- not his jab  kept snapping Folley's head back. These were the punches that started Folley on  way out. At the end of the third rutmd, Ali told his corner that FoIley had begun to tire, tlt his punches had lst som of their life. i tle, fourth, All, now punch'mg fiat-footed, spun Foey arotmd with a left hook and the banged a right hand in back of his ear. Folley went down; he was fiat on his stomach, and then sud- denly he was up, his nose streaming blood, he was kneeling and looking to his corner for the count. Folley raged back, but he had left too much of himself on the floor. All, it appeared, carried Folley in the fifth and sixth rounds, but going into the seventh Herbert Muham- mad, Ali's manager, told him to "stop playin'." He did. Two rights, the first of which traveIed roughly six inches, gave Ali his 2.9  straight victory  his ninth successful titte de- feRse, d' sent FMley back t. the anonymity in wlch Ie has long labored -- and seemed to prefer. Back on h feet am alet, Fottey began looking for his son Jtmior. The boy was brought into the ring, and All, indeed, had been ex- ceptionally decent to Folley, so much so that the fight lacked character. Each of his fights, of course, always seemed to present All as a brilliant musician and his opponent as a mere instrument for his will and artistry, but each has al- ways had a distinct current running through it. Ernie Terrell was the self-seeking Uncle Tom. In the European fights, All was the noble, misunderstood black prince in exile. Against Cleveland Williams, he was the old, uncomplicated colored boy from Louisville, full of fun arxl quiet charm. For FoIley, who had no desire to engage in blather or even mock ani- mus, All was just a fighter. The gate was plainly in danger, until the draft board requested All to appear for induction on April 11. That same day he began to cre- ate the character dramati- zation that rescued the box office. "This may be the last chance," he said, "to see Muhammad All i  color, so ff yu haste ts been wanting to see me you'd better come to the Gar- den." Later he said:: "Perlms in one to tee years t wll fight again..* The *one to three" seemed to indicate he would choose a  sentence to military service. He would not disclose h decision, btrt his hints were cleverly cam- ouflaged. "My life, my death, all my sacrifices," said Ali, who had a curious bent toward martyrdom, "are for Allah. I am the tool of Allah and because of my sacrifice it will come out that hun- dreds of Muslims are in jail rather than fight in the: Army. Or even just to go ito the service.  It was likely that Z wotfld not Rgttt in the near future; already, in an effort not antagonize the governmerrt he canceIed his May 27 th fight with Oscar Bonavena in Tokyo. His lawyer, Hayden (Continued on Page 9) As the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs proceed without the Bruins, one might think that things have been finalized for the immediate future on Causeway Street. But such is not the case. In fact, things are more uncertain and up in the air now than when the Bruins played their last home game back on April 4% For now, the Bruins are without a general manager and they may be without a coach come later in the spring. When Bruins President Cam Neely and Delaware North Boston Holdings CEO Charlie Jacobs let GM Peter Chiarelli go, they didn't do the same for Head Coach Claude Julien -- who has several years remaining on a contract extension. Rather, they indicated that Chiarelli's successor, whoever he might be, will make that call on who will coach the Bruins for the 2015-2016 season. "It hasn't fully been made," said Neely during a press conference with reference to whether a decision had been rendered concerning Julien. "We met with Claude, Charlie and I, and we told him that we really believe that once we go through the exhaustive search to find the next general manager that we will leave it up to that GM to decide what he wants to do with our coach- ing staff. Claude certainly understood that, but that's where we left it." Right now, that's a non- decision that's not fair to Jutien. It might sound a bit odd, but Chiarelli is now actually in a better position than Julien. That's because the decision has been made regarding him and now he's free to become a candidate for other openings as they become available. We hav a strong feeling that he w't be ployed long, especially when his recent resume ieludes a S Cup Chmmpinship |Oll and a Stanley Cup flt,st {2013}. Plus. he's t be aratble for any GM pottiot that becomes availe. Hell Iaave, so to speak, his pick concerning where to apply. The full range of openings will he his to comsi'der. Not so wlfft d. First of aI, let us state right here that we hope Coach Julien is back next season. The same recent resume that Chiarelli has on the GM side, JuBen has on the coach- hag side -- the Stanley Cup Champiosttip and the Stanley Cup fixtaMst. Those aren't exactly weak refer- enee points. wats t come back. th, et meeting with him, Neely indicated that he and Jacobs "told him the s"kiX.. We asked him (if he wanted to: -t) and he said 'I sigzx a contract to coach here, t wat to coach here.' S te mad that clear. We had ]hamed. to meet with him t@ tad but the coming season and the past season so that's our next agenda with Claude." But knowing the B's over the years, one must actively consider the possibility that Julien might no longer be the coach of the B's in a couple of months. If that's the case, Julien could well have fewer opportunities for employment than Chiarelli since a number of the head coaching vacancies will have been filled by then. And that's just not fair to Julien, who took the B's to the cham- pionship for the first time since 1972 and nearly re- peated two years later. Ironically, the same situ- ation played out a number of years ago when Chiarelli was hired. The Bruins dis- missed GM Mike O'Connell, but kept Head Coach Mike Sullivan aboard. When Chiarelli was finally hired in June (he had been the assistant GM at Ottawa), he fired Sullivan -- who had been in the same indecisive no man's land then as Julien is now. It was getting late in the NHL coaching employment line and Mike saw several opportunities go by the boards while he waited and waited, only to be finally shown the door. Sullivan would be- come an assistant at Tampa Bay 11 months later. Jacobs even made refer- ence to the similarity. "Having been through the process before, when we transitioned from Mike O'Connell to Peter Chiarelli, it (the fate of Sullivan) was part of the interview process. It was a question that was asked of all the candidates. But in all candor, in order to find the best candidate you have to give them the free- dom to make those decisions on their own. They have to arrive at their own con- clusions -- without prejudice from management. That's how you allow them to fulfill their duties to the best of their abilities. So yes, it will be part of the process. We will certainly say: 'We think we have a good coach. We'd like to hear your input on it. The decision is ultimately yours, new GM.' We will be trying to find the best candidate to be our next general manager. And the decision will be his regarding the coach." Another dynamic may well come into play. Neely de- scribed Julien and Chiarelli as being essentially on the same page. "Those two, in my opinion, have a great working relationship and have had one for a number of years." That's not sur- prising given that Chiarelli hired Julien. He was, after all, Chiarelli's appointment. But the same won't be true of the next GM. Julien won't he his appointment. He will be a holdover appointed by someone else. Whether that will be enough to impede "a great working relationship" is anybody's guess. Come later this spring, we'll know the answer.