Trump Says He Might Pardon Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali. What Did Ali Do?

President Donald Trump is considering pardoning Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer who died in 2016 at the age of 74.

Ali, born Cassius Clay, is best known today as one of the greatest athletes to ever step foot inside a boxing ring. But he was also an outspoken activist whose conscientious objection to serving in the Vietnam War would see him lose the heavyweight title and be effectively barred from his sport for over three years.

“I can’t take part in nothing,” Ali later said of his decision, “where I’d help the shooting of dark Asiatic people, who haven’t lynched me, deprived me of my freedom, justice and equality, or assassinated my leaders.”

In 1967, Ali was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to five years in prison and fined $ 10,000. However, he remained free while he appealed his case. The Supreme Court in 1971 unanimously overturned Ali’s conviction, which leaves unclear whether a pardon is necessary or even possible. “There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed,” the late Ali’s attorney said in a statement Friday.

Trump pardoning Ali would be a break from his posture toward modern-day athletes who make their political opinions known on and off the field. The President has been particularly critical of National Football League players who have knelt during the national anthem to protest racism and police violence. (Trump also recently pardoned late boxer Jack Johnson, who was convicted on what many saw as racist grounds.)

Trump himself never served in Vietnam, having received several deferments for education and medical reasons.

Here’s more on the history of Ali’s conscientious objection, from TIME’s obituary written by Sean Gregory:

He would lose much more — the prime years of his career. In January 1964, Ali took the military qualifying examination. But his mental aptitude score was below the minimum requirement to be drafted. “I said I was the greatest, not the smartest,” he quipped. With the Vietnam War escalating, however, the military lowered the minimums. So in February of 1966, Ali was reclassified 1-A. His request for a deferment would be denied. When reporters hounded him for his reaction, Ali uttered words that would make him a national pariah, while at the same framed the debate about America’s role in the Vietnam conflict. “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.”

Ali voiced his contempt for American policy before the anti-war movement gained steam. Newspaper editorial writers called Ali “the most disgusting character in memory to appear on the sports scene” and the “bum of all time.” The governor of Illinois labeled Ali as “disgusting,” while the governor of Maine said Ali “should be held in utter contempt by every patriotic American.” Ali next fight, against Ernie Terrell, was scheduled for Chicago in late March of 1966, but the Chicago Tribune urged the Illinois State Athletic Commission to cancel the bout. The state caved to the political pressure, and few other cities wanted any part of Ali: the Terrell fight was eventually moved to Toronto, though by this point Terrell himself backed out (a Canadian, George Chuvalo, filled in and actually went the distance with Ali before losing a one-sided decision). Media and politicians called for a boycott of the fight. “The heavyweight champion of the world turns my stomach,” said Frank Clark, a congressman from Pennsylvania.

By refusing to join the military, Ali was costing himself millions in endorsement money. Still, he didn’t flinch. “The white man want me hugging on a white women, or endorsing some whiskey, or some skin bleach, lightening the skin when I’m promoting black as best,” Ali told Sports Illustrated in 1966. “They want me advertising all this stuff that’d make me rich but hurt so many others. But by me sacrificing a little wealth I’m helping so many others. Little children can come by and meet the champ. Little kids in the alleys and slums of Florida and New York, they can come and see me where they never could walk up on Patterson and Liston. Can’t see them n—–s when they come to town! So the white man see the power in this. He see that I’m getting away with the Army backing offa me . . .They see who’s not flying the flag, not going in the Army; we get more respect.”

Ali filed for status as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, on the grounds that his religion prevented him from “participating in wars on the side of nonbelievers, and this is a Christian country, not a Muslim country. We are not, according to the Holy Qur’an, to even as much as aid in passing a cup of water to the wounded.” His conscientious objector claim bounced around the court system until April 28th, 1967, when Ali was to be inducted into the U.S. Army, in Houston. When the name “Cassius Marcellus Clay” was called out at the induction hearing, Ali refused to step forward. Ali was now facing a give-year prison sentence. He was immediately stripped of his titles and boxing licenses: Ali, 25, would not fight for another three-and-a-half years. “I can’t take part in nothing,” he’d later say, “where I’d help the shooting of dark Asiatic people, who haven’t lynched me, deprived me of my freedom, justice and equality, or assassinated my leaders.”

Exile – And Return

In June of 1967, Ali was convicted of draft evasion and given a five-year sentence. Though the appeals process kept him out of jail, no one let him back in the ring. “I canvassed 27 states tying to get him a license to fight,” Howard Conrad, one of Ali’s promoters, told TIME years later. “I even tried to set up a fight in a bullring across the border from San Diego, and they wouldn’t let him leave the country. Overnight he became a n—-r again. He threw his life away on one toss of the dice for something he believed in. Not many folks do that.”

While Ali was in exile, the man who struggled with reading, who finished ranked near the bottom of his high school class, made $ 2,500 a pop lecturing on college campuses (he also tried his hand at a Broadway musical, and received surprisingly positive reviews). “We’ve been brainwashed,” Ali said in one speech. “Everything good is supposed to be white. We look at Jesus, and we see a white with blond hair and blue eyes. Now, I’m sure there’s a heaven in the sky and colored folks die and go to heaven. Where are the colored angels? They must be in the kitchen preparing milk and honey. We look at Miss America, we see white. We look at Miss World, we see white. We look at Miss Universe, we see white. Even Tarzan, the king of the jungle in black Africa, he’s white. White Owl Cigars. White Swan soap. White Cloud tissue paper, White Rain hair rinse, White Tornado floor wax. All the good cowboys ride the white horses and wear white hats. Angel food cake is the white cake, but the devils food cake is chocolate. When are we going to wake up as a people and end the lie that white is better than black?”

As the 1960s drew to a close, Americans turned against the Vietnam War, elevating Ali’s popularity. And during an era when the government was giving false scores when it came to Vietnam, people knew that Ali was spouting truths, as he saw them. You might not agree with him, but you respected him. “I think Muhammad’s actions contributed enormously to the debate about whether the United States should be in Vietnam and galvanized some of his admirers to join the protests against the war for the first time,” the late Sen. Edward Kennedy told Hauser. “I respect the fact that he never backed down from his beliefs, that he took the consequences of refusing induction, and endured the loss of his title until after his conviction was reversed.” Ali told The Mirror newspaper of Great Britain, during a 2001 interview: “My refusal to go to Vietnam did not just help the black people, it helped more white people. More whites rebelled against Nam. It made me a hero to many white people as well as black people because I had the nerve to challenge the system, and all the people who hate injustice backed me for that.”

With Ali’s stature as a political and social force growing, the time was ripe to reassert his greatness in the ring. Since Georgia had no state boxing bureaucracy, Ali was able to secure his first fight in Atlanta, the deep South, against Jerry Quarry, a white man, on October 26, 1970. In the build up to the fight, Ali himself shied away from the anti-white rhetoric he sometimes employed at the height of his Nation of Islam allegiance. But he knew the fight had social consequences.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was hanging around Ali’s camp in suburban Atlanta the day of the fight, laid them out for author George Plimpton, who was on assignment for Sports Illustrated: “If Cassius loses tonight, [vice president Spiro] Agnew could hold a news conference tomorrow,” Jackson said. “Symbolically, it would suggest that the forces of blind patriotism are right, that dissent is wrong, that protest means you don’t love the country . . . They tried to railroad him. They refused to believe his testimony about his convictions and his religion. They wouldn’t let him practice his profession. They tried to break his spirit and his body. Martin Luther King has a song:‘Truth crushed to the earth will rise again.’ That’s the black ethos. With Cassius Clay all we had was the hope, the psychological longing for his return. And it happened! In Georgia, of all places, and against a white man . . .So there are tremendous social implications. It doesn’t mean Quarry is a villain. But the focus has to be on Clay. He’s a hero, and he carries the same mantle that Joe Louis did against Max Schmeling, or Jesse Owens when he ran in Hitler’s Berlin. Injustice! In Atlanta, I have never sensed such electricity, such expectation in the streets. For the downtrodden, they need the high example – that their representatives, the symbol of their own difficulties, will win. Is that illogical?”

Quarry was gone in the third round. Ali’s fight style changed when he returned to the ring. His hands got soft, so he had to numb them before he got in the ring. Ali developed some fat, but his muscles were broader as well. With the time off, his legs weakened a bit. So he was no longer quick enough to dodge most punches thrown at him. “When he lost his legs, he lost his first line of defense,” Ferdie Pacheco, Ali’s long-time fight doctor, said in Muhammad Ali: His Life And Times. “That was when he discovered something which was both very good and very bad. Very bad in that it led to the physical damage he suffered later in his career; very good in that is eventually got him back the championship. He discovered he could take a punch.”

While Ali was suspended, a young heavyweight from Philadelphia, like Ali a former Olympic champion, claimed Ali’s crown: Joe Frazier. Ali wanted a title bout with Smokin’ Joe. A federal court ruled that New York’s denial of a ring license to Ali was “arbitrary and unreasonable,” since Ali’s lawyers gave the court a list of ninety convicted murderers, rapists, sodomites, armed thieves, and other miscreants who had been allowed to fight in the state. So six weeks after the Quarry fight, Ali returned to New York City in December, and survived a punishing fight against Oscar Bonavena, whom he finally beat in the 15th round. The stage was now set: Ali-Frazier, March 8, 1971, New York City, Madison Square Garden, Broadway. Ali was about to embark on the second act of a fight career that, given its captivating effect on the world — from the Americas, to Africa to the furthest reaches of Asia — would somehow exceed the first.


Sports – TIME


Dynamo stuns with card tricks backstage at Haye v Bellew boxing match as he battles Chron’s disease and arthritis

MAGIC man Dynamo performed some stunning card tricks backstage at the Haye v Bellew boxing match.

The incredible illusionist recently admitted he had been struggling to work as he battles Chron’s disease and arthritis.

Dynamo performs card tricks for Chris Eubank Jnr and pals backstage at the Haye v Bellew fight on Saturday
Getty Images – Getty

But he proved he still has the magic touch on Saturday night as he showed off his mind-bending skills to Chris Eubank Jnr at the O2 Arena in London after the glamour bout.

He was also pictured posing with Spider-Man and Avengers Infinity War star, Tom Holland.

Pictures showed him flinging cards into the air and performing a tricky shuffle manoeuvre.

Last week he was spotted out walking with his wife for the first time since opening up on his health issues.

Dynamo – real name Steven Frayne – was pictured with a severely swollen face after having treatment for condition which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease.

The illusionist looked lively despite his recent battles with Chron’s disease and arthritis
Getty Images – Getty
Dynamo posing at the O2 Arena with Spider-Man star Tom Holland
Getty Images – Getty

The magician proved he has still got the magic touch as he wowed fans with tricks
Getty Images – Getty

He later told his fans he’d been rushed to hospital last summer after contracting food poisoning and admitted he was still struggling now.

Despite being in crippling pain, 34-year-old Dynamo looked content as he was spotted running errands with wife Kelly.

Since going to hospital last summer, Dynamo has also developed arthritis due to complications with the condition.

The debilitating pain left him unable to shuffle cards when the arthritis took hold of his body – affecting all his joints in body including his toes, knees, neck, ankle and even his hands.

He even feared he might not be able to perform his sensational illusions again.

He told his fans: “That really sucks as a magician when you can’t shuffle a pack of cards because you’re in so much pain.

“I’m working with doctors to do everything in my power to get 100 per cent.”

The magician had to have half his stomach removed at 17 years old when he was diagnosed with the incurable condition.

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Andre Ward, Olympic Medalist and Boxing Champion, Announces Retirement

An athlete walking away from competition while at the top of their game is a rare occurrence. Undefeated boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward, however, has made the decision to do just that.

After a long and illustrious boxing career, Ward (33-0), the WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Light Heavyweight champion, today announced that he's put on his gloves and entered the ring

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Anticipated Alvarez Vs. Golovkin Boxing Match Ends in Stunning Draw

The sport of boxing is having one of its biggest and best years in recent memory. However, the result of Saturday's anticipated showdown between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Gennady "GGG" Golovkin proved the sport still has all kinds of problems.

Touted as one of the most meaningful boxing matches of the past several years, "Canelo" vs. "GGG" ended in a controversial split draw. The

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5 Best Boxing Games

Five-division professional boxing world champion Floyd Mayweather and MMA Lightweight Champion fighter Conor McGregor face off this weekend in what some are touting as the “fight of the century.” Personally, we’d prefer being inside the virtual ring.

Whether you’re mesmerized by the hype and spectacle surrounding the unlikely match-up or don’t care much for the sport, these five boxing games will definitely keep you entertained.

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

mike tyson's punch out

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! is the boxing game of the ’80s. If you had an NES, you’ll remember this classic. Since 8-bit Nintendo had no hope of handling a realistic boxing game, Punch-Out!! is ridiculous and fun. Mario is your ref and your opponents are eight times your size. You play as Little Mac, a tiny boxer beating his way through ethnic stereotypes until he becomes the champion of the world. Little Mac is fast, but he’s still small. My only advice: don’t get hit.

Or maybe don’t listen to me. I can barely beat Glass Joe.

Eventually, you move up to facing Mike Tyson himself. I’d rather fight Mike Tyson in real life than try to beat him in this game. (Well, maybe I’m exaggerating slightly.) The NES didn’t mess around when it came to brutal difficulty. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! is one of the toughest of the lot.

[Eric Fuchs, FANDOM Contributor]

Fight Night Round 4

Fight Night Round 4

It’s probably embarrassing how much time I sunk into Fight Night Round 4 on my PS3. No other game ever came close to replicating the world of professional boxing. You could play as a variety of historic boxers, but the character creation tool was equally worth sinking your time into. It was a standard late night game for my friend and me, and we did our best to give our custom boxers worthy careers. And knocking out your opponent feels so damn satisfying. If you want a game that puts you in a real ring with real boxers, this is your only worthwhile option.

[Drew Dietsch, Entertainment Editor]



Released on Nintendo’s most notoriously hated system, Teleroboxer is a standout game for the console and a fantastic first-person boxing experience. The setup is basically Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots meets Hugh Jackman’s Real Steel, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game by any means. You’ve got the charm of Punch-Out!! mixed with a heavy dose of sci-fi tech that makes for a very entertaining time if you can get past the console’s shortfalls.

Teleroboxer starts you off as a young virtual boxer trying to rise through the ranks. You’re a scrappy kid with a scrappy robot. Each of your enemies is tougher than the last, and all of them come from different parts of the world. Even their robots are unique in the way that no two look or fight the same. This is a game that begs for a VR remake to fully enjoy the style Nintendo was going for back in the ’90s. It’s a forgotten classic that was way better than the platform it was presented on.

[Andrew Hawkins, FANDOM Contributor]


punch out wii

Punch-Out!! on the Wii did something incredible: it managed to be the greatest game in its respective franchise. That’s saying something since nearly all of the Punch-Out!! games are stellar. The roster of enemies was iconic and plentiful, the style and animation was appropriately cartoonish and lively, and the simple control scheme — use the Wiimote like an NES controller instead of playing with motion controls — felt like coming home to a classic game. It’s the perfect kind of game: easy to pick up and understand the rules, but challenging to master and triumphantly exhilarating when you do. When people talk about the Wii, they really need to mention Punch-Out!! more often. It’s easily one of the best games in the system’s entire library.

[Drew Dietsch, Entertainment Editor]

Rumble Roses


While there are plenty of fighting games featuring women, there weren’t really any boxing games featuring women. That was until 2004, when Konami released Rumble Roses on the PlayStation 2. The title was a bit exploitive, much like Konami’s Dead or Alive games, but the silly characters and lighthearted tone worked. The gameplay left a little to be desired, but thankfully most of the control issues were fixed with the game’s sequel, Rumble Roses XX on the Xbox 360.

Rumble Roses XX also introduced a customizable character option, meaning ladies around the world could now create their own digital alter-ego in the ring. Mine was Cherry Darling, and she had a mean right hook.

[Danielle Ryan, FANDOM Contributor]

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Why Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather is an Undisputed Champ in Boxing and Business

If you wonder why six-time boxing champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather came out of retirement to face off with Conor McGregor, a UFC star who’s never stepped into a professional boxing ring, part of that answer is simple and, somewhat, obvious: it’s about the money.

“If I could put myself in a position to make nine figures, why not?” Mayweather told Stephen A. Smith earlier this month in an exclusive interview.


Floyd Mayweather (Image: Floyd Mayweather via Instagram/floydmayweather)


Although the world-renowned boxer named other reasons behind his decision to step in the ring with an opponent many deem unworthy, the candor in this statement is indicative of his business acumen and the drive that has made him one the highest paid athletes of all time.

Throughout his career, Mayweather has earned millions per fight and amassed a staggering net worth of $ 340 million. Still, that has not deterred him from taking advantage of an opportunity to earn more money, even if his unbeatable record is on the line. With this fight, he is projected to raise his career earnings to top $ 1 billion, which would place him in an elite class of athletes (like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan) who’ve reached this astounding benchmark.


Mayweather (Image: Instagram/FloydMayweather)


How Much Will Mayweather Earn From Fighting McGregor?


According to reports, Mayweather is slated to earn $ 400 million from his fight with McGregor whether he wins or miraculously loses. His projected earnings can be broken down by pay-per-views buys, tickets sales, and sponsorship.

Pay-per-view Sales

In addition to his wealth and undisputed boxing record—49-0, with 26 knockouts—Mayweather is known as one of the biggest pay-per-view attractions in sports history. This Saturday, viewers will pay $ 99 to watch the “PPV King” rumble with McGregor in HD and $ 89 for SD. In total, the fight is expected to generate about $ 400 million in PPV orders, just like his 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao, which produced a record-breaking $ 4.6 million PPV buys. Also, the fight is likely to generate a killing overseas since it has a MMA crossover appeal and McGregor has a huge international following.


Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao Image: file


Ticket Sales

Even though tickets sales to watch the Mayweather-McGregor fight inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas have not been as robust as expected, sales are still estimated to reach at least $ 50 million, which is pretty impressive.


According to The Telegraph, Mayweather will walk away with $ 25 million in just sponsorship deals alone from this one fight.

“The extraordinary earning power of Mayweather’s brand has seen his sponsorship partners One Entertainment request up to $ 15.5 million for six sections on the boxer’s shorts, with requests for $ 3.5 million for his waistband, and $ 1.5 million for a 4 x 2 inch patch on the front thigh of his shorts. They are asking for $ 1 million for his robe and even a million for his ‘victor’s cap’.

“The ring cushion behind Mayweather’s head during the fight, in one of the corners, has been bought out by a betting agent for $ 3.1 million. Mayweather Promotions are also asking for additional compensation for mass production of any caps or boots.”


How much will each fighter earn?

Although Mayweather and McGregor signed confidentiality agreements, it is estimated that Mayweather will take a majority stake in from revenues that will be split either 70/30  or 75/25. As a result, Mayweather will earn approximately $ 220 to $ 240 million, while McGregor will gain about $ 70 million.



A History of Mayweather Fights


Early in his career, the self-proclaimed TBE (“The Best Ever”) boxer earned $ 2 million from his first 15 fights preceding 2005. In June 2005, Mayweather earned $ 3.2 million for his match off with Arturo Gatti. By 2015, he made more than 100 times that amount for one fight. Here’s a breakdown of his earnings per fight since then:

  • 2015: Andre Berto –– $ 35 million
  • 2015: Manny Pacquiao – $ 250 million
  • 2014: Marcos Maidana – $ 32 million
  • 2014: Marcos Maidana – $ 40 million
  • 2013: Saul Alvarez – $ 75 million
  • 2013: Robert Guerrero – $ 50 million
  • 2012: Miguel Cotto – $ 40 million
  • 2011: Victor Ortiz – $ 40 million
  • 2010: Sugar Shane Mosley – $ 30 million
  • 2009: Juan Manuel Márquez – $ 25 million
  • 2007: Oscar De La Hoya – $ 25 million
  • 2007: Ricky Hatton – $ 25 million
  • 2006: Carlos Baldomir – $ 8 million


mayweather (Floyd Mayweather flashes wads of cash Image: Instagram/floydmayweather)


The Business Man


The undisputed boxing champ used his business skills outside the ring to earn roughly $ 25 million by selling merchandise and from a few endorsement deals. In 2007, he broke ties with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, realizing that he would earn more revenue by promoting his own fights. So he launched his own boxing promotion firm called Mayweather Promotions and thereafter cashed checks ranging between $ 25 million to $ 40 million over the next six years. Meanwhile, his record-breaking fight against Canelo Alvarez generated more than $ 70 million. 2007 is also the year that he dropped his moniker of “Pretty Boy” and adopted the nickname “Money.”

Today, Mayweather is recognized as one of the richest athletes on the planet, who has topped the Sports Illustrated lists of the 50 highest-paid athletes in 2012 and 2013, and the Forbes list in 2014 and 2015.




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Boxing, UFC Champion Holly Holm Breaks Down Mayweather vs. McGregor

Only a handful of athletes in the world have experienced the highest level of competition in both boxing and MMA. Former UFC Women's Bantamweight champion Holly Holm is one of them.

Holm (11-3 MMA, 33-2-3 boxing) was a longtime standout in the boxing ring, winning multiple world titles and losing just twice in her 38-fight fight career. She then moved over the MMA and reached great

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Floyd Mayweather Sr. Says Justin Bieber ‘Don’t Even Know Boxing’

Floyd Mayweather and Justin Bieber have a long and fruitful friendship. They've spent time in Vegas together. They've done 

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Zooboo Boxing Hanging Hollow Sand Bags Red and Black

Zooboo Boxing Hanging Hollow Sand Bags Red and Black

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