EL ORGULLO DE CASSIUS CLAY. ¿ANÉCDOTAS DE UN SOBERBIO?

Muhammad Alí, sin duda, será recordado por su influencia tanto dentro como fuera del ring y el apasionamiento con el que defendía sus ideas.
El boxeador, famoso por sus ganchos y su ingenio, parecía capaz de adaptar sus habilidades a cualquier situación: tan fácil se metía en problemas, como salía de ellos.

Más allá de todos los asuntos SERIOS en los que se involucró, religiosos y políticos, que en mayor o menor medida son conocidos, y más allá también de sus bravuconadas o de su sistema infalible “bailar como una mariposa y picar como una abeja…”, en el 60 aniversario de su primer acto de rabia, no me resisto a contar cuatro anécdotas – quizá- poco conocidas de su vida. Vamos allá:

1. En 1960, hace por tanto 60 años, el joven boxeador, que todavía utilizaba su nombre original de Cassius Marcellus Clay, viajó con tan sólo 18 años a Roma y ganó la medalla de oro en los Juegos Olímpicos.

Unos cuantos periodistas le siguieron hasta su ciudad de nacimiento, Louisville en Kentucky, donde le llamaban públicamente “el negro olímpico” y se negaban a atenderle en muchos restaurantes del centro. Harto de estos rechazos, rebelándose contra la injusticia a que le sometían, arrojó la medalla de oro al río Ohio.

Sin embargo, cuando ya había cambiado su nombre por Muhammad Alí, y quería ser más conciliador, contó varias versiones diferentes de la historia. Según Thomas Hayser —autor de “La vida de Muhammad Ali”—, el campeón de boxeo, simplemente perdió la medalla. Finalmente, consiguió una medalla de repuesto —además del apoyo de su comunidad— AUNQUE MUY TARDE, en 1996.

2. Unos documentos desclasificados que salieron a la luz en 2013 demostraban que la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad de Estados Unidos tenía pinchado el teléfono a Muhammad Ali y a Martin Luther King Junior por su postura crítica con respecto a la guerra de Vietnam.
La investigación sobre esos documentos, sugiere que Ali fue vigilado cuando intentaba evitar que lo reclutaran. Entre 1966 y 1967, este peso pesado apeló a su estatus de reclutamiento diciendo: “No tengo nada contra los del Vietcong” y “Yo solo puedo luchar en las guerras declaradas por el propio Alá”.

Se le sentenció a cinco años de cárcel, aunque el Tribunal Supremo declaró a Ali objetor de conciencia en 1971.

3. En 1969, cuando tenía prohibido boxear por negarse a ir a Vietnam, ahogado por las deudas, consiguió dinero acudiendo a universidades para hablar de la guerra y, como publicó la revista Playbill, actuando en el musical de Broadway Buck White.
En el reparto de créditos aparecía con el nombre que le pusieron al nacer, Cassius Clay, y su biografía dentro de la revista de teatro Playbill reza: “Ahora recurre a su condena a cinco años de cárcel y a la multa de 10.000 dólares que se le ha impuesto por negarse a alistarse en el ejército por motivos religiosos. El papel que ha aceptado se parece mucho a la vida que lleva fuera del escenario”.
Ali cantaba casi todas las canciones del musical en el que interpretaba a un orador negro que dirigía un mitin organizado por un grupo político negro.
Nunca volvió a los escenarios, después de que se anulara su condena.

4. Logró que se liberara a 15 estadounidenses que estaban prisioneros en Irak
En noviembre de 1990, Muhammad Ali conoció al dictador iraquí Saddam Hussein en Bagdad en una “visita de buena voluntad” que hizo para intentar negociar la liberación de 15 estadounidenses que estaban prisioneros en Irak y en Kuwait.

Alí recibió muchas críticas, entre otras, de George H. W. Bush (presidente de Estados Unidos por aquel entonces) y del New York Times, que expresaron su preocupación por que, por su poca preparación y diplomacia, estuviera avivando las llamas de la propaganda o del conflicto.

Con bastante mala baba, haciéndo énfasis sobre la enfermedad de Parkinson que sufría el boxeador el periódico neoyorquino, publicó:
“Sin duda, la campaña más extraña de liberación de rehenes de los últimos tiempos ha sido la de Muhammad Ali, el ex campeón de los pesos pesados… a pesar de su incapacidad para hablar con claridad ha enlazado una reunión con otra en Bagdad”.

Pese a todo, funcionó. Aunque se quedó sin medicación y tuvo que esperar más de una semana para poder hablar con Hussein.
Así informaba de ello el New York Post:
“La reunión de Muhammad y Saddam que se celebró el 29 de noviembre de 1990 estuvo abierta a los medios de comunicación.

Alí esperó pacientemente mientras Saddam se alababa a sí mismo por haber tratado tan bien a los rehenes. Cuando vio la oportunidad, AlÍ le prometió a Saddam que llevaría a Estados Unidos una “visión veraz” de Irak”.

“No voy a dejar que Muhammad Alí vuelva a Estados Unidos”, respondió Saddam, “sin que le acompañen varios ciudadanos estadounidenses”.
Así consiguió llevarse a los 15.

Desde luego, fue un hombre peculiar. Ahora bien ¿Héroe o villano?

104 pensamientos sobre “EL ORGULLO DE CASSIUS CLAY. ¿ANÉCDOTAS DE UN SOBERBIO?”

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