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Ringside with Crew, 1974

What struck me was how happy Ali looked as he let his crew tape his hands for an exhibition match.

 

 

 

 

Punching Bag, 1974

We can only speculate as to what Stokely Carmichael may have been thinking and feeling as he watched Muhammad Ali work out on the punching bag. The civil rights and Black Power activist was as notorious for his passionate, fiery public speaking as Ali.

 

 

 

 

Dawn Run, 1974

Ali's manager roused me from my motel at 4:30 in the morning shouting through the door, "Grab your pants and your camera, the champ is running." Soon we were driving very slowly on a rural blacktop past trees and cornfields, a letterbox on a wooden post. Nobody was around. Up ahead Muhammad Ali was running, dressed in gray sweatpants and sweatshirt. I scrambled out of the car and started shooting Ali from behind as he jogged, his breath visible in the early morning cold. This is the first shot I took – Ali running towards the rising sun.

Welcoming the Champ, 1974

Ali enters the high school gym where he is giving an exhibition bout. What I love about this picture is everybody's excitement and pleasure; the smiling, clapping, taking photographs. It's Muhammad Ali! And even as he is the focus of the entire group's attention he reaches out to make contact with it.

 

 

 

 

Sitting on Logs, 1974

This is a rare picture of Ali alone with his private thoughts. He's still in sweats and heavy boots.

 

 

 

 

Reflection, 1974

The mirror in Ali's gym was like a live photograph in a collage of magazine covers, spreads, and posters. It allowed him to observe himself exercising and simultaneously appreciate his handsome self.

Jump Rope, 1974

 Ali was always the center of attention and of the visual space. The audience here is a mix of his personal crew, entertainers, journalists, and local residents.

 
 
 
 

Laughing in the Car, 1974

Ali and his crew were always laughing and joking. At Deer Lake ferocious physical training was mixed with pleasures and distractions. The telephone was close at hand in case Ali felt the need to make a call while ensconced in the lap of luxury.

At Camp Entrance, 1974

This is the one photograph I asked Ali to pose for. We were coming back from his morning run and had just gotten out of the car when I asked if he would mind if I got a picture here at the camp entrance. What astounded me was the way he posed himself. I rather expected the basic crouch with fists up but he was tired and just stood passively. There is no other photograph I know of that shows this aspect of Muhammad Ali.

Dancing Next to Field, 1974

 

Ali famously said, "The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights." Here Ali is out there on the road, dancing after his morning run.

 

 

 

 

Ali in Rocker, 1974

Ali received visitors in this log cabin. The wooden floor, old-fashioned lamp and country jug established a relaxed, old time feeling that Ali enjoyed. A world-class people person, Ali was nourished by his contact with neighborhood folks, as well as international celebrities of all sorts. Soon to face a brutal opponent, Ali didn't seem to have a care in the world.

 

 

 

 

Close Up, 1974

Ali's face shows concentration and focus during an exhibition match. His countenance has been rendered in many outstanding photographs, but I was only interested in showing him up close when it revealed an element of his preparation for the championship fight.

 
 
 
 

Ali Resting, 1974

Back at camp after his morning run and still no breakfast. The man is resting! Ali got me right off the bat. He understood that I was not interested in his posing or mugging for the camera, but I was truly interested in what he did to train for the fast-approaching World Championship title fight in Zaire, Africa. He did his thing, and I did mine. He called his Deer Lake, Pennsylvania camp Fighter's Heaven, "The best camp a fighter ever had." The logs were the materials he had specified for all the camp's buildings.

Ali Water Bottle, 1974

For a boxer, the water bottle can be a welcome treat or terrifying threat. During some of his crucial fights Ali assigned a trusted member of his team to make certain no one had the opportunity to drug his water, as such things were not unknown in professional boxing. His concern was such that even when it had not been out of his guard's sight Ali would frequently empty and refill the bottle himself.

Side Reflection, 1974

Sizing himself up in the gym mirror Ali has an audience of on-lookers, in this case photographs of himself. Such observation allowed Ali to analyze his stance and form.

Victory Salute, 1974

 

Would Ali have raised his arms in this victory salute if no one had been there to witness it? I feel certain he gave himself such triumphal salutes when there was nobody to see or record them. His efforts to act and be a winner were essential to prepare himself for the contest ahead.