Don King, on Mike Tyson

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter?
He went to prison, not to Princeton."

"To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music
and the dancers hit each other."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Carl Froch vs George Groves 2 @ Wembley Stadium 31st May 2014

Published on Jun 2, 2014

The follow up fight to the controversial first fight in which many thought the referee stopped to fight too soon robbing Groves of a possible win having impressed with his performance and dropping Froch in the first round!



Embedded image permalink

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Miguel Cotto stops Sergio Martinez with ninth-round TKO

Cotto defeats Martinez
                Photo: Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports

Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) won the WBC middleweight title Saturday night when Sergio Martinez retired on his stool after the ninth round at Madison Square Garden.

Cotto , a former champion in three weight divisions, dominated Martinez from the start and won a title in his fourth weight class, making him the  first Puerto Rican to accomplish the feat.

Sergio Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs) had trouble with his knee and was knocked down three times in the first round and four altogether.


Miguel Cotto stops Sergio Martinez with ninth-round TKO:

'via Blog this'

Friday, June 6, 2014

Carl Froch v George Groves: in pictures

Knockout blow: In the eighth round, as Groves seemed to be getting a foothold in the fight, Froch lands a devastating right hookPicture: ACTION IMAGES

Monday, June 2, 2014

Healthy Diet Choices are foundational to Fitness


My favorite source for nutrition and diet information is Dr. Dean Ornish.

Spectrum of Choices

 Foods are neither good nor bad, but some are more healthful for you than others. You have a spectrum of choices.

Based on the latest science, while recognizing the limitations of research, I have categorized foods into a spectrum ranging from the most healthful (Group 1) to the least healthful (Group 5).

I started to say “most indulgent” to describe Group 5, but that’s part of the problem. Whether or not a food is healthful is not the primary determinant of how good it tastes. How fresh are the ingredients? Where was it grown? Local? Organic? How processed is it? How skillfully was it prepared?

You can make Group 1 and Group 2 foods that are good for you and also taste great and feel indulgent. Conversely, you can make Group 5 foods unappealing if they’re not well-prepared.

What matters most is your overall way of eating. I am not saying that you should never consume foods from Group 5 (unless you have a serious health condition). If you indulge yourself one day by eating foods from Group 4 or 5, spend a little more time in Groups 1 and 2 the next day. Dean Ornish book and Website

These changes will make you live longer, Tweets Dean Ornish

Dr. Dean Ornish, founder and president of Preventive Medicine Research Institute and a clinical professor of medicine and the University of California in San Francisco, designed a program to reverse heart disease. Rather than pills or surgery, he supports using lifestyle and diet modifications to undo damage related to cardiovascular health.

In a 45-minute chat hosted by CNNHealth, he answered a series of questions about diet, lifestyle and heart health from @cnnhealth's Twitter audience, using#LastHeartAttack. Here are some of the questions he answered.

satya33: Is it important to have Omega 3 + 6 everyday? How much & which food sources would you suggest?
: Omega-3 fatty acids are remarkable– they can reduce sudden cardiac death by up to 80%, reduce risk of cancer... even raise your baby's IQ! Take 3-4 grams/day of fish oil or plankton-based omega-3's, ones that take out bad stuff.

Ornish: Asking the right questions about health care

debsmith211: Does beef really put a strain on your heart?
: Beef increases your risk of heart disease as well as colon, breast, & prostate cancers. And increases global warming.

The 'heart attack proof' diet?

ChanchalSHayr: Is there a vegetarian option for omega-3, instead of fish oil?
DeanOrnishMD: Yes, several brands of vegan omega-3's including Martek. Fish get omega'3's from eating plankton.

NWAngel: Heart disease is #1

NWAngel: Heart disease is #1 killer of women. Are the risks & or treatments different than for men?
: Even more women die from heart disease than men. Lifestyle choices to prevent & reverse heart disease are about the same.

Learn more from the American Heart Association

reidiculous1: Will flax-based omega-3 supplements do the trick?
: Flax provides DHA but not ALA, so it's good but not as beneficial as fish oil which provides both.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil supplements. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in plants.

kenleebow: What are your thoughts on being heart attack proof by having a total cholesterol of 150 or less?
DeanOrnishMD: It's a good start but not enough to be heart attack proof. Also need moderate exercise, meditation, and love/support.

What causes a heart attack?

spinningvitamin: What do you think about soy protein supplement powder?
: Soy is good in diet but you can get too much using the soy supplement powders, so I don't recommend them.

RPG80 asked: Eating like a vegan takes planning. Where can i get good tasting recipes to eat like this every day?
: “Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish" has hundreds of easy-and-quick-to-make delicious vegan & vegetarian recipes.

DrFinke: Are there risks of too much soy for women?
: You can get too much soy from powders/supplements but not in a normal whole foods diet. Soy reduces breast cancer risk.

RecoveringFoody: Dr. O's view on olive oil contradicts what we hear. Is olive oil really terrible for you?
: The Lyon study showed that a Mediterranean diet high in canola oil (not olive oil) & low in meat reduced heart attacks.
What your cholesterol number really says

SuzZenCrow asked: Can I keep my iron up & go vegan? I have chronic anemia, high cholesterol, ulcer.
: An ulcer will cause you to lose microscopic blood & iron, so most important is to treat that (more). You can take iron supplements if needed, but most people have no problems getting enough iron in their diet.

Viartist_23 asked: Is it true that cholesterol can cause blind spots in eye?
: Amaurosis fugax is temporary blindness in 1 caused by reduced blood flow, which too much cholesterol can promote.

goodskinla asked: Are avocados really OUT?
: Avocados are high in fat so they're high in calories; if you don't have heart disease, they're fine in moderation. If you don't have heart disease, you have a spectrum of choices– check out for more info.

DrFinke asked: Vegan assumes no fish. Is it better to supplement DHA/ALA or eat fish? Is there a difference?
” Fish oil supplements are better if they remove the bad stuff (mercury, dioxin, PCB) that are found in almost all fish.

Will you have a heart attack? These tests might tell

spinningvitamin asked: Are there some non-soy protein powders that u feel are beneficial & safe? Feel protein deficient.
: Most people aren't protein deficient; eat more high-protein foods (soy, rice & beans, etc.) Whey powder not soy.

Neal56 asked: In a vegan diet, where do you get your protein and fat? Both are necessary for rebuilding your body.
: If you eat a variety of vegetables, whole grains, and soy, you'll get enough protein on a vegan diet. And legumes (beans, etc.). If you're not ready to be a vegan, eat a few vegan or vegetarian meals each week.
DeanOrnishMD: Thank you so much– these lifestyle changes make you feel better as well as live longer, which makes them sustainable.
From omnivore to vegan: The dietary education of Bill Clinton

Follow CNNHealth on Twitter


Post by: Madison Park - Writer/Producer
Filed under: Healthy EatingHeart

Matthew Saad Muhammad on Art Fennell Reports

Uploaded on Jun 27, 2011

Art Fennell interviews former heavyweight great Matthew Saad Muhammad, spokesperson for RHD's "Knock Out Homelessness" campaign to benefit organizations working to end homelessness in Philadelphia


Matthew Saad Muhammad on Art Fennell Reports

Uploaded on Jun 27, 2011

Art Fennell interviews former heavyweight great Matthew Saad Muhammad, spokesperson for RHD's "Knock Out Homelessness" campaign to benefit organizations working to end homelessness in Philadelphia


Matthew Saad Muhammad Gives Back

Matthew Saad Muhammad is entering the ring for his next fight, as an advocate in the battle against homelessness. He's hosting "Knock Out Homelessness" on April 28 to raise awareness, and benefit local organizations working to end homelessness in Philadelphia. You can find more info on the event here. Below is the front page story that ran in One Step Away, in which Matthew talked about the latest chapter in his incredible life story:

He still moves like a fighter, massive shoulders rolled forward, almost gliding across the room like he’s stalking an opponent. Matthew Saad Muhammad strides through the RHD Ridge Center, where he’s just done his laundry, and sits in the lunch room.

Someone sees him and hollers: “Champ!” Saad Muhammad smiles. He’s among friends here.

Saad Muhammad, former light heavyweight champion of the world, member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, one of the greatest fighters of all time and a Philadelphia icon, is today a resident of RHD Ridge Center, the city’s largest homeless shelter.

The Champ is here.

“It’s embarrassing, putting myself here,’’ Saad Muhammad said. “I admitted myself here because I thought this was a reputable place where I could get my life together. I went through so much stress, so many problems. When I walked in here, I was in outer space.

“The day I walked through those doors, I thought: Do I really want to do this to myself? But they were willing to work with me. They said: Matthew, we’ll do whatever you need. I was shocked! Were they kidding? They didn’t ask me for anything, they didn’t want anything from me. They said they’d work with me, and it was going to be OK. They allowed me the days I needed.”

The July issue of One Step Away, Philadelphia's first street newspaper and the only street paper in the country produced by the homeless, featured a front-page story on Saad Muhammad's latest comeback written by homeless writer Jose Espinosa.

That Matthew Saad Muhammad, a man who’s received the keys to this city from four different mayors, would turn up in a Philadelphia homeless shelter seems a shocking and depressing story. But Saad Muhammad is not depressed. He is a man determined to start his life anew, and to do it right this time.

He is a man searching for the bottom, resigning himself to it, because only from there can he truly rise again.

“When you’ve got nothing, that’s when you can really start over,’’ Saad Muhammad said. “I will start from the ground up again. I know I will be successful again. I thank God for this chance, actually. I’m not mad. I’m delighted. Even if it kills me, I’m willing to make a change in my life.

“I’m not going to say I was a drug user. I’m better than that. But I did things that were not productive, that held me back. When I say to people, I’m trying to change, I mean I’ll start over again from the bottom. I’m willing to do that. I’m ready for a change.”

When Saad Muhammad first walked into the RHD Ridge Center, several homeless men in Philadelphia’s largest shelter recognized him. They all had the same question: What are you doing here? He gave them all the same answer: He was homeless. Where else was he supposed to go?

He needed a place to regroup and get his head together and get his life straightened out. Saad Muhammad asked the men and the staff there not to tell his secret; no newspapers, no publicity. He needed quiet time, reflection and solitude. He needed help. He got it – and the homeless men alongside him in the breakfast line told no one they were sleeping next to the Champ.

“He gave the guys there with no hope some hope,’’ said Catherine Canady, a support counselor at Ridge. “If they felt that because they took a fall, they can’t get back up, he’s showed them that you can always get back up and keep going. He’s given them some inspiration, a sense of worth, of dignity. His presence there has given them hope.”

Philadelphia Daily News & Inquirer follow OSA's story on Matthew

Saad Muhammad breaks his silence now because he’s ready, because he’s on the road back. And he believes there is value to this story. He can be an inspiration to people, in a different way than when he held the championship belt, but an inspiration just the same. And that’s something.

“I can’t use my hands like I used to,’’ Saad Muhammad said. “But I can use my mind. I might not be that fast guy I was before. But I’m able to think. I’m blessed by God to still have my wits, to be able to think for myself at last.

“The boxing champion who fell will rise again. It’s not too late, you know? People can better themselves. You have to have heart, and be strong with it. I liked being an inspiration to kids, that kids could look at me and say: This guy had a hard time coming up. Maybe I can be like him.”

And now? Saad Muhammad thinks for a moment and finds the message he wants:

“Be better.”

Miracle Matthew
The story of Matthew Saad Muhammad is one of the most classic and compelling in all of sports history. Born Maxwell Antonio Loach, his mother died when he was infant. An aunt took him in, but soon found that she couldn’t handle the addition to her family. So she abandoned him, leaving the five-year-old boy on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

“17th and the Parkway,’’ Saad Muhammad said. “The nuns found me, and took me in.”

In Catholic Social Services, the nuns who raised him gave him the name Matthew Franklin – Matthew, from the Bible, and Franklin, from the Parkway where they found him.

He bounced around to several schools, experimented with substance abuse and got into trouble. After a few scrapes, he went to the Jupiter Gym in South Philly to learn to fight. There he found his calling.

He rose through the ranks with a crowd-pleasing, fast-action style, a big puncher who liked to fight and feasted on punishment. In 1977, in just his 21-st pro fight, he knocked out Marvin Johnson in the 12-th round in a brutal fight to win the light heavyweight title. He defended that title three times before meeting Johnson again for the WBC title in 1979 in another classic. Bleeding heavily from cuts above both eyes, he knocked out Johnson in the eighth round.

Shortly after winning the title, he converted to Islam and took the name Matthew Saad Muhammad.

See a video tribute to Matthew Saad Muhammad's great career

After eight successful title defenses, many of them the savage and bloodyfights for which he was famous, Saad Muhammad lost the crown to Dwight Braxton (later Dwight Muhammad Qawi) in a 10-th round knockout. In the rematch, Saad Muhammad fell in the sixth.

His troubles had begun.

“I had so many people whispering in my ear: Yo, Champ, do this. Yo, Champ, do that. They’d give me that ‘Champ’ bull,’’ Saad Muhammad said. “That’s why I fell on my behind. I didn’t train right. I had the wrong people around me, who abused me and used me. I had made so much money, I wasn’t worried about anything.

“I tried to win every fight. But I was overmatched. I didn’t train right. I just didn’t do well, I didn’t do it right. That’s what happened.

“Braxton didn’t fight the real Matthew Saad Muhammad. He beat a shell of me. When I fought Braxton, I had sex that night. I knew better than that! But I had problems, I had so many things on my mind. I was confused. I wasn’t right. I didn’t have enough common sense, so I let it go. I let things ride. And I knew it – when I got in the ring that night, all I could think was: Please, God, make sure I’m safe.”

Still he kept fighting. Saad Muhammad fought all over the globe, and fought until he was nearly 40. He was, indeed, a shell of himself at the end – in his final nine fights, Saad Muhammad was 1-7-1. But he fought.

“Oh, I loved boxing,’’ Saad Muhammad said. “I just loved it. I loved the competition. I loved getting into the ring. It was an event. I loved traveling; I fought in England, in Germany, in Tokyo, in Spain, in Barbados. I’d get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to go overseas, to travel to someplace great, and fight. To get paid to go to Hawaii and fight? How great was that?”

And there was the money. He battled money problems at the end, falling prey to the fast money and the fast life that so often goes with this territory. At one point, he said, he was supporting an entourage of 39 people.

“Money was flying everywhere,’’ Saad Muhammad said. “Friends, friends of friends, their mothers, their fathers, their brothers. They were all happy to be around me, eating me alive, taking money from me, rob me, steal from me, and I’d always say: That’s all right, buddy! I was always so happy. Matthew Saad Muhammad was always up for it, with everybody.

“I gave a lot of money away. I had millions of dollars. I had savings. I had a bank account. But people I trusted run away with my money.

“I didn’t care about that stuff. All I cared about was winning the title. I let other people take care of the money; I just wanted to fight. That’s all I thought about – just let me get my shot at the title, and I don’t care what else happens.”

Saad Muhammad relies on friends for support here and there – “Most of them still owe me a lot of money,’’ he said, with a laugh – and his youngest son Michael keeps his boxing memorabilia safe. Michael has his championship belt, waiting until Saad Muhammad is ready for it once more.

“He’s a beautiful kid,’’ Saad Muhammad said. “He’s a loving person who never hurt nobody. I’m not ready to make a decision like that. I don’t want to put that on them, to make them care for their father. I’ve got to be able to do that on my own.

“He’s not going to see me like this.”

Coming back

Matthew Saad Muhammad turned 56 years old June 16, and celebrated his birthday with the homeless residents at Ridge who now count him among their number. When he shakes a well-wisher’s hand, it’s with a meaty paw and a bone-crushing grip. He is still in good shape. His face is smooth, his eyes are bright and he smiles easily. In many ways, he looks the same. But everything is different now.

“He’s a man trying to regroup his life,’’ said John Cain, who works directly with Saad Muhammad at Ridge as the shelter’s Alpha Day program coordinator. “He’s run into some problems with people and with his finances. This is a man who was on top of the world at one time, and now he’s living in a shelter.

“It’s sad, where he is at the moment. But he’s making a comeback. He is not broken, he is not in despair. He hasn’t given up.”

Cain, like many who grew up in Philadelphia, has a Matthew Saad Muhammad story. In 1979 Cain was a 10-year-old kid living in the Martin Luther King projects and he saw Saad Muhammad on the street, drawing a crowd, chatting with fans, among the people. His people.

“He had his belt on him; I’ll never forget it,’’ Cain said. “I was a poor kid, and I asked him to buy me an ice cream cone. He said: I think I can afford one ice cream cone. I told him that story. He didn’t remember it, but I’ll never forget it.

“I grew up watching the champ. It’s a little sad to me, to see him in this situation. He has a lot of pride. The way he carries himself demands respect. He doesn’t demand anything special, he doesn’t expect anything special. He expects to be treated like a man, and that’s what we do with everybody here.

“Things happen. He was the champion of the world. He’s going to get out of this, get this resolved, and get back to where he needs to be.”

So many Saad Muhammad fights are classics; his old bouts regularly turn up on TV. But he doesn’t care to watch himself very much, because, he said, “all I can think is: Oh, look at that man get hit.”

That was always the legend of Saad Muhammad, the reason he earned the nickname “Miracle Matthew” – he would take so much punishment, take the hits, find himself in trouble. And then, with a granite chin and an iron will, Saad Muhammad would come off the ropes and win. His life is, in many ways, a story about what a man can overcome.

He knows it still can be. His second chance begins here, in a homeless shelter. Where it ends is up to him, now. That’s all he asks.

“I went through enough. I had enough,’’ Saad Muhammad said. “I’m on a straight pattern now. It’s a second chance – another second chance.

“What I did was my own fault. I made my own decisions. This is my own problem. Let me work it out.

“I’ve still got a story to tell.”

This story appeared in the July issue of One Step Away, written by staff writer Jose Espinosa and One Step Away editor Kevin Roberts. Update: Matthew Saad Muhammad is out of the Ridge Shelter and into transitional housing. His comeback, though far from over, has begun. For more information, please contact One Step Away at


Matthew Saad Muhammad:

'via Blog this'

(former Matthew Franklin) Matthew Saad Muhammad's Story

Matthew Saad Muhammad
Saad Muhammad,is the former light heavyweight champion of the world, member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, one of the greatest fighters of all time and a Philadelphia icon

From Champion Boxer to Down and Out: Matthew Saad Muhammad's Story 

Once upon a time, he was the light heavyweight champion of the world. Then the bottom fell out

“BOXING IS NO GOOD for anybody,” says Matthew Saad Muhammad, landing a non sequitur flush on my chin. For the past hour, the 57-year-old former light heavyweight champion of the world has been running down his life story to me in a flurry of free-form, loosely stitched-together anecdotes, each more devoid of context and detail than the last.

It goes like this: I ask the champ a question, and in response I get a series of unrelated thoughts, one dissolving into another without resolution, a litany of rambling biographical excerpts that include punching and getting punched in memorable bouts, memories of having wads of cash in his pockets and a nearly 50-member entourage to help empty those pockets, gauzy descriptions of the dream house he once owned and the many sweet rides he cruised around town in, including a $275,000 Rolls-Royce.

It’s taken months to get this interview with Saad, one of the all-time-great Philadelphia fighters, a warrior of the ring who plied his trade in the ’70s and early ’80s, back when the city had great fighters in gyms and the boxing game still had a modicum of respect. Saad was part of the sport’s golden TV age, when purses of $300,000 or more per bout were de rigueur for top fighters. He earned around four million bucks during his 18-year career, maybe more—no one kept close count.

I’m not looking to talk to Matthew because of all the money he earned, though, or all the fame he achieved, but because of what he lost, which is everything—all of it, every last cent.

WHEN WE DO GET TOGETHER, it’s on a late-spring day at Chickie’s & Pete’s in South Philadelphia, where Saad will return in less than a month to host the Knock Out Homelessness fund-raiser. Saad is no random choice as host. In June 2010, broke and with nowhere to turn, the former champion of the world walked into a homeless shelter on Ridge Avenue in North Philadelphia because he needed a place to lay his head. He stayed four months.

A charitable few pounds over his fighting weight, Saad still looks chillingly powerful across the shoulders and chest. At the moment, he seems more interested in the large plate of Crabfries in front of him than in regaling me with stories.

You blame him? For one, he’s hungry. For another, his is a cheerless story to tell, going back to his earliest years, a story with more lowlights than highlights. He’s also just coming off homelessness, the 10-count still echoing in his ears, and he’s supposed to take time to explain all this to a guy with a pen and a pad who’s offering no money, no relief, no nothing?

Matthew Saad Muhammad is entering the ring for his next fight, as an advocate in the battle against homelessness.

But after a couple early awkward silences, I realize it’s not that Matthew doesn’t want to accommodate my questions; it’s just not easy for him. There are challenges with conversational threads and chronology. This doesn’t mean he can’t tell his story, only that it requires a great deal of patience and time for a listener to connect the many dots.
Which is what I’m doing, being patient and trying to connect dots, when Saad hits me with the “Boxing is no good” comment. It’s the starkest of the scores of non sequiturs he’s been throwing my way since we sat down. It’s also the one thing he’s said that feels indisputably real.
“No good, boxing,” he says again, locking his eyes on mine and ignoring the Crabfries in front of him. “Why would anyone let himself get hit in the head?”
FEW FIGHTERS GOT HIT in the head more than Matthew Saad Muhammad.
Frank Gelb, who managed Matthew until 1980, says it; Neil Gelb, Frank’s son, who hung with Matthew as a kid and has stayed close ever since, says it; and so does J Russell Peltz, a longtime Philly boxing promoter.
Even Matthew himself says it: “I still feel some of those punches.”
He turned pro in 1974 and was immediately reaching for the brass ring. He lost just three bouts in his first 18 fights—two to future champs Marvin Camel and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. In 1977, he knocked out veteran Marvin Johnson in the 12th round to win the North American Boxing Federation light heavyweight crown. In 1979, he fought for the world title, again against Marvin Johnson, and scored a knockout to win. He defended his world title eight times, winning them all, seven by knockout. But when the glory ended, he kept fighting, and he was frequently battered and bruised and overmatched.
“A left-right combination drove Saad Muhammad into the ropes,” reported Sports Illustrated, talking about a 1982 fight against Dwight Braxton. “[T]he unrelenting Braxton unleashed punches in great fearful volleys, hooks and straight right hands.”
In all, Saad fought 58 times for a total of 397 rounds, winning 39 times and losing 16; he won by knockout 29 times and was knocked out himself eight times.
But the numbers, as fight people like to say, don’t tell the real story.
EVERY FIGHTER NEEDS a handle to promote himself.
Matthew Saad Muhammad had a good one.
He had heart.
A really big heart.
What that means, though, once you scrub away the endearing sound of it, is that he could take endless punishment. He could be pummeled round after round, bleed all over the canvas, endure the cruelest of onslaughts, and then somehow, some way, just before the ref was about to jump in and end the slaughter, mount a rally and win.
It’s a funny thing to call heart.
But the fighter with heart showed this ability to endure over and over again in scores of bouts that were frequently described as wars.
 Longtime boxing fans often cite two fights:
In 1979, in the world-title match against Marvin Johnson for the light heavyweight championship, Matthew begins to bleed profusely from the nose and from cuts above both eyes. You watch the film, and all you want is for the ref to stop the fight. Somehow, though, Matthew comes to life and scores a miraculous knockout in the eighth round to win the title. When asked by the TV announcer immediately afterward if he wants to watch some of the action replayed along with the television audience, he quickly says no.
A year later, Saad is defending his title against Yaqui Lopez, a tough Mexican fighter. Throughout the first half, Lopez dominates him. In round eight, Lopez pins him in a corner and lands 20 consecutive blows. If you can bear to watch (it’s on YouTube), you can hear the announcer say, “[Yaqui’s] unloaded everything but the Phillies’ bat rack.” Saad comes back and knocks Lopez down four times in the 14th round before the ref finally calls it over.
“You have to understand,” says Peltz, the fight promoter, “a fight wouldn’t start for Matthew until he got hurt. And he was hurt a lot.”
MATTHEW SAAD MUHAMMAD knows hurt. He’s been throttled by life’s cruel turns and by troubles of his own making, a devastating one-two combo.
As I write this—a critical qualifier, since every day is precarious when the bottom falls out—Saad has a place to live, thanks to the patience and persistence of Kevin Roberts-, the editor ofOne Step Away, a newspaper that covers homelessness issues. Roberts befriended Matthew shortly after he landed in the shelter, and has lobbied and pulled every string he could to help him since. Saad now has his own place at Diamond and 17th.
Things are looking up, but then most anything does after homelessness. Recently, though, Matthew’s cell phone was shut off because he didn’t pay the bill.
“Rent, food, electricity—the choice of what to pay and when becomes very tricky when you’re down like this,” says Roberts, who personally had Matthew’s phone turned back on.
You may have noticed (certainly the magazine’s copy editors have by now) that I’ve been referring to the ex-champ by different names—Matthew, Saad, Saad Muhammad—largely because everybody I talk to calls him by a different name, depending on whether they met him before or after his conversion to Islam.
The name I haven’t used is the one he was born with: Maxwell Antonio Loach, the name he had until he was five. That’s when an aunt, who took custody of him and his brother following his mother’s death not long after he was born, decided she could no longer afford both kids. She solved the problem by doing the unthinkable: She told Matthew’s brother to take him by the hand and just lose him in the streets somewhere.
Maxwell Antonio Loach was found sleeping on the steps of the Cathedral Basilica- of Saints Peter and Paul—“It hits me like a punch every time I pass that way,” he says—and taken in by Catholic Social Services. The nuns there named him Matthew, after the apostle, and Franklin, after the Parkway where they found him.
He was later adopted by a Portuguese family in South Philly. He bounced from one reform school to another, finding trouble and bad grades wherever he landed. He remembers having to cross through a neighborhood every day that was ruled by a gang who beat him up and called him “the orphan,” which is what got him to the Jupiter Gym. He had to stop the beatings somehow.
WHEN YOU CAN’T CLEARLY ARTICULATE the events of your life, it’s hard for another person to unearth precisely how and where things went wrong; to find the villains; to put in chronological order events that took you from the top of the world to living alone, trying to keep the phone on.
When you ask Saad himself what went so wrong, he says three things: People robbed him, he wanted people to like him, and he gave all his money away. When you ask him whom he gave his money to, he says just about everybody. And most everybody who knows him says that’s probably true.
Boxing old-timers blame some of Matthew’s financial problems on a group from North Jersey that took over his management shortly after he won the title in 1979. The Muslim-led group got into the champ’s head, they say, wooing him with the story of Muhammad Ali’s conversion to Islam, and then began living high on his winnings. They tell of a party at Saad’s house in Jenkintown where grape juice flowed from a giant fountain and every room had been expensively done over by a different big-name designer just for the occasion.
Thirty years later, there remains uncertainty as to the group’s motives and effectiveness. When you ask Saad about the North Jersey group, he makes a face and says nothing. When you ask about his Muslim conversion, he says he’s “neutral” now when it comes to religion, and that all of that came at a time when Ali was the greatest.
No one who knows Saad now, or who knew Matthew back in the day, believes a hard drug habit has ever been his core problem. But then, no one’s counting alcohol as a hard drug, and weed is never considered a hard drug by anybody. Saad says he would never call himself a drug addict—literally accurate, maybe, but you can hear the wiggle room in his words.
Most distressing is how Saad simply disappears for stretches of time. While I was reporting this story, for example, promised meetings and tours of the old neighborhoods never quite materialized. Roberts, the One Step Away editor and the person closest to Matthew, has lost track of him for days at a time. Though Roberts says it happens less frequently now, there was a time when he wouldn’t find anyone home when he stopped by Matthew’s place. People who’ve known Saad a lot longer than Roberts say he’s been disappearing like this since his boxing days ended, and yet no one seems to have the slightest idea where he goes.
 IT’S THE NIGHT of the Knock Out Homelessness benefit at Chickie’s & Pete’s, and Matthew Saad Muhammad is doing his best to play host to the $75-a-person donors.
The turnout is large, full of old fight fans, a tribute to the champ from those who still remember his ring wars. When I see Saad, he gives me a powerful handshake and a hug.
“Welcome, my friend,” he says.
I hear him say it to others, too. He seems to mean it each time. He’s around people again. It’s been a while. He was somebody once.
As the night wears on, though, exhaustion seems to catch up with him. He’s been dealing with people from his deep past and with family members he didn’t expect to see. The glad-handing, the photos snapped with fists up, the small talk with special guests Darren Daulton and Joe Frazier—it’s all beating him down.
Most taxing of all, he’s been forced to play rounds of Wii Boxing, the hyper-realistic- video game in which you trade big punches with your opponent on a big screen. The games leave Saad sweating and fatigued.
Near the end of the evening, I spot the ex-champ wandering alone at the edges of the crowd. He’s smiling, but his head is down, and he’s staying on the move. He’s not looking anyone in the eye, ducking interactions where he can, searching for a quiet place to be, hoping, above all else, to avoid contact.

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Matthew Saad Muhammad Tribute


Nigel Benn vs Gerald McClellan | WBC World Super-Middleweight Title UK v...

Nigel Benn vs Gerald McClellan: WBC World Super-Middleweight championship fight, London, England, GB/UK, Feb 25 1995

Benn (39-2) defending his WBC world title against American #1 ranked middleweight, p4p #2 listed WBC and WBO world champion Gerald McClellan.

33 first round wins between the pair - Benn scored 32 KOs from 39 wins, McClellan 29 KOs from 31 wins, and it was billed as the two hardest punching boxers of the 90s meeting in an England vs America, Britain vs USA Super-Fight for the Ages.

WBC World Super-Middleweight Title, UK vs USA, Fight of the Century.

Alas, the circumstances were tragic; McClellan almost lost his life,
and remains severely disabled to this day. Benn was mentally affected by this brutal fight and the fate of his opponent, and subsequently lost three bouts and retired, becoming a born-again Christian.
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Froch lands right punch on Groves


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