Jim Brown was larger than life on the gridiron and he became a heartthrob on the big screen, but one place he never got to show off was on the G.O.A.T.’s turf…the boxing ring. He would be the only one showing off there.
A funny story was told by one of boxing’s leading promoters, Bob Arum. In his 46-year affiliation with the sport, he had one story that topped them all…the day Muhammad Ali found out that Jim Brown wanted to step in the ring with him.
As the story goes, Jim Brown had been a force to be reckoned with for the Cleveland Browns, he had become arguably the best Lacrosse player to ever grace the field, and he was a sex symbol as an actor. And with his tough guy persona, it just made sense that he should give Muhammad Ali a run for his money in the boxing ring. What? Brown was really (as my grandmother would say) smellin’ himself at this point.
Now Arum had been introduced to Ali by Jim Brown, so he figured there was maybe some credence to the venture and he should take it seriously and run it by Ali. Of course, in Ali-fashion, he said “Bring him here!” You know what happened after that, right? Here it goes:
“So I went to talk to Ali,” Arum recalls. “He says, ‘Jim wants to do what? Bring him here.’ So I took him to Hyde Park in London, where Ali used to run. Ali said, ‘Jimmy, here’s what we’re going to do: You hit me as hard as you can.’ So Brown starts swinging and swinging, and he can’t hit him. He’s swinging wildly and not even coming close. This goes on for, like, 30 seconds. Then Ali hits him with this quick one-two to his face. Jimmy just stops and says, ‘OK, I get the point.’”
And that was the end of Jim Brown’s boxing career. True story!
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