4 - Exile

Despite various offers that he could go to Vietnam without ever coming near a battle field but merely entertain the troops while boxing, Ali didnít change his opinion that said he was against any form of war but holy war against enemies of the Islam. Plus, he opined a stay in Vietnam would prevent him from practising his religion because he was an Islamic preacher.

In August, 1967, Ali married his second wife, 17-year-old Muslim Belinda Boyd who he had first met when he visited her school in 1961.

Because he wasnít allowed to box, Ali had to look for other ways to earn his living. Soon after he was banned from boxing, he started to write speeches he held at colleges and universities all over the USA in which he explained his point of view on the war and the segregation of blacks in the US. Ali impressed his chiefly white audiences with his self-written speeches that were critical, political, religious, and often funny at the same time.
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With his innate eloquence and charisma he convinced many of them of the values he believed in - justice and peace.
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While the trial USA versus Cassius Clay was still not decided, the defendant was sentenced to ten days imprisonment - not because of his claiming for conscientious objector status but for driving without a valid license.

The income of AliĎs college lectures was not enough to pay his attorneys. A documentation of his life, a computer bout between Rocky Marciano and Ali, the leading part in the Broadway Musical Buck White and various public appearences provided financial support for the "peopleís champ" as Ali used to call himself.
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As the years passed, the tide of public opinion turned. The Vietnam War was seen critically by more and more Americans. Also, Ali's image changed as more and more people began to realize he had been treated unjustly. Finally, after three-and-a-half years of futile trying, Aliís management got him a boxing license although the US Supreme Court had not judged yet whether Ali was guilty or not. Aliís first fight after his exile was to be against Jerry Quarry in Atlanta on October 26, 1970.


Copyright 2000 by Johannes Ehrmann

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