Washington Post — Jim Brown, one of the greatest football players in NFL history, was no slouch at lacrosse and other sports. But boxing? The Cleveland Browns Hall of Fame running back, a legendarily tough man, decided to try his hand at the sport after retiring from football following the 1965 season, but his target wasn’t just any boxer. It was The Greatest, his friend Muhammad Ali. Brown, as Chris Mannix told the story in Sports Illustrated in 2012, thought a bout would generate a massive payday and approached Arum, the long-time promoter he had introduced to Ali. Brown was in the process of becoming an actor, but Arum, out of gratitude, thought he should approach with Brown’s wish.
“So I went to talk to Ali,” Arum told Mannix. “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, ‘Okay, I get the point.’ ”
Good instinct. Even a decade later, Ali remained lightning fast, as Michael Dokes, then 19, found out in a fight against the 35-year-old. As a 15-year-old, he’d bragged about challenging Ali one day.
“I call myself Dynomite Dokes. Dyn-o-mite,” he told Sports Illustrated when he was 17. “When I’m moving and grooving, there ain’t nobody in the world who can touch me. Speed? They ain’t seen nothing. My hands are so fast they can’t catch them on film. I can hit a guy three times and all he can think is somebody has snuck up behind him. I told Muhammad Ali, ‘I’m gonna get you, old man, so you better get out while you can.’ ” Here’s how that worked out for Dokes:
I didn’t really do anything for Muhammed Ali’s death, so I figured I’d pass this story along.
First read, you might not think much of it. Yeah, of course a non-boxer couldn’t hit Ali. But this is Jim Brown we’re talking about. Jim fucking Brown. Dude was probably the best football AND lacrosse player of all time. He’s a LEGENDARY athlete. A guy so far ahead of his competition that he’s still considered the best in his sport like sixty years after he played. And he couldn’t even land a shot on Ali. Just goes to show you how special Ali truly was. Fuck “once in a lifetime”… dude was once in history.