"This woman took out these boxes and said: " They say "Ali " on them - I don't know what they are, ”McMahon said. "It's Technicolor, it's 16 millimeters, taken from the apron [of the ring] - it just pops. And you see the fight in a way that has never been seen before. "
Ali 's relationship with Frazier, who as a young fighter had been theone of Ali's fans, is one of the thorniest aspects of the documentary. Ali's treatment of him before their fights was quite cruel, employing some of the language of "racist whites," as one commentator on the show puts it, to denigrate Frazier (who has never forgiven him). This is part of the complex image of Ali that the series provides: a champion of the people who could be mean; a devout Muslim who was a p hilander; an idealist who has made many people angry with his refusal to conform to public expectations.
Bryant, the ESPN writer, said that 'he didn't think "people understand why this story is so heroic, so important and so unique.
"We just seem to think that every person, if they protest against something, if they say something, if they face some kind of sanction, we put them in the same categorylaughs than Muhammad Ali or Jackie Robinson, ”he continued. "And that 's so absurd.
"Name me another athlete where all the weight of the United States government fell on one person. I'm not talking about the NFL saying you can't play when you're already a millionaire. Colin Kaepernick obviously sacrificed himself and lost some things. It 's not the same. It ' s not the same. 'is not even close. "
For two of Ali ' s daughters, Rasheda Ali (from his second marriage, to Khalilah Ali, nee Belinda Boyd ) and Hana Ali (from her third, to Veronica Porche), the new documentary is an honest look at the father they knew mainly while he was under the weight of Parkinson's disease. The film opens with a photo of him sitting with his oldest child, Maryum, encouraging him to look out the window so he can steal a bite of his food. The images made plure Rasheda. Image Belinda Boyd became Ali 's second wife and changed her name to Khalilah Ali. Credit ... Thomas Hoepker / Magnum Photos
"I 've never seen the family pictures - and even the pictures! " said Rasheda. "I thought to myself: 'Wow, where did you get that? '
"He was always making jokes and he was fun ", she added. "This is what Muhammad Ali's people don't really see on a regular basis.
Hana, who said that anyone d 'Other than the Burns would have made "just another documentary about my father ", also noted that the footagemore intimate ones have helped fill in some of the nuances about her.
"It 's so hard when you live a life like my father's, where you are so approachable, so photographed, and her story has been told so many times, "Hana said. " Honestly, I've seen so many documentaries about our dad, and even just watching the start of it , it was already just different - it was nicer. "
The series ends as Ali has become, as Ken Burns l ' described as "the most beloved person on the planet." The images of his surprise and trembling appearance at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta are a crucial part of the enduring image and mythology of Ali. But as Burns says, "mythology is a mask.
Bryant, who argued that Ali changed the relationship between athletes and fans, was more blunt about the evolutionn of the public image in these l years. Image Ali in Manhattan in 1968 Despite his popularity as a boxer, Ali angered many people with his refusal to live up to public expectations. Credit ... Anthony Camerano / Associated Press
"People hated his guts, and white people didn't like him until he can't speak, "said Bryant. “There were people - Black and White - who still called him Cassius Clay; there were people who still did not want to give him his due. And there were people who still resented him a lot. "
" Then he couldn't speak anymore, and suddenly he appeared.is born to everyone "he said.
Ken Burns suggested that this public redemption was akin to " a funeral where people talk about other people very well ".
" And you say to yourself: 'Why can't we do this for the rest of our lives ? ' ", he said." Funerals are not for the deceased - funerals are for those who remain, and we always model the best and most humane behavior. And yet we do not seem to be able to apply it to our own lives. "
He quoted one of the documentary 's reporters, Dave Kindred, who said that in death Ali "can no longer hurt us; he can no longer drive us mad.
us, for us forcing back on our own feelings, our own beliefs, our own prejudices, Burns said. Then hethere is this room to forgive and maybe exalt. "
" It's a long process with him ", he added. " And it 's so interesting that 'Much of this positive progress comes from defeat. "