Muhammad Ali's eighth round knockout last week of George Foreman was more than a triumph over the former heavyweight champion. It was also a whuppin' of the powers of sports that stripped Ali of his title to repress his conclusions about the world in which sports go on. And it was an especially decisive whuppin' of the U.S. government that wanted him to fight not other boxers, but Vietnamese rebels with whom--as Ali recognized--Americans should have no quarrel.
Coming at the same time the Harvard Corporation picks next spring's recipients of honorary degrees, Ali's victory might inspire even this group that prides itself on its calm. If cooler heads prevail there, Ali might make an outstanding Norton Professor of Poetry.
Other poets may be read longer, but Ali showed he's no war monger. They tried to take away his prime, but Ali proved he still could rhyme. He really whupped them good this time. There may be poets greater than Ali, but can they float like a butterfly and sting like a bee?