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Boxing: Heavyweight Champions and the War in Iraq

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posted on Aug, 5 2004 @ 04:11 PM

This is the political season. The United States is at war in Iraq. Those realities have become inextricably intertwined.

Meanwhile, boxing's standard bearers have long held mixed views and reacted in different ways when called to serve in the United States military.

Jack Dempsey was indicted, and tried for conspiring to evade the draft during World War I. After a seven-day trial, he was acquitted; but the allegation that he was a draft-dodger haunted Dempsey throughout his ring career.

Gene Tunney, who defeated Dempsey in two historic fights, enlisted in the Marines at the start of Word War I.

Joe Louis donated several purses to the Navy Relief Fund and enlisted in the Army one month after Pearl Harbor.

Muhammad Ali has been largely silent during the current dialogue regarding the war in Iraq. But he refused induction into the United States Army during the war in Vietnam and was precluded from fighting for three-and-a-half years. He was also criminally convicted and sentenced to five years in prison, although ultimately his conviction was overturned by the United States Supreme Court.

That brings us to today's heavyweight champions. Vitali Klitschko right) holds the WBC crown. John Ruiz (bottom pic) wears the WBA belt. Chris Byrd (left) is the IBF champ. Lamon Brewster is on top at the WBO. And then there's Lennox Lewis; the last man to have been recognized as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

The physical courage of these men is beyond question. They're warriors in the truest sense. Thus, it's interesting to hear their thoughts on the war in Iraq.



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