Muhammad Ali fights Atlanta mayor in 1975 charity fight

ATLANTA — Muhammad Ali had a connection to Atlanta, even before the Olympics. We dug deep into the Channel 2 archives to find a 1975 charity fight between then Mayor Maynard Jackson and Ali.

WSB-TV Director of Public Affairs Jocelyn Dorsey was there.

“It was hilarious. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen,” Dorsey said.

Before Ali and Jackson stepped into the ring, in true boxing fashion, they engaged in a little trash talking.

“The only thing that really worries me is what happens if I hit him, for his sake and for mine as well,” Jackson said.

“[He] will not land one punch in one round, and if he dreamed it, he better wake up and apologize!” Ali responded.




Dorsey explained the fight, in front of a packed house, was to last for three rounds.

“The mayor did not want to hit him, didn’t want to knock him out, which is what he was supposed to do,” she said. “So, Muhammad Ali swung at the mayor and came very close to him, and the mayor hit him and of course, Ali fell out in the floor.”

The referee for the fight was none other than civil rights leader and politician Julian Bond.

Bond declared Jackson the winner by TKO.

Dorsey said the crowd loved the faux fight, and took special interest in Jackson's flowered shorts; so did Ali.

“Those trunks he had saved him because he had them too high.,” Ali told reporters. “I couldn’t hit him low because you’re not supposed to hit below the belt. He came with the trunks up to his breast, therefore I couldn’t hit him in the effective spots ‘cause he’s so big, he’s like a balloon, and if you hit him he’ll bust.”

As the nation pays tribute to the legendary boxer, this event shows the kind of man Ali was in and outside of the ring.