A no-punches-pulled memoir of life as Muhammad Ali's personal physician during the former champ's ring career. Pacheco (Fight Doctor, 1977) was running a ghetto clinic in Miami during the mid-1960's when he first met a handsome young Olympian named Cassius Clay. Patient and doctor took to each other immediately, and the author soon became a volunteer member of the motley crew that formed around the charismatic boxer. An insider from the start, here Pacheco offers unsparing appraisals of Ali's family, friends, wives, and lovers, as well as of the hangers-on who fed on Ali's tolerant generosity or used him for their own ends. In addition, the author recalls in some detail how the Black Muslims recruited a willing Clay, who, Pacheco concludes, ``intuitively picked the [religion]...that best fitted his needs.'' Pacheco also delivers jarring accounts of Ali's bruising matches with Foreman, Frazier, Liston, Norton, and others, calling on his medical knowledge to explain just what happens to a prizefighter who takes too many blows to the head or body. Terminally disgusted with self-serving handlers who encouraged Ali to stay too long at the fair, the author quit his unpaid post in the late 1970's, subsequently finding gainful employment (plus a fair measure of fame and fortune) as a color commentator on televised bouts. Insights aplenty on the fight game and one of its genuine greats from an astute observer who has had a ringside seat. The engaging and slickly written text features photographs throughout, including many from Pacheco's personal collection.
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