The Puerto Rican people – on the island and the mainland – always loved Muhammad Ali. They respected his athleticism, courage and character.
But many people don’t know that Ali was knocked out twice in Puerto Rico, by a relatively unknown fighter. Here is the video and photographic evidence…
It all happened in 1976, when Ali visited the island for a championship fight. But what Ali didn’t count on, was a Puerto Rican champ named José Miguel Agrelot.
In the pre-fight press conference Agrelot took off his jacket, pummeled Ali to the floor, and the heavyweight champ of the world had to be picked up by his entourage.
Here is the video:
Then in the main event, Agrelot knocked Ali out again.
He stepped up fiercely and terrified Ali with his left hook.
Iris Chacón tried to save Ali. She jumped into the ring, and gave him a pep talk.
But it was no use.
Agrelot pounded the champ without mercy, until he lay flat and beaten on the canvas.
It was a very controversial knockout, but it did occur, and was reported in the press.
Here is a front-page photo:
Ali demanded a rematch but, for some reason, Agrelot could never find time in his schedule…and the rematch never happened.
A GREAT SPORTSMAN
Muhammad Ali was a tremendous athlete, an extraordinary human being, and a great sportsman.
He had a spectacular sense of humor, and he shared it with the world.
Ali took time from his training schedule for his real fight in Puerto Rico – against Belgian heavyweight Jean-Pierrre Coopman – to promote and present this fight with Agrelot. It was a benefit match, to raise funds for a senior citizen center in Puerta de Tierra.
The man who “knocked out” Ali, José Miguel Agrelot, was a much-beloved comedian known as Don Cholito.
That is the kind of champion…the kind of person…that Muhammad Ali was. He was able to laugh at himself, and willing to share his time, and his wonderful sense of humor, to help other people.
Every time that Ali was “knocked out” by Don Cholito, to help the local senior citizens, Ali became more of a hero to the people of Puerto Rico.
It is impossible not to love, and not to miss, the great Muhammad Ali.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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