Saturday, June 4, 2016

Muhammad Ali wins Supreme Court decision in 1971, overturning his conviction for draft evasion

(Originally published by the Daily News on June 29, 1971. This story was written by Phil Pepe.)

Muhammad Ali is a free man, free to go anywhere he wants, free to fight where and whom he pleases, and for as long as he pleases. Exactly three months and 20 days after losing a unanimous decision to Joe Frazier in his biggest fight in the ring, Muhammad Ali won a unanimous decision in an even bigger fight.

The Supreme Court voted, 8-0 (Justice Marshall disqualified himself because he was solicitor general when the government brought its case against Ali) to overturn Ali’s conviction on charges of draft evasion, a conviction that carried with it a $10,000 fine and a five year prison term that would certainly have ended the boxing career of the former heavyweight champion of the world.

If justice was served in Washington, then what was served the 3 ½ years Muhammad lost out of his boxing life when he was stripped of his title and his right to fight after his conviction by the government?

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