The Champ's Camp: A Closer Look at Fighter's Heaven

Back in the Spotlight

Muhammad Ali in the Fifth Street Gym, taken while he was training for his first fight against Joe Frazier, 1970.

Donated by photographer, Al Satterwhite, in 2022.


Back in the Spotlight

Upon Muhammad Ali's return to professional boxing in 1970, he was on the mind of most sportswriters, television personalities, boxing fans and promoters in the United States, if not the world. He was still in the legal appeal process, working to overturn his conviction for draft evasion, but he needed to get back into fighting shape and wanted to regain the title of Heavyweight Champion.

After two victories in fall of 1970, Ali was given his shot at Joe Frazier, the new Heavyweight Champion, on March 8, 1971. Fight experts favored Frazier, although most agreed that the two were well-matched in terms of skill. The only thing that sportswriters and boxing fanatics believed would keep Ali from winning was his three years away from the ring. Unfortunately, they were correct.

Muhammad Ali would not get to fight for the Heavyweight Championship again until 1974, and he had a lot of work to do in the meantime. This meant Ali could be found, once again, at the Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach, Florida. Members of his entourage did not feel this gym was the best place for him to train anymore. 

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