Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

The Flyers selected center Nolan Patrick (pictured) with the second overall pick in the NHL Draft, and then traded center/wing Brayden Schenn to acquire a second first-round pick (center Morgan Frost at No. 27) and a future first-round selection.

The Sixers’ season isn’t all about Joel Embiid’s health. The performances of guards Ben Simmons (pictured) and Markelle Fultz, the top overall picks in the last two NBA drafts, will have a major impact on the Sixers’ fortunes.

Take a look at Top 10 lists from the past, including our first and frighteningly prescient first Top 10 list: Players the Eagles can least afford to lose to injury

Archive for the ‘Boxing’ Category

Ali’s memorable fights

Posted by Eric Fisher On June - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

In honor of Muhammad Ali, who died Friday night at age 74, we are expanding our PhillyPhanatics.com Top 10 list to a Top 15 list, signifying that many of Ali’s championship fights lasted 15 rounds. This is a list of Ali’s most memorable bouts. These aren’t necessarily his best fights, although some of them are, but they are the most memorable.

15. Chuck Wepner, March 14, 1975 The “Bayonne Bleeder” goes nearly a full 15 rounds with Ali, losing on a TKO with 19 seconds remaining in the last round. Wepner later gets out of court settlement from Sylvester Stallone, claiming this fight was the inspiration for Rocky.

14. Ernie Shavers, Sept. 29, 1977 Ernie Shavers, considered be among the hardest punchers in boxing history, rocks Ali in the second round and leaves him wobbly in the 14th, but Ali survives the onslaught and wins unanimous decision..

13. Ken Norton II and III, Sept. 10, 1973 and Sept. 28, 1976 The Ken Norton trilogy takes a backseat to the Joe Frazier trilogy, but Ali struggled mightily against the unorthodox and well-conditioned Norton. Ali won by a controversial split decision (7-5, 6-5-1, 5-6-1) on Sept. 10, 1973, and by a controversial unanimous decision (8-7, 8-7, 8-6-1) in their final fight on Sept. 28, 1976.

12. Cleveland Williams, Nov. 14, 1966 The veteran Williams entered the fight with a 65-5-1 record, with 53 KOs. But the young, brash Ali dominated him, winning by TKO in 3rd round.

11. Antonio Inoki, June 26, 1976 This wrestler vs. boxer debacle took place in Tokyo, with a closed-circuit broadcast in New York’s Shea Stadium, where Chuck Wepner battled Andre the Giant and a full wrestling card took place. Due to rules changes making most of Inoki’s offense illegal,the Japanese wrestler laid on his back for most of the match — so Ali couldn’t punch him — and kicked at Ali’s legs. The bout was ruled a draw.

10. Larry Holmes, Oct. 3, 1980 Ali comes out of retirement to challenge Holmes for the heavyweight championship. The undefeated Holmes, who had defeated Ken Norton for the title, wins lopsided fight by TKO. Holmes looks to referee several times to try to get him to stop the fight so Ali doesn’t have to absorb more punishment. Fight stopped after 10th round.

9. Ernie Terrell, Feb. 6, 1967 Terrell repeatedly calls Ali “Clay” prior to the fight. Ali wins every round, shouting “What’s my name?” at a battered Terrell before punching him some more.

8. Leon Spinks II, Sept. 15, 1978 Ali regains the world title from Spinks in their rematch, winning unanimous decision to become world champion for third time.

7. Joe Frazier II, Jan. 28, 1974 No title is on the line in this rematch, but the winner would earn a shot at heavyweight champion George Foreman, who had defeated Frazier in two rounds to capture the title. Ali wins a unanimous decision.

6. Ken Norton I, March 31, 1973 Norton, a 5-1 underdog, breaks Ali’s jaw in 2nd round and wins split decision.

5. Leon Spinks I, Feb. 1, 1978 In just his 8th professional fight, Spinks, a gold medalist at the 1976 Olympics, shocks Ali and the boxing world by winning the heavyweight championship.

4. Joe Frazier I, March 8, 1971 Ali (31-0, 25 KOs) and Frazier (26-0, 23 KOs) enter this championship fight undefeated, fighting for the title that Ali never lost in the ring. Frazier knocks Ali down twice, wins unanimous decision in “The Fight of the Century.”

3. Sonny Liston I and II, Feb. 25, 1964 and May 25, 1965 Many people conflate these fights in their memories. In the initial fight, Ali, a 7-1 underdog, wins the title when Liston doesn’t answer the bell for 7th round. In the rematch, Ali retains the championship by knocking out Liston in 1st round with what some believe was a “phantom punch.”

2. George Foreman, Oct. 30, 1974 The “Rumble in the Jungle” as an international event. Ali, 32, employs rope-a-dope strategy, laying against ropes while 25-year-old Foreman (40-0, 37 KOs) tires himself out trying to punch through Ali’s defense. Ali wins on 8th-round knockout to win heavyweight title for 2nd time.

1. Joe Frazier III The “Thrilla in Manila” caps this outstanding trilogy between Ali and Frazier. Ali wins when Frazier’s trainer throws in the towel after 14 physically brutal rounds. One of the greatest fights in boxing history.

‘The Greatest’ dies at 74

Posted by Eric Fisher On June - 4 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS


Three-time world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, whose fame transcended boxing and sports, died Friday night at age 74 from respiratory problems related to Parkinson’s disease, a condition he had battled since the 1980s.

Ali transformed the promotion of boxing, becoming a controversial figure as he bragged openly, proclaiming himself “the greatest of all time,” and denigrating his opponents.

He often promoted his fights with poetry, predicting a victorious outcome through rhymes. But it was Drew “Bundini” Brown, as assistant trainer and cornerman for Ali, who coined the most lasting words about Ali, saying “he floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee.”

Ali backed up his words with action. He won a gold medal at the Rome Olympics in 1960 at age 18. In 1964 he shocked the boxing world by upsetting heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Before the fight, Ali said of Liston, “He’s too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me.”

He shocked the world again the following day by announcing that he was a member of the Nation of Islam, an organization founded by Elijah Muhammad and personified by Malcolm X, who, in contrast to Martin Luther King Jr., endorsed violence as a tactic to achieve civil rights. He soon changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali.

Three years later, Ali took another controversial stance, refusing to be inducted into the United States Army. Ali claimed that Islam required he be a pacifist – a curious stance for a boxer and a member of the Nation of Islam – but his public comments may have provided deeper insight into his reasons for not serving.

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam,” Ali said, “while so-called Negro people in Louisville (where Ali was born) are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights.”

One year earlier he said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”

Ali was stripped of the heavyweight championship for refusing to join the army, but he had stepped into the public spotlight by speaking out on two of the most pressing issues of the turbulent 1960s: civil rights and the Vietnam War.

Ali’s public views made him a hero to many people, but many despised him for those public stances on controversial issues.

Ali, who had a home in the Overbrook Farms section of Philadelphia, just off City Line Ave. regained his boxing license in 1970. One year later, he challenged Philadelphia’s Joe Frazier for the world title. Frazier knocked Ali down in the 15th round and won a unanimous decision in the first of what would become boxing’s most famous trilogy of fights (pictured above).

In the second fight of the Ali-Frazier trilogy, in January of 1974, Ali won, but Frazier had previously lost the championship to George Foreman. Ali recaptured the title from Foreman later that year in the “Rumble in the Jungle,” which took place in Zaire (now Congo), demonstrating Ali’s appeal as an international star.

Ali employed a “rope-a-dope” strategy against Foreman, laying against the ropes and allowing the hard-hitting Foreman to tire himself out trying to break through Ali’s defenses. Ali then knocked out the previously unbeaten Foreman in the eighth round.

The final act of the Ali-Frazier rivalry took place one year later in the Philippines. Dubbed the “Thrilla in Manila,” Ali survived a brutal fight with Frazier in extremely hot conditions. Frazier’s trainer tossed in the towel following the 14th round.

The third Ali-Frazier fight is considered a classic, a fitting conclusion to their storied rivalry, but the pre-fight publicity provided fuel for Ali’s critics. Ali’s personal criticism of Frazier, calling him ignorant, ugly and a gorilla, were tinged with racism. (Ali was light-skinned; Frazier was dark-skinned.)

Frazier, who died in 2011, remained bitter about Ali’s comments, even making nasty comments about Ali’s Parkinson disease. Ali apologized in 2001, allowing the two great fighters to reconcile their differences.

Ali was shocked himself in 1978 when he lost the heavyweight title to the lightly regarded Leon Spinks. Ali regained the title in a rematch and then retired. Ali came out of retirement for two more fights, including an ill-advised challenge to heavyweight champion Larry Holmes, who looked pleadingly at the referee to stop the fight before unleashing a barrage of punches at his idol.

Ali’s career ended with a 56-5 record, but his fame had long ago outgrown the sport of boxing – or even the world of sport. He made appearances all over the world, sort of becoming a goodwill ambassador. One of the iconic Olympic moments came in 1996 as Ali, his hand trembling from Parkinson’s, lit the Olympic flame at the opening ceremonies 36 years after winning a gold medal.

With Ali’s physical capabilities diminished by Parkinson’s, and with time elapsing since some of his controversial stances, the controversy and resentment surrounding him during the 1960s and ‘70s seemed to melt away, leaving only love and respect for one of the icons of not only the boxing world, but of the entire world during the past 50 years.

Harper hits 1st home run as Phillie