One of my earliest posts took a look at the legendary matchup between superstar pro wrestler Antonio Inoki and the greatest boxer who ever lived, but up to now I had only seen grainy YouTube clips of the actual match. No longer! TV Asahi is planning a rebroadcast of the Inoki-Ali fight for Saturday, Feb. 7 starting at 7pm, to commemorate the 33rd anniversary. I hope you won’t mind me giving them a shameless plug!
According to Oricon, rights issues had previously kept anyone from rebroadcasting the fight before, but they somehow finagled it in time for the network’s 50th anniversary. The program will show each round in a digest format, and features a retrospective documentary with Inoki reflecting on his experiences. As you can see from my original post, the fight wasn’t exactly a nail-biter, but here’s an interesting tidbit from the Oricon article – The day after the fight, sports newspapers ridiculed it as “the dullest fight of the century” but apparently Inoki’s “logical” tactics have been vindicated as helping lay “the cornerstone of mixed martial arts.”
Though I was not around for the original fight, I am glad to live in a time when I can watch archives in sweet, sweet HDTV quality that was unthinkable in those days.
PS: At the time of my old post, I remarked on Inoki’s intentions: “…Western exposure, as it has been for so many other Japanese entertainers, was merely a tool to show the Japanese public that he can knock heads with The Greatest and land roles in American movies.” I am shocked that I would make such a categorical and baseless statement. Even today, I don’t know what Inoki was thinking for sure. Maybe I could reasonably suspect this, but I guess at the time I wasn’t so careful in my writing.