8 episodes

Using words, music, archive and drama, hip hop legend Nas presents 'The Fight of the Century - Ali v Frazier', an event that transcended sport and changed the world forever.

The Fight Of The Century - Ali v Frazier BBC

    • Sports
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Using words, music, archive and drama, hip hop legend Nas presents 'The Fight of the Century - Ali v Frazier', an event that transcended sport and changed the world forever.

    Ep 7: Nas interview - bonus episode

    Ep 7: Nas interview - bonus episode

    Hip hop legend Nas joins Nihal Arthanayake to discuss the making of 'The Fight of The Century - Ali v Frazier' and why the story of the two fighters still resonates in the twenty first century.

    Other topics include the legacy of Muhammad Ali, the enduring appeal of the Ali/Frazier rivalry, the similarities between boxing and rappers, plus the ongoing fight for racial equality around the world.

    • 26 min
    Ep 6: March 8th '71

    Ep 6: March 8th '71

    March 8th '71: Nearly four years after they first met in 1967, the eyes of the world are on a small, illuminated square of canvas in New York's Madison Square Garden as Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier get ready to go toe to toe.

    For the first time two undefeated heavyweights will fight for the title, but only one will leave the ring as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. In one corner is Muhammad Ali, 'The Greatest' and a man who put his career, life and reputation on the line for his beliefs. He risked jail and lost over three years of boxing while 'in exile'.

    In the opposite corner is Smokin' Joe Frazier, the hard-hitting former abattoir drain man who grew up in poverty but put in the hard yards, graft and work to drag himself to the top of the world. Each fighter is guaranteed $2.5 million, but this is so much more than about the money, this is history in the making,

    A four-year journey of taunts, jibes, jokes, miles, bitter blows, clashes and sweet victories brings us to this moment - 10.30 pm, March 8th, 1971. The place is packed with celebrities all craning for the best view of the scheduled 15 rounds of championship boxing, but you have the best seat in the house. So, are you ready?

    Let legendary, Grammy award-winning hip-hop star Nas take you ringside for one of the most momentous sporting events of all time. The Fight of The Century - Ali v Frazier.

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    Credits:

    Presenter - Nas
    Producer - Mark Sharman
    Writer - Ayad Andrews
    Drama Producer - Owen Lewis
    Executive Producer - Phil Critchlow
    Executive Producer - Nas
    Drama Recording - Jerry O’Riordan
    Sound Design - Micky Curling
    Original Music - Owen Parker
    Production Assistant - Gabby Morris and Sera Baker
    Drama Assistant - Maia Henderson
    Casting Director - Emma Hearn
    Archive Producer - Clare Hamman
    US Production - Dave King
    Music Production - Simon Hodge

    ACTORS

    Trevor Dion Nicholas
    Aaron Pierre
    David Menkin
    Courtney Winston
    Tomini Babs
    Evlyne Oyedokun
    Jennifer Armour
    Earl R Perkins
    Clinton Liberty
    Philip Desmeules
    Jose Palma
    Finbar Lynch

    A TBI Media Production for BBC Sounds.

    • 42 min
    Ep 5: 1971 - The Deal

    Ep 5: 1971 - The Deal

    Boxing gets the full Hollywood Treatment as Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier finally agree a deal to meet in the ring. The numbers are astronomical and break new boundaries in sports promotion, as the world readies itself for 'The Fight of the Century'.

    Under the watchful eye of Angelo Dundee, Ali heads to Miami for his training in order to prepare for what he hopes will be the fight that makes him heavyweight champion of the world once again. Frazier is also back in the gym, but he prefers the sub-zero temperatures of the Catskill Mountains, where alongside Yank Durham and Eddie Futch, he will plot how to defeat 'The Greatest'.

    Away from the training, sparring and hours on the road, Ali continues his verbal assaults on Joe, but this time does he take things too far?

    Elsewhere, the scramble for 'The Fight Of The Century' tickets begins as everyone from astronauts to sports stars, Hollywood actors to gangsters clamour for the hottest ticket in town. With so much riding on the fight there is genuine concern amongst the authorities about any nefarious characters influencing the outcome, so unprecedented precautions are implemented to keep the identity of the referee a secret until the last minute.

    It's early 1971 and Nas is your guide as we prepare ourselves for 'The Fight of the Century - Ali v Frazier'.

    ======

    Credits:

    Presenter - Nas
    Producer - Mark Sharman
    Writer - Ayad Andrews
    Drama Producer - Owen Lewis
    Executive Producer - Phil Critchlow
    Executive Producer - Nas
    Drama Recording - Jerry O’Riordan
    Sound Design - Micky Curling
    Original Music - Owen Parker
    Production Assistant - Gabby Morris and Sera Baker
    Drama Assistant - Maia Henderson

    ACTORS

    Trevor Dion Nicholas
    Aaron Pierre
    David Menkin
    Courtney Winston
    Tomini Babs
    Evlyne Oyedokun
    Jennifer Armour
    Earl R Perkins
    Clinton Liberty
    Philip Desmeules
    Jose Palma
    Finbar Lynch

    A TBI Media Production for BBC Sounds.

    • 47 min
    Ep 4: 1970 - Georgia on my mind

    Ep 4: 1970 - Georgia on my mind

    With the spectre of a prison sentence hanging over Muhammad Ali due to his refusal to be drafted, politicians and businessmen manoeuvre behind the scenes to try and secure him a boxing license before he faces his day in court.

    Meanwhile Joe Frazier comes up against his old foe Jimmy Ellis as he seeks to answer his critics and become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. However, Joe doesn't just have to worry about Jimmy Ellis, he's got other problems as Ali moves his growing family into Joe's home city of Philadelphia, something that annoys Frazier who can't stand Ali's so called 'skylarking'.

    Away from boxing, the Vietnam War continues to rage with no end in sight. American troops are sent into neighbouring Cambodia, a tactic which according to President Richard Nixon will help 'win the peace we desire'. However, the war remains a divisive issue at home with demonstrations across the country and one such protest at Kent State University ends with tragic consequences.

    Grammy award-winning rapper Nas takes you back to 1970 as he uses words, music, archive, drama and a little imagination to tell the incredible story of The Fight of the Century - Ali v Frazier. A story that is more than just boxing.

    ======

    Credits:

    Presenter - Nas
    Producer - Mark Sharman
    Writer - Ayad Andrews
    Drama Producer - Owen Lewis
    Executive Producer - Phil Critchlow
    Executive Producer - Nas
    Drama Recording - Jerry O’Riordan
    Sound Design - Micky Curling
    Original Music - Owen Parker
    Production Assistant - Gabby Morris and Sera Baker
    Drama Assistant - Maia Henderson

    ACTORS

    Trevor Dion Nicholas
    Aaron Pierre
    David Menkin
    Courtney Winston
    Tomini Babs
    Evlyne Oyedokun
    Jennifer Armour
    Earl R Perkins
    Clinton Liberty
    Philip Desmeules
    Jose Palma
    Finbar Lynch

    A TBI Media Production for BBC Sounds.

    • 45 min
    Ep 3: 1969 - The Super Fight

    Ep 3: 1969 - The Super Fight

    As America prepares to put a man on the moon, Muhammad Ali is still banned from boxing and needs to find other sources of income.

    One unusual offer of cash comes from producer Murray Woroner and his idea for a 'Super Fight' between Ali and heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano. The idea fits perfectly into the age of space travel.

    Woroner will use a 'super computer', stacks of information and statistics to work out who would win in a fight between Ali and the long retired Marciano, a fighter who finished with an unblemished record of 49-0. Once the computer has come up with result, the plan is for Ali and Marciano to recreate the event for a film that will be released across the globe. But who will win?

    Meanwhile, Joe Frazier is attempting to build his reputation as the man to beat with more fights in '69. But with no prospect of taking on Ali, can he be seen as the real champion? Everywhere Joe turns Ali seems to be there, and now it's becoming a problem.

    With words, music, archive and drama, legendary Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist Nas takes you on the journey to 'The Fight of The Century - Ali v Frazier'

    ======

    Credits:

    Presenter - Nas
    Producer - Mark Sharman
    Writer - Ayad Andrews
    Drama Producer - Owen Lewis
    Drama Recording - Jerry O’Riordan
    Sound Design - Micky Curling
    Original Music - Owen Parker
    Production Assistant - Gabby Morris and Sera Baker
    Drama Assistant - Maia Henderson
    Casting Director - Emma Hearn
    Executive Producer - Phil Critchlow
    Executive Producer - Nas

    ACTORS

    Trevor Dion Nicholas
    Aaron Pierre
    David Menkin
    Courtney Winston
    Tomini Babs
    Evlyne Ovedokun
    Jennifer Armour
    Earl R Perkins
    Clinton Liberty
    Philip Desmeules
    Jose Palma
    Finbar Lynch

    A TBI Media Production for BBC Sounds.

    • 40 min
    Ep 2: 1968 - America On The Brink

    Ep 2: 1968 - America On The Brink

    1968 and America is a nation divided, violently driven apart on racial fault lines and the ongoing war in South East Asia that is claiming thousands of American lives.

    Against this background the USA will be shocked to its core with the deaths of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, brother of slain President John F Kennedy.

    Meanwhile Muhammad Ali, under the constant threat of imprisonment due to his stance on the Vietnam War, undertakes lecture tours across the USA to help pay the bills. He’s also a regular visitor to TV talk show studios in order to promote his Islamic faith, his stance on Vietnam and his ongoing quest for racial equality.

    Elsewhere, Joe Frazier continues his quest to become heavyweight champion of the world and though he might not be able to fight Ali in the ring, Ali is keen to make his presence felt in anyway he can.

    Legendary rapper Nas is your guide as we head back to a year that rocked America. This is 'The Fight of The Century - Ali v Frazier'.

    ======

    Credits:

    Presenter - Nas
    Producer - Mark Sharman
    Writer - Ayad Andrews
    Drama Producer - Owen Lewis
    Drama Recording - Jerry O’Riordan
    Sound Design - Micky Curling
    Original Music - Owen Parker
    Production Assistant - Gabby Morris and Sera Baker
    Drama Assistant - Maia Henderson
    Casting Director - Emma Hearn
    Executive Producer - Phil Critchlow
    Executive Producer - Nas

    ACTORS

    Trevor Dion Nicholas
    Aaron Pierre
    David Menkin
    Courtney Winston
    Tomini Babs
    Evlyne Ovedokun
    Jennifer Armour
    Earl R Perkins
    Clinton Liberty
    Philip Desmeules
    Jose Palma
    Finbar Lynch

    A TBI Media Production for BBC Sounds.

    • 47 min

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