Book Review: 'Ali and Me: Through the Ropes' by Richard Kaletsky
Interview by Benny Henderson Jr. (December 16, 2004)  
Richard Kaletsky
E-mail Richard Kaletsky
Muhammad Ali is not just one of the most recognizable names in the boxing world, but undoubtedly one of the greatest boxers of all time. With his brash style and uncanny boxing ability Ali seemed to take on the world in and out of the ring. With his comical poems and rhymes in the pre-fight antics all the way up to his battles in the ring Ali seemed to posses a cosmic draw with the fans as he was a boxing magnet and the boxing media and fans were the steel.

Ali was the attraction the boxing world will never forget. There has been a multitude of books written and published on Ali throughout the decades and will probably continue for years to come. Some written on his life in the ring, out of the ring, on his opponents, the list goes on. But Ali and Me: Through the Ropes, written by author Richard Kaletsky, takes another perspective that has never been tackled before. This is a perspective from a fan and not a boxing writer or historian and is written in the mind of an Ali super fan.

Let’s face it, we have all had our heroes in the sporting realm as a child that often continue on to our adult life. Whether it was on the field, on the courts, played on the diamond or in the ring, we have all been captivated by a sports personality sometime or another and on rare occasions have even got to meet the hero that has impacted our lives in some form or fashion. Through the Ropes takes on a childhood dream of meeting 'The Greatest' and a father's word to his son that someday he would.

As a fifteen year old boy Rick called the then Cassius Clay just to see if he could speak to his childhood hero and got an answer from the star. Some twenty years later Muhammad Ali called Rick at 1:30 in the morning to personally thank him Rick his book about himself. Rick dives into his life as it plays out with Ali’s career throughout the years and their meetings with one another. As a youngster in college Rick’s father told the lad he would get a chance to see the boxing star live in the ring, but before the two could do so together Rick’s father passed away leaving Rick to come to grips that his dream was almost gone. In Ali-Frazier I Rick made his Dad’s words good and attended the fight at the Garden making his first live Ali bout not only a dream come true but an emotional journey and feeling like his Dad were with him the entire time.

The book takes on vivid descriptions of ring action and time landmarks throughout the world and has a comical side to it that at times leaving the reader with that feeling of enjoyment. Not only did Rick get to finally see his boxing hero live in the ring, but on several occasions got to chat with the living legend and was in the dressing room with the champ after Ali-Spinks II.

Kaletsky witnessed Ali fight live in the ring on eight occasions: Ali-Frazier I&II, Patterson II, Quarry II, Young, Shavers, Spinks II and Norton III, and attended several of the closed circuit TV bouts. Throughout Rick’s journey he met many notables alongside of Ali and his entourage and he tells the stories of these encounters in the book.

Ali and Me was written and self-published by the author over twenty years ago and has just been re-released with eighty-eight pages of photos from the champ's past. There have been many testimonials on Ali and Me from such notable people as former featherweight champion Willie Pep, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco and most importantly Ali himself, who proclaimed it was “The greatest book about me in the world.” Take a look inside from the self-proclaimed Aliologist’s point of view as he takes you on a journey that every Ali fan can appreciate and one that every boxing fan can relate to.

For more info on Rick and his book, or for ordering information and prices for 'Ali and Me: Through the Ropes', please contact Richard Kaletsky at
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