Introducing Kassim Ouma
By Rob Scott (December 16, 2004) 
Photo © Brendon Pierpaoli, DHB
Have you ever thought about the impact of when Mike Tyson enters a venue? What about Muhammad Ali? As soon as they walk in, heads start to turn. They are two of the most recognizable figures in the entire world. What’s the difference in these fighters as oppose to most other past and present champions? The answer is in the story.

There isn’t anyone in or out of boxing that doesn’t know the story of the juvenile delinquent who was taken under the old man’s wing and taught how to box. This was a story line that initially drew many to the Mike Tyson show. The story of ‘The Greatest’ has been told so often that when the 2001 ‘Ali’ movie starring Will Smith came to theaters, the writers were forced to make so many distinct changes to the storyline. They were distinct changes that needed to take place to differentiate this motion picture from any other Ali story.

Stories accentuate the name. Stories accentuate the talent. Tyson was a devastating fighter in the ring, but imagine the whole Mike Tyson tale without the varied Tyson storylines? Ali’s victories over Sonny Liston and George Foreman were enough in itself to place him in the minds of many; but imagine the overall Ali story without the draft refusal and the boxing ban plot. These stories, along with the many others have indeed accentuated the names of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali to a realm in which Mike and Muhammad aren’t even needed; all that needs to be said is Ali and Tyson, and the world knows exactly who you are talking about.

Do you know who IBF junior middleweight champion Kassim ‘The Dream’ Ouma is? Do you know his story? It is a story that has been told, but not enough. It is a story with its share of pain as well as triumph. Kassim Ouma, 20-1-1 (13), is just days past his twenty-sixth birthday and from day one, has weathered the type of storms that most would have succumbed to, and many actually have.

Born on December 12, 1978 in Kampala in the African nation of Uganda, Ouma’s life has had scenes of kidnapping, war and bloodshed. It’s hard to imagine forcing a child of seven years old to take arms and fight in a war; but what we couldn’t fathom is what Kassim Ouma’s reality was. He lived the reality of fighting for the Ugandan Government for the next twelve years of his life. After defecting to the United States, Ouma dodged death when he was shot in a drive-by shooting that required the removal of part of his intestine. With all that he has gone through, Ouma’s take on life has been the Nietzschean proverb ‘that which does not kill me, makes me stronger’. He has used this thought pattern to help him persevere and go on to win the IBF junior middleweight title this past October.

The in-depth story of Kassim Ouma is one that is eye catching, but as with any story, it has to be told in order for someone to know of it. Telling it once is a start, but where something starts can be where it ends. The story should be told over and over. The overall story of Ali has grown to its proportion because there have been many things to tell and each was told over and over. The same can be said about the Mike Tyson saga; from Cus D’Amato, to the famous ear bite of Evander Holyfield, and more recently the disclosure of him being broke after amassing over $300 million in ring earnings, we all know of ‘Iron’ Mike.

Ouma isn’t the only one with a story; many fighters have a story to tell, but most fighters are reminiscent of good actors with a poorly written script. The talent is there, but the talent isn’t enough to make the show bigger. The personality and resilience of this Ugandan native are ones that can carry the script further, but that won’t be enough. He would love to finally get a long and well deserved opportunity at universally recognized junior middleweight champion Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright. A victory there would enhance this figure and further enhance the story.

Many have actually heard of the Kassim Ouma story, but the problem is most haven’t. For those that have, spread the word. The Kassim Ouma story isn’t over yet; the saga has just begun; chapters are still to be written; scenes are still to be put into place; just sit back and enjoy the show.
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