Tuesday, November 8, 2011

World Boxing Association Event 8-27-1976 At The Shoreham Hotel In Washington D.C. Howard Cosell Was The M.C. Every Living Heavyweight Champion Except George Foreman Came And I Got Autographs From Joe Frazier And Muhammad Ali

The Shoreham Hotel Washington D.C. 2500 Calvert Street N.W.

You can find the photo described below by clicking on the link below and clicking on Events.

Row 1. Box 3. I AM THE GREATEST!!! said Muhammad Ali at the WBA 55th Annual Convention at the Shoreham Americana Hotel in Washington D. C. as Howard Cossell looks on. Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali, 2/25/64 to 3/22/67 (stripped of his title by the WBA and others for refusing military service because of his religious beliefs) - 10/ 30/74 to 2/15/78 and 9/15/78 to retirement in 1979 - First heavyweight champion to hold title 3 times in boxing history. Photo by Milton Williams c. 8.27.1976.

The above photograph of Bob Dylan and Ali was taken in another place at another time.

Joe Frazier just died. He was 67 years old. I got his autograph when I worked at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. in August 1976.
   He was there for a big World Boxing Association Event. Howard Cosell was the M.C. More than a 1000 people came to the event held in the large Regency Ballroom. Every single living heavy weight champion was there except George Foreman. The ones who came that I remember were Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis,  Jersey Joe Walcott, Ken Norton and Floyd Patterson.
I saw all these champions lined up in the hallway outside of the Regency Ballroom waiting to go in.

Joe Frazier and Muhammed Ali in line waiting to go in the event. Click on these photos to enlarge them to view them better. Photo by Joe B. Stewart

The above photo is of a young Joe Frazier.
   I got Ali's autograph in the Lobby of the Shoreham Hotel the next day. He was standing in the Lobby all alone. No one else was around. I said, "Hi Champ. Can I have your autograph?" He signed his name on a small piece of paper which I handed to him. Then I said "I saw you had your picture taken with Bob Dylan." He nodded yes.

Above is the Muhammad Ali autograph that he gave me in the Lobby of the Shoreham Hotel in 1976.
The night of the event after it was over I saw Joe Frazier sitting with two pretty young women one on each side of him on a couch in the hallway off the lobby. I went up to him and said hello. I told him my daughter has asked me to get his autograph for her. I told him I had told her I was going to get Ali's autograph and my daughter said "Get Joe Frazier's autograph too". The two women both said "Yes". I got Joe 's autograph and gave it to my daughter.
   Howard Cosell was a great M.C. for the event. He joked and traded insults with Ali. Cosell told Ali "I knew you when you were a kid in Louisville,Ky. stealing bicycles".
 Two photos below taken after the event. Both are of Ken Norton. I look on.