Tony McDougall writes for Bleeding Cool
Comics are an extraordinary medium. Much more so than TV, film or prose it encourages us to think ‘what if…?’ However, perhaps the biggest strength that comics has over other mediums is to capture the moment. Sure, film can present motion in unparalleled ways and prose can make the reader fully aware of all the emotions and feeling within a narrative, but comics can show us that millisecond where the impact is at its greatest. It was with these two features in mind that I wrote The Fight We Never Saw – an alternative history tale where Muhammad Ali and Teofilo Stevenson finally meet – in the biggest fight of all time! I wanted to dream ‘what if…?’, and I wanted to capture a moment in time, that was sadly never to be.
Muhammad is someone that has always captured my imagination (not that I’m alone in that department). He is a man who many a time throughout his career did the impossible, and therefore, is comics with its capes and cowls not a perfect medium for such a man? Many of you out there however will not have heard of Teofilo – this is no slight on his greatness, it is merely a commentary on the perplexing political world of the 70s. Stevenson, while Ali ruled over the professional ranks, won three Olympic golds in a row in the heavyweight boxing division. So ‘why didn’t he turn pro and fight Ali?’ I hear you ask. Well, Teofilo was Cuban, and what’s more the pride of Castro’s Revolution, and due to his Communist beliefs could not be lured by the almighty dollar.
Now we’re getting to the heart of what I wanted to say with this book. Sure I would have loved have seen them fight and rest assured the fight is depicted in this tale, however this for me was a story about these men’s beliefs. Having been a fan of combat sports all my life, I’ve notice that elite level fighters don’t think like you and me. They need to be challenged, they need to know whether or not they are the very best and therein lies the crux of my story. Ali and Stevenson look out on all the other boxers in the world and know they could beat every single one of them but each thinks of the other ‘Could I beat him? Could I beat that guy?’ I came to realise that at times the knowledge of each others existence must have tortured each other. Each could just about live with loss as they did at times throughout their careers, but not knowing? That’s an entirely different beast.
If what I have said here sounds vaguely intriguing, please check out my Kickstarter campaign for the book. I’ve gone out of my way to provide a variety of pledge levels to suit all tastes and I do hope you fid the right level for you. No longer must you sacrifice all the other cool bits and bobs if you want the PDF digital download. No, now you too can have a book mark. If however you want a bit of shelf porn, then a beautiful hardcover is available. Have you always dreamed of meeting Ali? Well, this I can’t arrange, but pledge £100 and you can be drawn into the book along side the man, by the immensely talented Roel Palmaira.
So don’t just sit there, click on the link, tell you’re friends, tell your parents, but above all else if like me you want to dream ‘what if…?’ Please back this project.