Letters to the Editor

Muhammad Ali made a secret, fictional fight movie in Miami

Ali and Marciano with Gordon/
Ali and Marciano with Gordon/ Courtesy of Ruth Gordon

In the late 1960s until January 1971, there was a secret project that was being filmed here in Miami. It was a fight between Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano.

The two were the only living heavyweight champions who never fought each other because Marciano had retired and was much older than Ali.

Local movie and radio producer Murray Woroner decided to feed their statistics into a new form of technology — a computer — to get a play-by-play fight if they had ever been able to do so. My dad, Irving Whitman, was the attorney on the project.

The two fighters agreed to reenact the computerized version of that fight — never knowing who would win because several endings were filmed so they wouldn’t even know the outcome of the fight.

As a teenager working at Woroner Productions, then in South Miami, my job was to put together press packets, mailings, that sort of thing.., I worked on that project from 1969-1971 behind closed doors, after school, and breaks and summers. My job was doing anything that needed done: getting lunch; keeping the media away; answering phones; doing errands and then eventually, once word got out of the fight, I dealt with the media, answering questions, making appointments for interviews, controlling visits of VIPs on the set.

The secret project became known as Marciano vs Ali: The Greatest Fight, a one-night only showing around the country seen in large auditoriums and theaters. People paid to see the fight and bet on it in Las Vegas. Sadly, Marciano died in a plane crash right before the fight aired nationally.

My dad recently passed away. His copy of the fight was on reel-to-reel and it was ruined by Hurricane Andrew, but several years ago I found him a copy on Amazon. Today, you can see the fight on YouTube, where it has six million views.

Ruth Gordon, Kendall