Mark Kram Sr., 69; Sportswriter Wrote Book About Ali

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Mark Kram Sr., 69, a boxing writer for Sports Illustrated in the 1960s and ‘70s who wrote “Ghosts of Manila,” a controversial book on Muhammad Ali, died Friday at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., of a heart attack.

Born in Baltimore, Kram attended the University of Georgia before returning to his hometown. During the 1960s, he worked at the Baltimore Sun as a sports feature writer before moving on to Sports Illustrated, where he covered Ali for 11 years.

He covered Ali’s three fights with Joe Frazier and later wrote “Ghosts of Manila,” which debunked some of the positive images of Ali as being an important social and political force.

After leaving Sports Illustrated in 1977, Kram wrote for the magazines Esquire, Playboy and Gentleman’s Quarterly.


He covered the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight in Memphis and had recently signed a contract with Harpers Collins Publishers to write a book about Tyson.