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Floats Like A Butterball...

And in this corner, weighing in at 75 pounds, The Voluminous Volume, The Intense Expense, The Objet D'Art With Lotsa Heart...''GOAT: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali.'' If you care enough to give the very grandest, order up a copy of Taschen Books' homage to the slugger from Louisville for delivery in spring 2004. (Its title is an acronym for ''greatest of all time,'' as the ever-modest pugilist has identified himself.) Be impressed: ''GOAT'''s 3,000 images and 600,000 words include the work of photo legends like Neil Leifer and Harry Benson as well as New Journalism masters like Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese. Be wary: Twenty inches square and 792 pages deep, it will make the recipient's coffee table groan. (In 1999, when German publisher Benedikt Taschen last put out such a maxi-opus, Helmut Newton's 66-pound ''SUMO,'' he had the decency to throw in a stand.) Be rich: The first 1,000 copies, accompanied by an Ali-inspired Jeff Koons sculpture, go for $7,500; the next 9,000 for a mere three grand. Taschen, who casually likens ''GOAT'' to the Gutenberg Bible, started working on his baby four years ago. ''Elephants carry about 20 months,'' he says. '''GOAT' was 48.'' And Daddy knows exactly what his target market is: ''Ali is a hero, especially to all these big shots. Ja?''

Originally posted Dec 19, 2003 Published in issue #742 Dec 19, 2003 Order article reprints