Breaking news sport about Muhammad Ali’s death brought sorrow to his fans all over the world. Ali is well-loved by people not only because of the power he displayed inside the ring, but also because of his views in life.
Basic Facts about Muhammad Ali
He was known as Muhammad Ali to many, but he was born and raised as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. At the age of 12, he started his amateur training for boxing. He made a name fast and by the age of 18, he already had two national titles for Amateur Athletic Union and two Golden Gloves. It was also during this time when the 1960 Summer Olympics at Rome happened and he was able to take home the gold medal for light heavyweight division. Clay converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali saying that Cassius Clay was his slave name.
The Story of How Ali Became “The Greatest”
Ali’s career inside the ring started accidentally when his bicycle was stolen when he was twelve. The local police officer Joe Martin, who is also a boxing trainer, suggested Clay that is it better to learn how to fight first before dealing with the thief. As he progressed in his career, the folk at his hometown showed their support to him, but otherwise is true outside Kentucky. His talking big about his abilities paved way for people to call him the “Louisville Lip”. It was not long before he had proven that his claims are true when he had beaten the heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in the 1964. He declared that he is the greatest after a technical knockout on the sixth round was proclaimed. It was not long when he began referring to himself as “The Greatest”.
To start, he was an 18-year old gold medalist in the Rome Olympics in the 1960. Ali managed to defeat all the top heavyweight contenders during his time, which is considered as the golden age of heavyweight category in boxing. He had won three world championships under the heavyweight division in the years 1964, 1974, and 1978. In total, he won 56 out of 61 matches that he had. The “Fighter of the Year” and the “Fight of the Year” recognition was given to him more times compared to other fighters. Most of all, he was the athlete that is well-known and inspired people even with out of the ring issues involving politics and activism.
The Greatest Decision to Join the Nation of Islam
Even in the 1960’s African Americans are still experiencing discrimination where denial of service on dining establishments is common. Despite Ali’s success in the world of sports, he is still not exempted from the discrimination against African Americans. He joined the Nation of Islam but only revealed it after he got the heavyweight title from Liston. Such information appalled the white American population as reported in the news sport.
Deeper Involvement in Activism
He did not stopped there and further caused controversy when he refused to fight during the Vietnam War saying that he has no fight with the Vietnamese. This act caused him to be banned for three years in sports and a five-year sentence in the prison, but the latter was pardoned after his appeal. Despite his sanctions and loss in potential earnings, he continued to propagate his belief about the hypocrisy in America where they are more concerned with Vietnam War rather than the rights of the African Americans.
The Legacy’s Life After Retirement
His loss to Trevor Berbick, a 27 years old boxer from Jamaica, marked his retirement in the boxing industry. However, he continued his activism by being supporter of humanitarian causes even after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He remained active as much as he can that he even received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the year 2005. His illness however finally took its toll on his body on the latter years that forced him to be confined at home.
Ali’s Final Parade
He battled against Parkinson’s disease for 32 years and finally succumbed to it on June 3, 2016. His cherry-red casket was watched over by more than 100,000 fans who lined up in Louisville streets while it made its way to Ali’s final destination at the Cave Hill National Cemetery. Many felt the loss of a man like Ali who stood up for what he believes is right.
Ali indeed is a legacy that sports fan or not will never forget. His contributions inside and outside the ring are unforgettable and will forever guide the next generation. The world is saddened when it was confirmed in the sport news site that Ali passed away.