Thursday, 10 November 2016

Muhammad Ali

           Muhammad Ali
                  (1942 –2016 )                 
 “I’m not the gr atest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round. “ Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was born in January 17, 1942. He was an Olympic and World Champion boxer, who also had a unique personality, based on self-belief and strong religious and political convictions.  In 1999, Muhammad Ali was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated. He was a American Boxer. He won the World Heavyweight Boxing championship three times, and won the North American Boxing Federation championship as well as an Olympic Gold Medal.
Muhammad Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay,  Sr. , who was named for the 19th century abolitionist and politician Cassius Clay. His real name was Cassius Clay. Muhammad Ali later changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam and subsequently converted to Sunni Islam in 1975.

Early Boxing Career

Muhammad Ali had a highly unorthodox style for a heavyweight boxer. Rather than the normal boxing style of carrying the hands high to defend the face, he instead relied on his ability to avoid a punch. In Louisville, October 29, 1960, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) won his first professional fight. He won a six-round decision over Tunney Hunsaker, who was the police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia. From 1960 to 1963, the young fighter amassed a record of 19-0, with 15 knockouts. He defeated such boxers as Tony Esperti, Jim Robinson, Donnie Fleeman, Alonzo Johnson, George Logan, Willi Besmanoff, Lamar Clark (who had won his previous 40 bouts by knockout), Doug Jones, and Henry Cooper. Among Clay’s (Muhammad Ali) victories were versus Sonny Banks (who knocked him down during the bout), Alejandro Lavorante, and the aged Archie Moore (a boxing legend who had fought over 200 previous fights, and who had been Clay’s (Muhammad Ali) trainer prior to Angelo Dundee).
Clay won a disputed 10 round decision over Doug Jones, who, despite being lighter than Clay, staggered Clay as soon as the fight started with a right hand, and beat Clay to the punch continually during the fight. The fight was named “Fight of the Year” for 1963. Clay’s (Muhammad Ali) next fight was against Henry Cooper, who knocked Clay down with a left hook near the end of the fourth round. The fight was stopped in the 5th round due to a deep cut on Cooper’s face.
Despite these close calls against Doug Jones and Henry Cooper, he became the top contender for Sonny Liston’s title. In spite of Clay’s (Muhammad Ali)  impressive record, he was not expected to beat the champ. The fight was to be held on February 25, 1964 in Miami, Florida. During the weigh-in on the previous day, the ever-bashful Ali—who frequently taunted Liston during the buildup by dubbing him “the big ugly bear”, among other things—declared that he would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee,” and, in summarizing his strategy for avoiding Liston’s assaults, said, “Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.”


In 1970, Muhammad Ali was finally able to get a boxing license. With the help of a State Senator, he was granted a license to box in Georgia because it was the only state in America without a boxing commission.
Vietnam puts a pause in Muhammad Ali’s career
Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the early 1980s, following which his motor functions began a slow decline. Although Muhammad Ali’s doctors disagreed during the 1980's and 1990's about whether his symptoms were caused by boxing and whether or not his condition was degenerative, he was ultimately diagnosed  with Pugilistic Parkinson’s syndrome.

By late 2005 it was reported that Muhammad Ali’s condition was notably worsening. According to  the documentary When We Were Kings, when Muhammad Ali was asked about whether he has any regrets about boxing due to his disability, he responded that if he didn’t box he would still be a painter in Louisville, Kentucky.
Despite the disability, he remains a beloved and active public figure. Recently he was voted into Forbes Celebrity 100 coming in at number 13 behind Donald Trump. In 1985, he served as a guest referee at the inaugural WrestleMania event. In 1987 he was selected by the California Bicentennial Foundation for the U.S. Constitution to personify the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights in various high profile activities.

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs? 

In "The Fight of the Century" Frazier eventually won the fight and retained the title with a unanimous decision, dealing Muhammad Ali his first professional loss. Despite an impressive performance, Muhammad Ali may have still been suffering from the effects of “ring rust” due to his long layoff.
In 1973, after a string of victories over top Heavyweight opposition in a campaign to force a rematch with Frazier, Muhammad Ali split two bouts with Ken Norton.

Muhammad Ali in retirement

In 2001, a biographical film, entitled Muhammad Ali, was made, with Will Smith starring as Muhammad Ali. The film received mixed reviews, with the positives generally attributed to the acting, as Smith and supporting actor Jon Voight earned Academy Award nominations. Prior to making the Muhammad Ali movie, Will Smith had continually rejected the role of Muhammad Ali until Muhammad Ali personally requested that he accept the role. According to Smith, the first thing Muhammad Ali said about the subject to Smith was: “You ain’t pretty enough to play me”.

According to the Muhammad Ali Center website, “Since he retired from boxing, Muhammad Ali has devoted himself to humanitarian endeavors around the globe. He is a devout Sunni Muslim, and travels the world over, lending his name and presence to hunger and poverty relief, supporting education efforts of all kinds, promoting adoption and encouraging people to respect and better understand one another. It is estimated that he has helped to provide more than 22 million meals to feed the hungry. Muhammad Ali travels, on average, more than 200 days per year.”

Muhammad Ali died on 3 June 2016, from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.

Will they ever have another fighter who writes poems, predicts rounds, beats everybody, makes people laugh, makes people cry and is as tall and extra pretty as me?

Muhammad Ali

No comments:

Post a Comment