The world reacted to the death of Muhammad Ali, a man who became well known by many around the world not just because he fought in the ring as a professional boxer but more because he fought outside the ring as someone who embraced egalitarianism. He believed everyone should be treated right and equally regardless of religion and colour, he despise racism . He strongly believed in himself as a young boxer of age 12 till he died. He called himself the greatest and many believed in him.
A critical look at Muhammad Ali’s life, explains how his belief and determination took him to great heights in his career and made him the prettiest, the brashest, the baddest, the fastest, the loudest,and the rashest.His life outside the ring inspired the strongest adjectives as he believed strongly in equality and fought religious and political causes to prove this.
Muhammad Ali, one of the most influential athletes in American history and a three-time heavyweight champion who fought as well with his mouth and mind died at age 74.
The Associated Press, citing a statement from his family, said Ali died Friday,June 3,2016. He was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week.
A private funeral is scheduled for Thursday in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. On Friday, a procession will carry Ali’s body’s through the city, followed by a memorial service open to the public at the KFC YUM! Center, the AP reported.
As an egalitarian, he openly attacked American racism at a time when the nation’s black athletes and celebrities were expected to acquiesce, to thank the white power structure that gave them the opportunity to earn wealth and celebrity, and to otherwise keep their mouths shut. Ali’s mouth was seldom shut. He joined the Nation of Islam at a time when the FBI and many journalists labeled the Muslim group a dangerous cult bent on destroying America. He challenged the legitimacy of the Vietnam War and refused to enlist in the military at a time when few prominent Americans were protesting, an act of civil disobedience that led to his suspension from boxing for more than three years
He was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Ky., the son of a sign painter and a domestic worker. His paternal grandfather, Herman Clay, was a convicted murderer. His paternal great-grandfather, in all likelihood, was a slave.
The young Cassius Clay was a poor student who struggled to read the printed word, probably as a result of dyslexia, according to his wife, Lonnie Ali. He discovered his talent for boxing by accident, at the age of 12, when he told a police officer that his bicycle had been stolen. The police officer invited Cassius to join a group of young boxers, black and white, who trained at a gymnasium in downtown Louisville.
Team sports held little interest for Cassius, according to his brother, Rahman Ali, who was born Rudolph Clay. Cassius couldn’t stand the notion of wearing a helmet where his face would be obscured or being one of only 10 men on a basketball court or 22 men on a football field.
Cassius wanted nothing more than to be famous, according to his childhood friend, Owen Sitgraves of Louisville, who remembered Ali jogging to Central High School every day beside the bus that carried his classmates.
“He did it for the attention,” not just the exercise, Sitgraves said in a recent interview. In 1960, while taking time off from high school, 18-year-old Cassius Clay won the gold medal as a light heavyweight at the Olympic Games in Rome. He turned professional soon after and won his first 19 fights before earning a chance to fight for the heavyweight championship against Charles “Sonny” Liston in 1964. Liston was the most feared fighter of his time, and reporters covering the fight predicted almost unanimously that Cassius Clay would lose.
When the fight began, however, reporters saw instantly that Cassius Clay was not only bigger than Liston, he was also much faster. Cassius attacked with relentless jabs and combinations until the sixth round, when Liston quit.
“I am the greatest!” the new champion shouted into the microphone of radio reporter Howard Cosell. “I am the greatest! I am the king of the world!”
The boxer said he would abandon his so-called slave name and accept the name Muhammad Ali, which had been chosen for him by Elijah Muhammad. As Cassius Clay, the boxer had been deemed a loudmouth who didn’t know his place and didn’t comport himself with the dignity expected of sports heroes. Now, as Muhammad Ali, he was something more threatening. “I pity Clay and abhor what he represents,” wrote Jimmy Cannon, one of the most influential sportswriters of the time. “In the years of hunger during the Depression, the Communists used famous people the way the Black Muslims are exploiting Clay. This is a sect that deforms the beautiful purpose of religion.”
But many black Americans, even those who didn’t embrace the Nation of Islam, saw in Ali a man who was willing to fight outside the ring. “What white America demands in her black champions,” the Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver said, “is a brilliant, powerful body, and a dull, bestial mind—a tiger in the ring and a pussycat outside the ring.”
Muhammad Ali changed that. He became one of the most talked-about men in the world. He criticized Dr. King and other leaders of the civil-rights movement for their timidity. He traveled to Africa and the Middle East, where he was cheered not only for his boxing fame but also for his embrace of Islam. And, in 1967, he stood in opposition to the Vietnam War, refusing to be drafted. On the one hand, he claimed his objection was political;a black man ought not fight for a country that continued to treat him as a second-class citizen.
Courts rejected both arguments, judging him guilty of draft evasion. Boxing officials denied him licenses to fight for more than three years. By the time the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali’s conviction, the war in Vietnam had grown wildly unpopular, with protests erupting all over the country, and Ali’s bold anti-establishment stance made him a hero even among people who cared nothing for boxing.
In his return to boxing, he lost to Joe Frazier in his first attempt at reclaiming the heavyweight championship. He lost again two years later to Ken Norton, defeated Joe Frazier in a 1974 rematch, and then earned the chance to regain his championship in a fight against George Foreman, who was considered the most devastating puncher the sport had seen since Sonny Liston. In the fight against Foreman, which was held in Zaire, Ali was once again a heavy underdog. Once again, he defied expectations. But while he had been too fast for Sonny Liston in 1964, 10 years later Ali didn’t rely on speed. Instead, he let one of the most powerful punchers in boxing history pound away until Foreman’s arms grew weary and his hope of a quick knockout faded.
Muhammad Ali looks on after knocking down defending heavyweight champion George Foreman in the eighth round of their 1974 championship bout in Kinshasa, Zaire.
“I thought I would knock him out,” Foreman recalled in a recent interview. “I creamed Ken Norton, and Joe Frazier with ease. I thought this would be the easiest of all of them. I had no idea that this guy would be competitive. I beat him up, beat him up, and he survived…Most guys you hit them and they fight back but he covered up. Smartest boxer I ever been in the ring with.”
Once, Ali had described his style as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Now he called his strategy “the rope-a-dope,” and he would rely on it in the late stage of his career, absorbing an increasing number of punches.
He lost his title to Leon Spinks in 1978, regained it in a rematch with Spinks later that same year and then announced his retirement.
Reading through Muhammad Ali’s biography, his never giving up spirit and love for equality can be traced out. With strong believe in himself he jumped many hurdles and broke records. When he had challenges in his career, he never gave up, he continued striving till he got on top of his game again before retiring.
He also fought against racism and for his religion. Its not just enough to see Muhammad Ali has a hero but rather taking a clue from his life. Believe in yourself,never give up despite challenges, be positive in every situation you find yourself and put all your trust in God then you see yourself achieving things you thought you cant.