Unformatted text preview: Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali has been crowned the ‘Greatest
Sportsman of the Century’ by the BBC and ‘Sports
Illustrated’. So why is Ali so highly regarded by people
all over the world? Why do so many sports fans
consider him the ‘greatest?’
Ali was born Cassius Clay in 1942 in Louisiana, USA.
He took up boxing after a police officer found him
fuming at the loss of his stolen bike, and advised him to
let off steam constructively.
He won the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome,
though after being refused entry to a whites-only
restaurant, he is said to have thrown it into the Ohio
river. Muhammad Ali
Muhammad ‘If you dream of beating me, you better wake up and apologise.’ Ali’s first professional title fight was against Sonny Liston. Noone expected this young upstart to stay the distance with the
formidable champion, but Ali knocked Liston out, and
announced to the TV cameras, ‘I shook up the world!’
announced Muhammad Ali
Muhammad In 1964, Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali. ‘Cassius
Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am
Muhammad Ali, a free man…’
‘What’s my name, fool? What’s my name?’ Ali to Ernie Terrell during
their 1967 fight. Terrell had refused to call him Ali.
Ali joins the Nation of Islam, and in 1967, after only 21 minutes
deliberation, Ali is found guilty of a serious felony for refusing to be
conscripted into the US Army to fight the Vietnam War. Explaining his
decision, Ali points out that, ‘I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.
They never called me a nigger.’
They Muhammad Ali
Muhammad ‘Hating people because of their colour is wrong, and it doesn’t matter
which colour does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.’
which Ali returned to boxing in 1970. The 70s were perhaps Ali’s most
famous years. He fought Joe Frazier (‘Frazier is so ugly that when he
cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head’) in the
so-called ‘Fight of the Century’ in Madison Square Garden. Frazier
won, though Ali was to beat him in two further bouts, one of which, the
‘Thrilla in Manila’, went 15 rounds. Afterwards, Ali was to say that he
had experienced ‘what death feels like.’
Ali’s most famous bout was however, the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’
against the mighty George Foreman. Again, no-one gave Ali a hope of
winning. Foreman was feared throughout the boxing world; his
previous 8 fights had not gone beyond the 2nd round!
previous ‘Service to others is the rent you
pay for your room here on earth.’
pay Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali again ‘shook up the world,’ ‘dancing’ around Foreman until the
champion was exhausted. Then Ali moved in and stopped Foreman for
a sensational knockout!
sensational Ali’s legendary status was now assured. He fought again, and retained
the World Heavyweight Title more than any other champion in boxing
history. Muhammad Ali
Muhammad ‘I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale;
handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week I murdered
a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I’m so mean I make
medicine In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The symptoms
include tremors, a tightening of the muscles, and slowness of
movement and speech. However, Ali remains a public figure, praised around the globe for his
mastery of the sport of boxing, for standing up for what he believes,
and for his courage in fighting the disease that now afflicts him. His
daughter also boxes, carrying on the Ali name within the ring.
Now watch these clips of him fighting, and see for yourselves what all
the fuss was about!
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- Winter '08