“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”
That was the man Muhammed Ali, he had a way with words. Though he was known for being quite braggadocious he also had some words of wisom. Quotes such as “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” and “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life” showed his depth.
Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on January 17th, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky he was considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in the history of the sport. While he was quite controversial he backed up his claims of being “The Greatest” by showing he was an excellent boxer and soon earned respect for his views on religious freedom and racial justice.
The young Ali started training at the age of 12 and by the time he was 22 has alread won the world heavyweight championship. It was shortly after that match that he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammed Ali rejecting Cassius as a “slave name”. He however courted the most controversy when he refused to be conscripted into the U.S. Army based on his religious and personal convictions. As a result he was arrested, charged and convicted of draft evasion, eventually his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court.
Professionally Ali was the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; as he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Some of the historic fights he was involved in were with his rivals Joe Frazier and George Foreman. However apart from his boxing skills what stood him out was how he spoke freely on issues totally unconncted with boxing. He was proud of his race and never failed to let the world know.
Muhammed Ali showed that personal affirmation and personal conviction were values to be admired. He trained hard and was truly a legend in the boxing world and beyond.In a time when managers did most of the talking bold Muhammed took charge and did things his way by shaping what he wanted the world to know about him.
Muhammed passed away on June 3rd, 2016 at the age of 74 after battling respiratory illness complicated by Parkinsons. He will be buried in Louisville, Kentucky. RIP Muhammed Ali!