In all of boxing history, Muhammad Ali stands alone. In early boasts, he
called himself 'The Greatest,' and by the time his storied career
came to an end, most fight fans agreed. Ali had also become the best-known
athlete in the world and, very possibly, the best loved as well. Cassius
Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. The son
of Cassius Marcellus Sr., a sign and mural painter, and Odessa Grady, a
housewife, Cassius may have been born 'junior,' but the eldest son
of the Clay family was destined for true greatness.
While a student at DuValle Junior High School and Central High, a young soon-to-be Muhammad Ali was always more interested in boxing rather than keeping his nose in the books. Actually, the theft of his bicycle is what led to his passion for boxing in the first place. Ali reported the theft of his bike to a policeman, who set him up with boxing trainer Fred Stoner.
Ali used Stoner's help to become a star boxer in his high school days, where he won 6 Kentucky championships, 2 national Golden Glove championships, and 2 Amateur Athletic Union Championships. Then at the age of 18, Ali went on to become an Olympic Gold medallist in the 1960 Rome Olympics. When he returned to his native Louisville, the light heavyweight champion became a professional boxer.
On February 25, 1964, Ali fought Sonny Liston in Miami, defeating Liston to win the Heavyweight Champion of the World. But the hype and attention worthy of the fight was not solely based on Ali's victory, rather his boastful lyrics and witty rhymes both in and out of the ring, even early on in his illustrious career. His ability 'to float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' garnered Ali attention as a graceful yet powerful boxer, and a confident (to say the least) person.
Not long after his championship, Ali began to make a difference on both political and racial fronts. He became openly disgusted with the racism towards African Americans in his own country, and displayed this anger by throwing his Olympic gold medal into a river in protest of the racism in America. Then in 1964, he converted to Islam, and was given the name that has gone down in history, Muhammad Ali.
'The Beloved of Allah' became a controversial figure outside of the ring not only because he converted to Islam, but also because he refused to be drafted, in protest to America's stance in the Vietnam War.
In May 1967, the World Boxing Association took away his boxing license and his title, and he was sentenced to 5 years in prison for violating the Selective Service Act. Finally released from prison on appeal, Ali returned to where he belonged: the boxing ring. There, he fought and defeated Jerry Quarry in 1970, but lost to Joe Frazier (the champion at the time) in 1971, after getting back his license. This would mark Ali's first defeat as a professional boxer.
But with defeat comes victory, and Ali used his smarts to outwit and ultimately 'outplay' the younger and stronger George Foreman (who had earned the heavyweight champion title from Frazier). The 'Rumble in the Jungle' was held in Kinshasa, Zaire, where Ali used the 'rope-a-dope' method, consisting of him saving his energy and taking punches until the 8th round, where Ali retaliated with all his pent up energy to regain the title.
Then in 1975, Ali fought Joe Frazier in the 'Thrilla in Manila', marking a win for Ali (and a chance for him to avenge his former loss against Frazier). Three years later, Ali lost the title to Leon Spinks, and won the title for a third time. Finally, Ali retired on June 26, 1979.
But after his retirement, the 38-year old returned to the ring to earn some more money. He fought and lost to Larry Holmes for the World Boxing Council title, and was defeated by Trevor Berbick. Now he was finally retired, with 59 victories and an astonishing total of 5 defeats.
After having retired from professional boxing, Muhammad Ali went through difficult times. His health was cause of serious concerns among his fans and family. Fatigue, lack of concentration, and an occasionally occurring slurred speech finally led to Ali undergoing a series of medical checks in New York.
After the eight day examination, supervised by professor of neurology Stanley Fahn, the public was told that Ali showed 'mild symptoms' of Parkinson's Syndrome which is a neurological disorder causing, among other things, a tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity of muscles. It was also said that Ali's life was not in danger due to this disease that possibly could be treated successfully.
Muhammad Ali appeared on global stage in 1990 when he freed fifteen US hostages from the Iraq during the gulf crisis. Negotiations were eased by his being muslim (which however doesn't narrow this success).
Ali was once again the Greatest in 1996 when he lit the Olympic fire in Atlanta. The confident way he presented himself despite trembling heavily impressed millions around the globe. Fifteen years after his retirement and twelve years after his being diagnosed of Parkinson, he celebrated an impressing comeback on the stage of sport.
Ali, a man who was not only more successful in boxing than anyone before and after, but also influenced thousands of people in America and around the globe by courageously standing up for his personal and religious beliefs.
Ultimele referate adaugate
- Mihai beniuc - „poezii"
- Mihai eminescu - student la berlin
- Mircea Eliade - Mioara Nazdravana (mioriţa)
- Chirita in provintie de Vasile Alecsandri -expunerea subiectului
- Dragoste de viata de Jack London
|Ion Luca Caragiale
- Triumful talentului… (reproducere) de Ion Luca Caragiale
- Fantasticul in proza lui Mircea Eliade - La tiganci
- „Personalitate creatoare” si „figura a spiritului creator” eminescian
- Enigma Otiliei de George Calinescu - geneza, subiectul si tema romanului
- Arta literara in romanul Ion, - Liviu Rebreanu