Muhammad Ali

To the world, Muhammad Ali, the man
referred to the greatest men in the world. He is arguably the best boxer in the
world because of his accomplishments in the ring. His skill and precision in
the trade were unique. This was unmatched by anyone. Muhammad Ali as he came to
be known was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. This occurred in Louisville,
Kentucky in 1942. He is renowned for his utterances and the major appearances
he made on the ring in various bouts. Cassius Clay was born into a Catholic
family who really was interested in what he did and in a large sense, this
propelled him to the figure he became. This was true because Ali’s mother,
Odessa Clay taught him about God at a very young age bearing in mind that she
was a Baptist. This made him have the understanding of life together with the
importance of treating everyone equally; this is one of the things that angered
him when he saw Black Americans being mistreated.

Steve Bunce, a boxing journalist,
described Ali as a great person born to a community (white and black) with the
deep-rooted tension between them and disregard for each other. He talks more
about his upbringing and how it determined what he did at an early age even
though he was not into doing them, this he explains with the way he participated
in the Baptist church by singing in the choir. Another very unnatural thing
that is explained in the documentary on Ali is the way which he forced his
brother to throw stones at him into practice. Through this, it really shows how
Ali was passionate about the trade with the aim of improving his boxing skills
by trying hard not to be hit by any of the stones and thereby improving his
moves/reflexes in the process. A very astonishing admission from his brother
Rudy is that in the process of throwing stones at him, however, is that none of
them ever hit the revered champion. This proves his mastery of reflexes and was
well replicated in the ring by the way which he performed. This drive from the
beginning of his childhood showed how he wanted to do this and was ready to
take it to a whole new level by just practicing hard and somewhat dangerously
from when he was young.

At only twelve years of age, it
incidentally happened that he met up with one person that totally changed his
life. This was, Joe Morton. This happened one day when his most prized
possession was stolen, a bicycle. He was so charged up that he was ready to
beat up the person who had done this injustice to him. Enraged, he went to
report the case to the police station and by chance/ luck met Morton in the
station. In order to calm down the young kid, Morton told him that if his real
intentions were to fight with whoever had stolen his bicycle he really needed
to learn the art of boxing. With this agreement being sealed, Morton took Ali
to a local gym whereby he trained him. From this point on is where Muhammad
Ali’s journey in boxing started off. At the gym, he was found to be really
talented in this sport and was so determined to know everything. This
disciplined and hardworking oung boy’ as Morton favorably described him as
he hardest working kid he had ever known and his hard work paid off
handsomely in huge dividends.’ By this Ali can well be described as the ant
which always fights on to gain reserves for itself no matter the season or difficulty.
This is what really impressed his coach.

As Julius Francis describes him in
the documentary; the anger he had that he had lost his bike ended gaining him a
lot as he found solace in what he really loved and went on to keep winning in
all his bouts. From the interaction that he had earlier had with his coach to
be at the station he went on to inform his parents of what he really wanted to
engage himself in the gym.His parents were relieved and happy knowing that
their kid would be engaged in something instead of him running around putting
himself and even the family in danger. With the being able to dissuade him from
engaging in violent activity in order to gain his bike back and giving him an
opportunity to do something else that was great, Ali was happy and even changed
up his mind to the issue and deciding that he could just borrow his friend’s
bicycle at any moment. He focused his time and energy therefore at the gym and
in boxing.

From his endeavors at the gym, Ali
started to engage himself in amateur boxing. This where people in Louisville
started to take note of this kid and his talent. He was such a great fighter at
this stage showing how serious he was in the trade and proving all people where
his adrenaline in life came from, boxing. All through in his amateur career Ali
participated in 108 fights losing only a single bout. This was an incredible
record at such a tender age and with the know-how of how murky this world was,
it showed that he was ready for anything and would do the unthinkable to get
there. This proved how skilled, driven and fast fighter he was. This scale in
boxing, however, marked the start of such an important stage in Ali’s career
because it showed that not only was he disciplined but also focused; he really
knew where he was going and with fire in his belly and ready to conquer the
world, nobody would stop him. He was unstoppable!

With time Ali went ahead to do was to
advance his accomplishments in the ring by winning six Kentucky golden glove
tournaments. This really showed his adeptness and vigor at stopping at nothing
but the best in the world of boxing. The other thing that proved how Ali was
ready to do big things in the world of boxing is through these fetes which
opened up his turf to be able to get various boxing tournaments even in the
world. At this tournaments, Ali was being paid a paltry 4$. This proved that he
was not there for the money or for the fame that came with it. This was his
passion and unwavering spirit that made him go on to such great heights with
very little at the start. As a result of his winnings at the various
tournaments, Ali went ahead to be selected in the team that would represent the
United States of America at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. At this point in Ali’s
life was when the world was ready to recognize him for his skills in the boxing
ring. Many people think of Ali as a man with no frailties especially with what
they came to know his later life. This is well illustrated with him being in a
position of not to fear anything, even the most daring of his opponents.
However, this was not the case with the younger Ali who at the time they were
flying in the plane to participate in the Rome Olympics; he was really scared
of the flight that all through the flight he had knelt down on the aisle of the
plane for prayers.

Although he was very fearful of his
flight to Rome which could have made him not to participate in the Olympics.
Muhammad Ali went ahead and won a gold medal.This is the most remarkable fete that made him relevant to the scene of
boxing. Some of the European media houses were in a frenzy to know who indeed
Cassius Clay Jnr was and why he had such a different way of boxing. This
chapter in his life occurred when Ali was just eighteen years of age, a very
young age that earned him such an important place in the history of boxing.
This proved that anger and passion he had that was brought into the forefront
in the form of boxing gained him a lot of acclaims only six years after he had
lost his bike; the most prized of his possession, the bicycle, that he had lost
gained him a lot of praise.

The other most impressive thing about
Ali is that he proved a lot of people wrong especially the European countries
which initially were the best in this spot were disgraced by an American at such
a young age. He had a winning streak from the Kentucky tournament, the European
championship and then to the Rome Olympic. This made some of the European
boxers seem like tatues’ in front of such a young boy. Upon his biggest win,
the Olympics, Muhammad Ali returned back home a national champion. This gained
him a parade from the American Olympic Association. This was however not the
same to all the communities in the USA as some saw him as nothing but a black
man whom they did not want to be associated with. This really disturbed him as
he did not find a reason as to why some communities especially the whites
thought they were more superior or deserving than the black men.

With the fame that he had on
returning to his country on winning a gold medal being over. At a certain
time.Muhammad Ali and a friend went to
a restaurant that was only meant for the whites in Kentucky and they wanted him
out of the place for they would not serve him. This really dismayed Ali. It is
assumed that this humiliation forced Ali to take the gold medal that he had won
in Rome and threw it in River Ohio. This is because he saw that he really did
not mean anything to others in the country even after he had received a lot of
celebrations upon winning it.

Muhammad Ali then went on to append
his signature on his very first contract with Louisville Sporting Group that
pledged to sustain him in his boxing career. With this contract came a payment
of $100000 to get him into their label. This was such a huge amount of money
then.

This contract brought to forth
another side of Ali; he loved people and majorly his family. From this
paycheck, he went on to buy his mother a pink Cadillac. From this time on Ali
was now supported to go up the ladder of his boxing career. The major achievement
of his contract was that he was able to coax legendary coach Angelo Dundee.
This was the collaboration that would go on to reform the boxing world. This
was after he was dismissed by Sugar Ray Robinson, another great boxing trainer.
This is because of Ali’s other character outside the ring of championing for
people rights and being involved in activism. This to him did not make him a
suitable candidate. However, they later on met and Robinson saw what a huge
potential that Muhammad Ali had. With Dundee by his side, he went on to become
arguably the greatest boxer who has ever lived.

From interacting with another
interesting figure in his boxing journey, Muhammad Ali went to develop another
side of him, an identity that helped him advance his boxing career; this is
rash-talk’. This figure that helped Ali churn out this infectious personality
was Gorgeous George. This brought a new era in boxing characterized with loud
talk, sound bites, showmanship and chest thumping; a very different element of
boxing which was earlier on very reserved and cool. A chance availed itself and
in the year 1963, Ali, traveled to London to fight Henry Cooper at Wembley
Stadium; this fight gave him the much-required exposure. This was a fight
against a more experienced boxer but in the tail end of the fourth round, Ali
had a knock-out from Cooper’s legendary left arm, the Henry’s hammer. However,
with that setback, Ali still went to the ring and hit Cooper a strong blow to
his cheeks that resulted in bleeding. This episode is characterized by what Ali
said; that he hit him so hard that his forefathers in Africa felt the blow.

From this encounter, Ali went home
still undefeated and had the utmost respect for Copper until his last days on
earth. From this fight and many others, his winnings stood at nineteen with no
loses. This startling record thus went on to earn him a chance in the ring with
the much dreaded heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston. He continuously threatened
Liston from his ring and even to his home. This really bothered Liston to the
extent of wondering why a youngster had such courage to confront him. This
overconfidence of this fight from Ali’s camp was brushed away with many as
Sonny Liston thinking it would be an easy fight. Ali went on to coin another
great punchline from his numerous trash talks on radio stations and all over in
relation to the bout that; he may be great that he will fall in eight!’

He was considered an underdog coming
into the race however it went on to become the biggest disappointment to the
fans of boxing. Liston on coming into the fight wanted to come up quick and
finish Ali out at first sight. However, Ali was very calm and recollected
playing around the ring. Liston coming into this bout had done a grand
miscalculation of trying to finish him out. He also forgot how mooth,
elusive, strong and built Ali was.’ Cassius on completion of the fourth round
went to his corner in the ring complaining of his eyes burning him. This was in
Ali’s recount as a consequence of Liston’s gloves having been smeared with some
cream. This really created problems in his eyes, a factor that is was not
accepted in the boxing arena. It was found out to be something that Liston had
been engaging in over his boxing career. Even though a very challenging issue
in terms of the fight. The sweat, tears that resulted from the bout, the oil
that was all over his face was washed away. It was in the sixth round that
Liston went to his corner and sat on his stool never to rise up again. This
happened in Miami Convention Centre and from this bout, other boxers can learn
how to best win a fight from a ully’ fighter. At the end of the bout, Ali
confirmed to the battery of journalists around that he was in this profession
to ake-out names’ and he meant business.

From the early 1960’s Muhammad Ali
was really involved with the greatest American activist, Malcolm X. He was a
Muslim leader who really was in the forefront of agitating human rights. This
partnership between them found a way into the media and rocked headlines. What
Malcolm X was talking about and what he stood against was very similar to what
fellow black people were undergoing and this really happened to for really
alarming Ali. This is because, this was what the ordinary black was undergoing
in the streets from segregation, slavery, and dislike. This made them be
friends and they frequented various social places together. From this
relationship, Ali in 1964 went ahead to join the Muslim fraternity. This was
highly controversial in the media and all circles. This announcement, however,
did not go well with many people including his very own coach Dundee; he saw
this as a danger to his rising popularity. With this, therefore, came the ever
unending monitoring of Ali by the FBI. This is what Dundee had foreseen. As a result
of his conversion to Islam, Ali refused to be referred to as Cassius Clay and
wanted only to be known as Muhammad Ali. He considered it as a slave-name and
from that time on did not want any association with it.

This really posed a huge challenge to
his boxing career because it really pushed people away from him. It would have
resulted in even the withdrawal of Ali’s sponsorship deals. However, Ali did
not really give a damn.In the year
1965, a great thing happened to his career. A rematch was organized between
Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston. It was in the first round that Ali demolished
Liston with a killer punch famously referred to as the hantom punch.’ This
was a punch straight to the chin. This was one of the most shocking defeats in
the history of American Sports. This bout he won ended making him the world
heavyweight champion.

In the year 1967, Ali was listed in
the US army. However, he failed to get in because of religious factors. This
was regrettably a bad decision because his boxing license was canceled and he
was stripped of all his titles won from his boxing career. All this happened
even before he was charged. This was the period when the USA was involved in
the Vietnam war presenting the very same reasons of his religious position. This
earned him a place in the stand and he was found guilty of defying the US
Selective Service Laws in Houston. This earned him 5 years in prison which took
him a long period of time for the charges to be completely put aside. This is
the worst period in the boxing sports history as it robbed both the supporters
and Muhammad Ali of the best years as he had begun to gain ground.

In the period when Ali was away from
the ring s a result of the revocation of his career license. Ali was involved
with the schools and universities,; talking to the students about the ongoing
Vietnam war. He was really against it and talked frankly about it. There is
also the aspect of peace which he continuously preached in the schools. This
really helped him overcome the emptiness which he encountered upon suspension
from his favorite sport.

In January 1970, several states some
boxing commissions started to rethink on allowing Ali back to the ring. Some
years later this came to pass as Ali’s license was reinstated. After three and
a half years from out of the game, he was back to the ring. Muhammad Ali’s
first fight was organized and took place in the state of Atlanta, the first
state that gave him his license back. He came in to fight the man who had
replaced him when he was suspended from the sport, Jerry Quarry. He was not
full of himself in the bout and really put in his effort that helped him to
win. This made him realize that he still had it in boxing, both in his mind and
his heart.

In the year 1971, Ali went on to
fight Joe Fraizer a man who in his absence had gained ground and had the
capabilities of being the ew Ali’. This was one of the most relished fights
as most of the boxing fans wanted to know who really was the king of the ring.
This bout from its reverberations across the boxing fraternity went on to be
labeled the ight of the Century’. Through his trash talk, Ali referred to
Fraizer as a man set out by the white people and him standing up for the blacks
to make them remain relevant in the boxing scene. This really upset Fraizer and
as expected turned out to be a vicious fight.

Throughout the fight, both
contestants were really involved with the bout, Even though Ali was still good,
the three years that he had been away from the ring really took a toll on his
composure but he still pulled through with the swift moves. Throughout the
fight was entertaining and in the fifteenth round, Fraizer threw the strongest
punch towards Ali that left him going down. He stood up to the shock of his
opponent, Fraizer. Although he went on to fight. For the first time, Ali lost a
fight.This really created enmity
between this rivals. This was one of the ugliest defeats in his career but he
still wadded through the murky waters of his career. He went on to beat all his
challengers at the ring.

This really made him keep focus,
especially on the game because of the loss to Fraizer. He went all challenge
all contenders around the world to prove that at the time he lost to Fraizer he
was still the greatest but not in his best form.Don King, the famous boxing promoter in 1974
arranged a fight between Ali and George Foreman. It was to take place in Zaire
and came to be known as he Rumble in the Jungle’.This is one of the most iconic fights in the
world. People had already dismissed Ali of having any chance against the world
heavyweight champion, Foreman, this is because all those who had beaten Ali had
passed through Foreman’s knuckles and he had taken them out with lightning
precision. This bout was always impending up from the time when Foreman had
finished Fraizer classically. Ali was very witty entering into this bout, he
won the crowd to himself by continuously psyching the up and with this was
Foreman not only going into this bout with Ali but with the whole of Zaire.
This was a vicious fight and Dundee played a psychological game against Foreman
by advising Ali to hung on the ropes most of the time he was up against
Foreman’s blows. This gave him an advantage against a much ferocious challenger
who was only equal to Sonny Liston.This he continued doing by playing around
Big George and ensuring that he was eventually wasted from the charges of the
fight.

With no much energy left in Foreman
and Dundee’s strategy having worked out. Ali was laying in wait to deliver the
killer punch. Foreman was so exhausted the on delivering the killer punch he
fell down. Ali was once again a world heavyweight champion at the age of 32.
This stage carved out his greatest comeback.

On winning back his title about was
arranged between Ali and Fraizer. A bout against two world champions. This
fight was dubbed the Thriller in Manila’. This took place in 1975. This
occurred under very high temperature; this is over 100 degrees Celsius. This
affected both the fighters but the fight took place. With continued fighting,
both the players continued to maim each other. Delivering killer punch on
killer punches. This made them weary but the fight still progressed. However,
in the last round, Fraizer, complained that he really wanted to fight but he
was giving up, This was as a result of two lacerations onto Fraizer’s eyes that
made his vision blurred. With him into a corner, he literally gave up and his
handler pulled him down. With him giving up, Ali told him that whatever he did
on that particular day would not be forgotten by all. That is how the match
ended and Ali was again declared the winner and thus retained his title.

This gained him the name that has
always been reserved to him, the greatest fighter that had ever lived.

On regaining his title back, Ali lost
it once again in 1978 to Leon Spinks. He, however, went on to win it back from
him in about seven months on.This was the third time he regained his title.
This according to pundits, however, was not the Ali they knew since he was
really wasted after the Manilla fight. They even touted all the fights he had
won after winning from Fraizer a onus’ in his career. This was one trying
moment in his career as people started to wish him away from the ring due to
loss of his initial skills in the boxing arena.

After the Manila bout, Ali’s doctor
(Ferdie Pacheco) went on to resign because from the examinations he conducted
on Ali really showed his wasting body. In 1980 Ali, lost his title to Holmes
later lost to Trevor Brebrick. From this, he went on to retirement.

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