When I think of Muhammad Ali, I remember huddling around the TV with my father in the early ‘70s, watching him. I was mesmerized by the boxing legend, who could easily back up his hilarious trash talking.
Check out some of Ali’s best knockouts.
Born Cassius Clay, he won the gold medal at the 1960 Rome Summer Olympics in the light heavyweight division. He won the WBA, WBC and lineal heavyweight titles in 1964 when he beat Sonny Liston. Clay renounced his “slave name” in 1965, when he converted to Islam and became Muhammad Ali. In 1967, Ali was found guilty of draft evasion during the Vietnam War. He lost his license to box, was stripped of his heavyweight titles, and had his passport taken by the court (so he couldn’t go overseas to fight). Four years later, he appealed the conviction and won. In 1971, he lost the “Fight of the Century” to Joe Frazier. He beat George Foreman for the world championship title in 1974 – and defended the title 10 times, over the next three years, including beating Joe Frazier in the “Thriller in Manila.”
There are numerous movies and documentaries about Ali. An all-time favorite is When We Were Kings – about the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” championship fight against George Foreman.
Sports Illustrated ranked him as the greatest athlete of the 20th century, having been the only three-time lineal heavyweight champion. He was one of five athletes of my time (the list includes Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Mike Tyson) that I had to watch. Ali’s press conferences made me laugh and, as an athlete, he was incredible.
Was there a dry eye in North America as one of the greatest boxers of all time lit the torch at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony?
Muhammad Ali passed away last year at the age of 74.
In writing this post, I have been humming the song Black Superman. I’ll leave it with you – to remind you of Muhammad Ali’s greatness.