Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. (Louisville, Kentucky, United States, January 17, 1942 – Phoenix, Arizona, United States, June 3, 2016).
Better known as Muhammad Ali, he is an American boxer and philanthropist, considered the greatest pugilist in history.
In 1960 he won a gold medal, during the Rome Olympics, and in the following years he won three heavyweight world titles. He is also recognized for his great work as an activist of pacifist causes, as well as for his struggle for the vindication of the rights of African-American citizens, becoming one of the most influential figures of contemporaryity.
Beginnings as a boxer
Cassius Clay was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, United States. His passion for boxing began at a very young age, and almost because of fateal issues. At the age of twelve, his bike was stolen. The cop who received the complaint was Joe Martin, who was also engaged in training young people in the discipline of boxing.
Faced with young Cassius Clay’s claim to want to beat the thief hard, Martin advised him to learn to fight first. That’s how the young man ended up training with Joe Martin, demonstrating great talent and courage, seeming not to have any kind of fear either inside or outside the rhine. He had started his career as a boxer.
In 1954, he participated in his first amateur fight, which he won by decision, although the verdict was divided. In 1958, Cassius Clay won the Golden Gloves award, appointed to beginners in the light heavyweight class.
Two years later, in 1960, he participated as a boxer, in the American Olympic delegation, which participated in the Rome Olympics. During this competition, the whole world could see the imposing figure of Cassius Clay in the Rhine, as well as the rapid hand and foot movements that made him win the first three fights, as well as the Gold Medal, achieved after defeating the Polish fighter Zbigniew Pietrzkowski.
Career as a professional
His Olympic victory earned him, in his country, the title of American hero. With the support of the Louisville Sponsorship Group, he managed to become a professional boxer. Since then, he excelled in the American and international rims, winning all of his matches, in which he defeated his opponents most of the time by knockout.
In 1961 he won the National Golden Gloves, Tournament of Champions. That same year, he won the Athletic Union Amateur national title in the light heavyweight division. In 1963 he won the title of British heavyweight champion Henry Cooper.
These were triumphs that were preparing him for 1964, when at the age of twenty-two he sent Sonny Liston to the canvas, crowning the World Heavyweight Champion. He also became a character in the American press, to which he felt no shame in showing off his great achievements.
Conversion to Islam
However, on a spiritual level, young Cassius Clay was experiencing a severe spiritual crisis. In 1964, he decided to join the Islám Nation group, a Muslim-descendant movement. From then on he changed his name to Cassius X.
Later, in 1966, he decided to start calling himself Muhammad Ali. He would also begin his path of fighting for the rights of African-American citizens, of which he was a part. That same year, he refused to go to the Vietnam War, arguing precisely that his religion prevented him from assisting and fighting in this conflict.
The following year, the United States Government prosecutes Ali, accusing him of refusing to serve, dismissing his argument as a conscientious ness. After a heavy match in court, Ali achieved victory. However, according to some of his biographers, this strongly harmed his career. In fact, the boxing association took away his title and suspended him for three years and six months.
Back to the ring
Finally, in 1970, Muhammad Ali managed to get back in the ring, this time to conquer his greatest achievements in boxing. In October of that year, during a fight in Atlanta, he knocked out Jerry Quarry. In 1971, he starred with Joe Frazier in the so-called “Fight of the Century”.
However, Ali lost by decision, eventually beating this boxer in a rematch in 1974. That same year, he managed to snatch the title of world champion from George Foremon, whom he beat despite the stakes of fans who saw Ali much weaker than Foremon. In 1978, Muhammad Ali won his third title as World Heavyweight Champion, becoming also the first boxer to win this belt three times.
Retirement and current life
Thus, the first half of the 1970s had become the best years of this boxer’s career. However, from 1978, Muhammed Ali began to be defeated in the ring. That year he lost to Leon Spinks. Two years later, boxer Larry Holmes managed to beat him out.
Later, 1981 he witnessed his last fight, in which he lost his world champion title to boxer Trevor Berbick. In 1982 he announced his final retirement from the ring. Two years later, in 1984, he announced to the world that he was suffering from the degenerative neurological condition, known as Parkinson’s disease, a diagnosis after which he founded the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.
In the years following his retirement, Muhammad Ali devoted his life to the humanitarian struggle, in which he imprinted special effort on global organizations such as Special Olympics or the Make a Wish Foundation.
He was also the subject of innumerable recognitions. In 1998 he was appointed Messenger of the United Nations of Peace. Similarly, in 2005, President Goerge W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Despite the degenerative nature of his condition, Muhammad Ali remains active in the struggle for minority rights. In 2009 he participated in the swearing-in of Barack Obama.
Finally, after thirty-two years of fighting Parkinson’s Disease, Muhammad Ali, the pugilistic legend who “floated like a butterfly and stuck like a bee,” died on the night of June 3, 2016, at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona, Arizona United, at the age of 74, leaving behind a legendary career in boxing, in which out of the sixty fights he fought he won fifty-six, of which his thirty-seven victories by knockout stand out, defeating some of the greatest boxers of his time , including Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston, George Foreman and Joe Frazier.
Likewise, during his career Muhammad Ali surprised the media and his audience with shocking and creative phrases, in which he boasted of his great capacity, agility, speed and great strength in the ring.
In this sense, some of his most famous phrases (read more famous sentences of Muhammad Ali), especially in the metaphors he built a little before climbing the ring, and which sought to intimidate his opponent and remind everyone why he had decided call himself, and rightly, “The greastest”, being recognized today by some historians and boxing experts as one of the five fastest and most agile boxers in the world.
Likewise, his many statements and his tireless history of fighting for human rights, which began by defending the rights of the African-American population, and which later became a universal struggle for the integration of minorities excluded or discriminated against, make Muhammad Ali also recognized as a person of great human quality.
Image source: wikipedia.org
August 14, 2019