Who really was Muhammad Ali?
Who was Muhammad Ali, and why was he famous? How did he get there? Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on January 17, 1942. He would grow up to be the most powerful boxer that we know of today. He was also the most celebrated sports figure of the 20th century because he was such a great role model. He has inspired millions of people and that’s why the people loved him. Outside the ring he stood up against things that he thought were wrong and didn’t let anyone stop him from doing so. He has inspired me as much as to write this article and tell the story of his life.
When Muhammad turned 12 he started his boxing career. By 18 he had already won the Light Heavyweight Division gold medal at the 1960 Olympics and after that he turned professional. Once he turned 22, he had already inspired so many people and had already won the WBA, WBC, and the lineal lightweight titles. Muhammad is widely know as the one of the best heavy/lightweight boxers of the 20th century.
After Muhammad had already become widely known, he converted to Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay, which he called his “ Slave name”, to the name we all know him to be today, Muhammad Ali. One of Islam’s main theories was that the White people were evil and that they were the only reasons why Blacks were hated and mistreated. This was one of the reasons why Muhammad joined the religion. Muhammad was also a huge motivation for many African Americans and was a major resistance to white “domination” during the Civil Rights movement. A few years later he refused to be enlisted into the army and serve a country that did not stand for Black rights. Muhammad’s actions led to be arrested and found guilty of draft evasion charges and stripped of all his boxing titles. Muhammad was not happy with this, and eventually he appealed to the United States Supreme Court and overturned his conviction in 1971.
Ali still remains to be the only person to win the Lineal lightweight championship, which is a match where a undisputed champion challenges a reining champion to a match and fights for the championship title, (1964, 1974, 1978). Ali also is the only person to win the The Ring magazine award 6 times. He was named the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustration and by BBC and was also named 3rd greatest by ESPN. Muhammad was apart of some of the most historic boxing matches such as “Thrilla in Manilla”, “Fight of the Century”, and “Super Fight 2”.
While most fighters at the time had their managers do their talking, Muhammad loved the spotlight. He would trash talk opponents, incorporate rhythms and song lyrics into his speeches, and sometimes would even freestyle! Ali did this to mix in his inner musician. He had previously recorded two written albums and had also recorded a few blues songs in the time period where he hadn’t been fighting. Since Ali was so famous and well known around the entertainment business , he was nominated for two grammy awards, and had performed in a few movies. Broadway had also taken to his liking and ask him to cast in a few musicals because of his talent as both a fighter and musician.
Muhammad Ali retired from boxing in 1981. Muhammad then used the rest of his life to work with charity and religious events. Muhammad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Syndrome in the fall of 1984. His doctors related this syndrome to boxing related injuries that had damaged his brain in the ring. Ali died 32 years later from the same syndrome that he had been diagnosed with prior. He passed away June 3, 2016. He will always be remembered in our hearts and memories.