In some people’s eyes Muhammed Ali is the greatest boxer ever. He was even classified as the greatest athlete in the 20th century by Sports Illustrated. He was the first to win the heavyweight title three times. He was a worldwide entertainer, and millions of people enjoyed watching his style. He was also very controversial because of his religious beliefs, his name change from Cassius Clay to Muhammed Ali and his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War.
Muhammed Ali grew up in Louisville, Kentucky but he was known as Cassius Clay. He lived a normal life until the age of twelve when his bicycle was stolen during a local convention of the Louisville Service Club. Clay wanted to report the crime and went to find a police officer. He found Joe Martin, an officer and a boxing coach at the Columbia Gym . Clay told Martin “I’m going to whip the person who stole my bike.” Martin then proceeded to tell Clay that if he wanted to do that he should come to the gym and learn how to fight properly. Clay was a small man when he started boxing as an amateur; he weighed only eighty-nine pounds. Clay would soon become the man to see at the Columbia Gym. Joe Martin’s wife said that Clay was an overall nice guy. He was polite and always did what he was asked to do. He carried his Bible with him all the time, read when he could, and loved it. Throughout his amateur career and high school, Clay worked at the Nazareth College Library. Clay also was viewed as a kid obsessed with boxing. Clay got bigger and stronger as his talents grew. Sometimes, to keep in shape, Clay would race the city buses to school. Bettie Johnson, a school counselor said “Clay wasn’t a good student, and if he had not been a boxer, he would not have stood out in any way but he went to school like he was supposed to.” Clay never had any problems with his attitude in school, but as a senior he wrote a paper about Black Muslims. Clay’s paper was controversial because his teacher was a conforming Christian and his ideas about separatism and blacks being super-assertive scared her. The teacher wasn’t going to pass Clay, but the principal said “the boy will not fail, because he’s going to be an outstanding boxer.” Clay was becoming a boxing phenomenon; the first newspaper article about him was published on October 27, 1957. By then Clay had been boxing for 3 years and was clearly the number on...
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...man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” Since throwing his gold medal away in Rome, Ali had been gaining fame ever since. After retiring from boxing Ali has been doing charity work for his community in Louisville. In 1986, he was presented with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his lifetime achievements in promoting peace, unity, for his charitable donations and for sports. Ali is now the most recognized athlete throughout the world, and he was given the opportunity to light the Olympic flame at the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta. Also during those Olympics, Ali was given an exact replica of the gold medal he threw away many years ago. Muhammed Ali now has Parkinson’s disease, and is battling the disease every step of the way. He was appointed the spokesman for the National Parkinson’s Foundation where he brings pride, hope, and faith to others who also battle the disease.
Boxing fans now regard Muhammed Ali as a genuine artist of the sport and a legendary hero. Ali revitalized the sport and is known for more than just his boxing accomplishments. Muhammed Ali has changed forever what we expect a champion to be.
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