Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

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Muhammad Ali


The greatest mystery of the 1996 Olympic summer games in Atlanta, was solved at
28 minutes past midnight the day of the opening ceremony. The crowd erupted when
the Olympic torch was passed to Muhammad Ali. The Olympic gold medal boxer
Muhammad Ali lifted the torch and trembled before a crowd screaming ‘Ali'. He
then sent the fire soaring high above the stadium to ignite the ceremonial
Olympic cauldron. This moment was truly one of the finest ever to many sports
fan, considering the tragedy Ali has been through, he still executed the mission
as a true champion. Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay in Louisville, KY., on
January 17, 1942. He grew up in a poor family. His adolescence was influenced by
a prejudice society, and the poor black neighborhood where he grew up. Ali had
problems in school at an early stage and felt he wanted to do something
different. His dreams were going to be fulfilled at an age of 12, when Joe
Martin, a police officer and a boxing instructor, encouraged Ali to start with
boxing. Ali showed great skills at an early stage of his boxing career. At the
age of 16, Ali had won two Golden Glove Titles, two National AAU Titles, he was
by now nationally recognized. When the 1960 Rome Olympic Game was about to take
off, Ali was provided with an opportunity to represent his country. At this
point he had fought 103 amateur matches, and had only lost five. Ali went with
the Olympic team to Rome, and he did not only participate, he also won the
precious Olympic gold medal. Ali returned home from Italy, and he felt that he
had made a difference when he won the gold medal for his country. When he got
back to his hometown, Louisville, he thought that he was going to be treated as
a champion, but he was still discriminated by the white society. In anger, Ali
decided to throw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio river, as a protest
against what he perceived as racism in his hometown. At this point Ali wanted to
take a stand against the discrimination of the blacks in the US, and did so by
his actions. By the age of 22 Clay had a professional boxing record of 19 wins
and no loss. On February 25, 1964, Ali got the chance to fight for the world
heavyweight championship. Despite his prior record, Ali was considered to be the
underdog, few “experts” gave him a chance. Before the fight Ali used the media

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to psyche Sonny Liston, and this was going to be a character of Muhammad Ali. He
proclaimed that ‘Sonny will fall in four'. Ali entered the ring as a 7-1
underdog to the fearsome Heavyweight Champion Charles ‘Sonny' Liston. Ali used
his speed and movement to thoroughly outbox the champion, who retires on his
stool after the sixth round. Ali became the second youngest champion in history.
After the fight Ali told the world his name now is Muhammad Ali and he has
joined the Nation of Islam, a move that had a significant effect on his career.
As a champion Ali now recognized his power in society, he used this power to
support and speak for the Civil Rights. These actions were something the white
society feared and disliked. Ali became a political symbol of the black society,
maybe the person who influenced blacks the most after Martin Luther King and
Malcolm X. During the nextcoming three years, Ali defended his title nine times
including the match where Ali outpointed Ernie Terrell and became the undisputed
Heavyweight Champion of the world. On April 28, 1967, one of the most
controversial loss of the heavyweight title in boxing history, happened. Ali had
been drafted by the army for induction into military service to fight in the
Vietnam war. He refused to step forward when called, on grounds of his religious
beliefs. Ali was immediately stripped of his heavyweight title, and received a
five year prison sentence, which he immediately appeals. Ali had no more fights
for the rest of 1967, nor any fights in 1968 and 1969, as he lost his peak
physical years as a boxer to fight against his conviction. Whether Ali did right
or wrong, I do not know, but he took his punishment for something he believed in,
but we must remember the facts of the case.

Ali claimed he could not fight in the Vietnam war on grounds of his religious
beliefs. He had already taken his physical army test and did not qualify. His
intelligence test had shown up in the 35th percentile, and to qualify you
had to be in the 55th, or higher. Most of the persons who became drafted
were of the ages among 18-22, Ali was 25. At this time a lot of black
activists conveniently got their draft orders, and had to go to Vietnam.
Why should Ali fight for his country, when the country did not fight for him?

His actions made him even more popular within the black society, and when the
supreme court set the stage for his boxing return, when they overturned his
conviction, Ali was greeted as a champion. In 1970 Ali made his return to the
boxing ring, in his first two comeback matches, Ali looked far from impressive.
His reputation still got him a title fight against Joe Frazier, this title fight
that Ali lost was to be known as the fight of the century. Despite his first
professional defeat, he still was determined to regain the heavyweight title,
but it was going to take him three more years until he got the chance again.
October 30, 1974, Ali versus Forman, a match the boxing world had been waiting
for a long time. The match took place in Zaire and was called “The Rumble In The
Jungle”, and Ali was once again considered to be the underdog. Many actually
feared for his safety when he was going to take George Forman on, maybe the
hardest hitter ever in boxing history. Ali fought a brilliant fight and usedan
awesome technique and won the match by KO, and Ali was once again the
heavyweight champion of the world. Ali defended his title during a three year
period, when the world once again had the chance to see a memorable fight. It
was the third match between Joe Frazier and Ali, and it was going to be known as
“The Thrilla In Manilla”. Ali had his hardest fight of his career, he was in
great shape and won the match by TKO After the match he collapsed from
exhaustion, and when he replied to journalists about the collapse he said, I
quote, “as close to death I could imagine”. Ali lost his title in 1978 against
the Olympic champion Leon Spinks, but he regained the title after 8 months and
became the first fighter ever to regain the title three times. Ali announced his
retirement on June 27, 1979, relinquishing his title. Unfortunately he decided
to do a comeback, and fought two disastrous fights before he finally left the
boxing ring for good. Ali left the boxing scene with an outstanding
professional record; 56 wins and 5 losses.

Ali had an outstanding career, and still has one outside the ring. Despite he is
suffering from Parkinson's disease, he has, and still does a lot, of charity
work in order to help others. What Ali did do is unmeasurable, he gave all young
blacks the hope of a successful life. They all knew Ali dropped out of school,
but still made it. They also knew Ali became one of the greatest success in
sports. He helped to get young black people light when all there was were black
clouds. He helped young blacks' eyes shine brighter than the sun, when their
eyes were full of tears and fears. Ali wanted everyone to think he was the
greatest, he may not have accomplish that, but to me he will always be the
greatest.
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