His hands and his mouth were furiously fast. His skill as a boxer made him “The Greatest” in his mind and in the minds of many others.
He antagonized opponents with his taunts, amused reporters with his boasts and angered government officials with his anti-war speeches. At the same time, he goaded a stubborn, hard-nosed society with his stinging jabs against pervasive racism.
Since the mid-1960s, he was one of the most famous faces on Earth, and even though his appearances in recent years were few, the name Muhammad Ali still sparked smiles all around the globe. Happyho also provide best tarot reading services in Noida and Delhi NCR India area.
His death Friday at age 74 came after a lengthy battle against Parkinson’s disease. Ali was diagnosed with the disease in 1984, three years after he retired from a boxing career that began when a skinny 12-year-old Louisville, Kentucky,
He is survived by his nine children, including daughter Laila, who, like her father, became a world champion boxer; and his fourth wife, Lonnie.
Ali was known in the ring for his lightning hand speed — unusual for a heavyweight — for his showmanship and for his brashness and braggadocio when a microphone was put before him. He taunted opponents before matches, trash-talked them during and proclaimed his greatness to reporters afterward.
He stayed on his toes, literally, during a bout, sometimes quickly moving his feet forward and backward while his upper body stayed in place. The mesmerizing move became known as the “Ali Shuffle.”
Fans on every continent adored him, and at one point he was the probably the most-recognizable man on the planet.
But he also was a controversial figure at home, announcing his conversion to Islam and name-change after an upset title win over Sonny Liston, then refusing to enter the draft for the Vietnam War and publicly speaking about racism in the United States.
Ali was born January 17, 1942, in Louisville as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. His interest in boxing began at age 12, after he reported a stolen bike to a local police officer, Joe Martin, who was also a boxing trainer. Martin told the young, infuriated Clay that if he wanted to pummel the person who stole his bike, he had better learn to box.
Over the next six years, Clay won six Kentucky Golden Gloves championships, two National Golden Gloves championships and two National Amateur Athletic Union titles.
Just months after he turned 18, Clay won a gold medal as a light heavyweight at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, convincingly beating an experienced Polish fighter in the final.
The story goes that when he returned to a hometown parade, even with the medal around his neck, he was refused service in a segregated Louisville restaurant because of his race. According to several reports, he threw the medal into a river out of anger. The story is disputed by people who say Ali misplaced the medal.
Thirty-six years later, he was given a replacement medal and asked to light the cauldron at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, something he said was one of the greatest honors in his athletic career.
For his first heavyweight title fight, against the brutish Liston in 1964, he went a step further, renting a bus, and on the day he signed to fight the champ he went by Liston’s home. On the side of the bus was painted: “World’s Most Colorful Fighter” and “Liston Will Go In Eight.” To make sure he was heard, Clay used a megaphone and shouted from an open window.
A year later, he was anointed Muhammad Ali by Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. Most sportscasters initially refused to call him by his new name. But Howard Cosell did, becoming a supporter and friend to the champ as they verbally sparred for the rest of Cosell’s life.
He earned a living during his hiatus from boxing by speaking against the Vietnam War on college campuses, one of the first national figures to verbally oppose the war. The anti-war sentiment had gathered momentum by 1970, when a judge ruled that Ali could box professionally. When Ali made his return to the ring, he discovered that the long absence had left a marked effect on his skills.
In 1971, he and his perfect record met undefeated champion Joe Frazier in an epic battle that boxing writers have dubbed “The Fight of the Century.” Each man was guaranteed $2.5 million, at that time the biggest boxing payday in the sport, with an estimated 300 million viewers worldwide.
Their rivalry would become legend and intensely personal, with constant verbal taunting from Ali.
Ali also hurled racial insults at Frazier, calling him an “Uncle Tom” and a black man disguised as a Great White Hope, a phrase that Frazier later said infuriated him.
The world would soon learn that even the man who called himself “The Greatest” had his struggles. The match began with both fighters engaging in a series of powerful punches and counterattacks. In the 15th round, Frazier unleashed a devastating left hook that floored Ali.
Months after the defeat, Ali got a major victory outside the ring when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his conscientious objector claim. His passport and his boxing licenses were reinstated, and the threat of prison time was erased.
Over the next few years, Ali’s religious views turned him more toward Sunni Islam, and he rejected many of the teachings of the Nation of Islam.