‘The Greatest’: Muhammad Ali Dead at 74

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Acclaimed for his quick, dancing style as a fighter, Ali also blended a unique mix of political activism and personal conviction that won him international recognition outside of the ring.

Three-time heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali, who charmed millions with his wit and confidence in the ring and inspired many more with his commitment to humanitarian causes has died, according to the family spokesman. He was 74.

Ali had been hospitalized for a respiratory issue June 2. At the time, a rep said he was in fair condition.

One of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing, Ali retired in 1981 after losing to Trevor Berbick in his 61st career bout.

Soon thereafter, Ali — who doctors said had begun showing signs of sluggishness and neurological damage in the 1970s — began receiving treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

[Read the full story here, at ABC News]

Ali, who called himself “The Greatest,” was married four times and had nine children, including daughter Laila, who also became a professional boxer. Ali and his fourth wife, Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams, had been married since 1986.

Born Cassius Clay on Jan. 17, 1942, Ali first stepped in the ring at age 12 in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., after his bicycle was stolen and a police officer suggested he learn how to box. Ali went on to become one of the most successful athletes and revered public figures in history.

Acclaimed for his quick, dancing style as a fighter, Ali also blended a unique mix of political activism and personal conviction that won him international recognition outside of the ring.

After winning 100 of 108 amateur fights, Ali took home an Olympic gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He later allegedly chucked the medal into a river after a waitress at a soda fountain in Louisville refused to serve him because he was black.

Weeks after the Olympics, Ali signed a lucrative contract and won his first pro bout on Oct. 29, 1960, against Tunney Hunsaker. Ali quickly ingratiated himself with the media with his boastful claims and fresh, stylish way of speaking. He told Sports Illustrated in 1961: “Most of them [other boxers] … can fight almost as good as I can. I’m just saying you never heard of them. And the reason for that is because they cannot throw the jive. Cassius Clay is a boxer who can throw the jive better than anybody.”

The brash, underdog Ali promised boxing fans he’d “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” against Sonny Liston.

At age 22, he stunned the larger Liston, beating the champ in seven rounds in Miami to win his first heavyweight title. In their next match in 1965, Ali floored Liston with a hard, quick blow minutes into the bout and retained his crown when the referee stopped the fight.

With one Olympic gold medal and a heavyweight belt to his credit, Ali soon began making headlines for his religious and political beliefs.

Inspired by black rights activist Malcolm X, he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964. When he refused in 1967 to serve in the U.S. Army because of his religious convictions, Ali fended off sharp criticism from a nation that was raw from the dividing forces of the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement…(read more)

Source: ABC News


One Comment on “‘The Greatest’: Muhammad Ali Dead at 74”

  1. […] via ‘The Greatest’: Muhammad Ali Dead at 74 — pundit from another planet […]


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