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Muhammad Ali Boxing Legend Passes away

Muhammad Ali Boxing Legend Passes awayMuhammad Ali Boxing Legend Passes away

Muhammad Ali, the magnificent heavyweight champion whose fast fists and irrepressible personality transcended sports and captivated the world, has died. He was 74.

Ali suffered for years from Parkinson’s disease, which ravaged his body but could never dim his larger-than-life presence. A towering figure in his prime, he still traveled and made appearances in his later years despite being muted by the thousands of hits he took during his remarkable career.

He was hospitalized in Phoenix, the capital of the US state of Arizona, with respiratory problems earlier this week. He died Friday night, according to a statement from his family.

Ali was a giant of his time - a furious and loud fighter whose influence was felt far beyond the ring. He engaged in some of the world’s most iconic fights even though his career was interrupted for more than three years when he refused to be drafted for military service during the Vietnam War.

He beat the invincible Sonny Liston, fought a string of thrilling fights with Joe Frazier and stopped George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire. But he paid a terrible price for the estimated 29,000 punches he took to his head during a career that made him perhaps the most recognized person on earth, AP reported.

“I am the greatest,” Ali thundered again and again. Few would disagree.

Despite his debilitating illness, he traveled the world to rapturous receptions even as the once-bellowing voice was reduced to a whisper and he was left to communicate with a wink or a weak smile.

 Revered and Reviled

Revered - and reviled - by millions, Ali finished with a record of 56-5 with 37 knockouts and was the first man to win heavyweight titles three times.

He spurned white America when he joined the Black Muslims and changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali.

Ali once estimated he had made $57 million in his pro career, but the effect of the punches lingered long after most of the money was gone. That didn’t stop him from traveling tirelessly to promote Islam, meet with world leaders and champion legislation dubbed the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, meant to protect fighters from being exploited by managers and promoters.

With his face nearly frozen from the disease and his hands trembling, he lit the Olympic torch for the 1996 Atlanta Games in a performance as riveting as some of his fights. A few years after that, he sat mute in a committee room in Washington, his mere presence enough to persuade lawmakers to pass the boxing reform bill that bore his name.

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali began boxing at age 12 after his new bicycle was stolen and he vowed to policeman Joe Martin that he would “whup” the person who took it.

 

Financialtribune.com