The Dawn of a Legend - "A Heartbreak for The Sporting
"Float like a butterfly,
Sting like a bee
The hands can hit,
What the eyes can't see."
These lines had been quoted by one of the greatest Indo - American Boxing legends of all times.It truly depicts his glorifying and spectator - entertaining career which lasted more than two decades. He has been the most prominent sporting legends for the last 100 years.
Born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. on June 17 1942, he is regarded as the most significant heavyweight boxer in the history of the sport.With a staggering height of 191 centimetres and a reach of 198 cms., he was nicknamed the "Louisville Lip" and the "People's champion". Playing 61 matches, he has an eye catching win rate of 56 wins under his belt, 37 of them being from knockouts.
Ali made his professional debut on October 19, 1960 with a crushing win over Turney Hunsaker. Until the end of 1963, he amassed a 19~0 win record with 15 wins by knockout. Ironically he even beat his own former trainer in a 1962 bout. After winning the fight against Sonny Liston, Ali at the age of 22 became the youngest boxer to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion. Later on Mike Tyson broke his record. After winning the Liston fight,Ali (formerly Clay) changed his religion to Islam and affiliated with the Nation of Islam. Later Ali also won one of the toughest bouts of his career against Terell in Houston on February 6, 1967. Ali's humanity stood against his patriotism when he refused to join the armed forces in the Vietnam War stating that he had nothing to complain of against the Vietcong. As a result of that, he was stripped of his title and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment with a 10000 USD fine icing the cake. He did not fight for four years of the peak ages of his career(25 to 29) due to this conviction. However, in 1971, the US Supreme Court overturned the decision and Ali was back in the arena. During his exile, as opposition towards the Vietnam War grew,Ali became asymbol of humanity and was often seen speaking at colleges across the nation,criticising the Vietnam war and racial injustice.
His first professional defeat came against Joe Frazier under dramatic circumstances. Ali had taunted Frazier to be too ugly to be the champion.But this time Ali's luck ran out and he was handed his first defeat of his career. Later on he had many wins to his name but the fight against one Earnie Shavers in 1977 signalled Ali the end of his career.Though Ali won the bout, he was visibly shaken by the aggressive punches by Shavers.He did retire but called it off for clinching the WBC title for the fourth time in a row. It was the first fight of his career in which he lost by knockout. Sylvester Stallone quoted later that he had been watching an autopsy on a living man throughout the fight in which Ali was pummeled around the ring by Larry Holmes.
Ali published an oral history of his own life written by Thomas Hauser called "Muhammed Ali - His Life and Times in 1991. In 2002 Ali went to Afghanistan as the United Nation's Messenger of Peace. He stayed in Kabul for 3 days as a special guest of the United Nations. Ali's Parkinson's Disease worsened its state during the 2012 Olympics in London where he was a titular bearer of the Olympic Flag. He was frequently hospitalized over the years and once again done so in Scottsdale on June 2, 2016 with poor respiratory condition. He breathed his last on June 3 there. A family spokesman announced on June 4 that he had died of septic shock. Thus, the life of a person with intimidating personality and strong will power ended. It would be best to quote his own saying here to pay respects to him and use it in our own lives.
"Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a Champion."