12 facts that justify Why Muhammad Ali was ‘The Greatest’ – Nutshell School
Here are 12 facts that will give an insight into the life and career of the silver-tongues boxer: Muhammad ali
- Born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior on January 17, 1942, the legendary boxer changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964 after joining Nation of Islam.
- One of the biggest turning points in Ali?s career came on February 25, 1964, when the 22-year-old boxer defeated the reigning heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in Miami Beach, Florida.
- Muhammad Ali was banned from boxing for three years when he refused to serve the U.S. military for religious reasons during the Vietnam War in 1967. The heavyweight champion was arrested and his boxing license was immediately suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission.
- His most famous bouts included the one in which he won in an eight-round knockout against the undefeated 25-year-old champion George Foreman in 1974 to regain the heavyweight title that had been stripped from him during his suspension in 1967.
- Ali dominated sports for two decades before time and Parkinson’s Syndrome, triggered by thousands of blows to the head, ravaged his magnificent body, muted his majestic voice and ended his storied career in 1981.
- He fought in three different decades, finished with a record of 56-5 with 37 knockouts and was the first man to win heavyweight titles three times.
- In his autobiography The Greatest: My Own Story, Ali stated that he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at a ?whites-only? restaurant, and fighting with a white gang.
- His thrilling fight with Zoe Frazier in 1975, famous as ?Thrilla in Manila?, is regarded as one of the best boxing clashes of all time. Ali won that fight in the fifteenth round.
- Muhammad Ali developed Parkinson?s disease due to the injuries he sustained throughout his career.
- In 1999, BBC crowned Ali as ?Sports Personality of the Century?, whereas the three-time heavyweight champion was named ?Sportsman of the Century? by Sports Illustrated.
- Ali lost the first professional fight of his career to Frazier on March 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden. The fight was known as ?The Fight of the Century?.
- Married four times, Ali has seven daughters and two sons.
Why Muhammad Ali was ‘The Greatest’
Muhammad Ali?s legacy went far beyond just being a world-famous heavyweight boxer; he fought against racism and for equal rights. However, as someone who said: ?I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was,? Ali invariably invited some scrutiny. This was especially true regarding social issues outside of the ring.
Here are three reasons why he was ?just? a great boxer and three reasons Why Muhammad Ali was ‘The Greatest’:
He Was Great, but not the Greatest
Stats prove differently
Ali was a great boxer who had a huge impact on American society, but his boxing stats prove he wasn?t the greatest boxer. Ali won 56 out of his 61 fights, and 37 of them were knock-outs. While these are great stats, other boxers had better: Harry Greb won 262 fights (!), Sugar Ray Robinson won 173, and Harry Armstrong won 150. Rocky Marciano didn?t lose a fight.
In a sport like boxing, the scope of the fights makes a huge difference, since every fight is injurious and risky. A closer look at the boxing stats of Armstrong and Robinson proves that they fought stronger fighters than Ali did, relative to their weight at the time.
His status is in great part thanks to his out-of-the-ring deeds.
Being deemed the greatest should solely be about Ali?s boxing abilities. However, people confuse those with his out-of-the-ring deeds. Ali changed the world. He was a freedom fighter who fought against racism. He also had unparalleled charisma and charm. He was a master of self-promotion and smart enough to know how to use the media for his purposes. This made him loved by fans and the media for his brave and picturesque figure.
All of this created a mythical figure. Ali`s image was one of an undisputed champion, a person larger than life. However, that doesn?t mean he was the greatest boxer. He himself once noted that, pound for pound, Sugar Ray Robinson was better.
Ali`s figure was huge but controversial.
Despite his contributions to racial equality, it?s worth noting that Ali?s out-of-the-ring persona was far from impeccable. He had a tendency to swim against the current a bit too far. Some of his quotes and remarks were on the verge of racism; one such example is ?my enemy is the white people, not the Vietcong.?
Ali was also vain. He declared himself as the greatest boxer (when he was still Cassius Clay), and was quoted numerous times saying how good, beautiful and talented he was. Amid his showman-like traits, he also disrespected his opponents. Sure, it?s part of boxing psychology, but, at times, he took it too far. Before one of their fights, he said: ?Joe Frazier is an Uncle Tom. He works for the enemy.? He also referred to Frazier as an ugly man who ?should give his face to The Wildlife Fund.? Great sportsmen should respect their opponents.
He was the greatest:
Boxing is about toughness, and Ali was the toughest.
Toughness was one of Ali?s main attributes. It?s best expressed in his extraordinary ability to take a punch. No one knew how to take punches like Ali did, which takes courage and commitment. His epic ?Rumble in the Jungle? fight against George Forman is the best example of his toughness. Forman was one of the strongest punchers in the history of boxing. During their fight, Ali adopted the ?rope a dope? tactic, where he allowed Forman to take shots at him just to tire Forman out. Ali took punch after punch, only to take Forman down in the eighth round. That fight, which is widely regarded as the 20th century?s biggest sports event, fixed Ali?s position as the toughest and greatest boxer of all time. This is Why Muhammad Ali was ‘The Greatest’
?Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee? is Ali`s most famous quote. More than anything, this quote reflects his unique and remarkable boxing style. Ali wasn?t boxing; he was tap-dancing in the ring. He moved like no other heavyweight boxer moved or will move. The combination of his heavyweight body, speed and reflexes was revolutionary and made his boxing style artistic. He not only introduced new techniques in the ring but also a level of elegance that changed heavyweight boxing and made him world champion three times.
He had the toughest competition
After refusing to be drafted to Vietnam, Ali was stripped of his world title and got suspended for 3.5 years by the World Boxing Federation. When he returned in 1970, heavyweight boxing had already entered what is considered as its golden era. That era included all-time greats like Joe Frazier, George Forman, and Larry Holmes. Not only did Ali adjust himself to that era, he was the best in it. He beat Forman and Frazier (twice) and held the title for around five years.
The Bottom Line: Muhammad Ali was the toughest of all boxers, and the prettiest. But he was also a controversial figure and, as his stats prove, he wasn?t the greatest boxer to enter the ring. So, what do you think, statistics or charisma? What should determine his and other boxers? legacy?
This is Why Muhammad Ali was ‘The Greatest’
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