Facts Why Muhammad Ali was ‘The Greatest’
- Born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior on 17 January 1942, after joining Nation of Islam in 1964, the legendary boxer changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
- One of the greatest turning points in Ali’s career came when the 22-year- boxer beat the former heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston, in Miami Beach, Florida, on February 25, 1964.
- For three years, Muhammad Ali had been suspended from boxing after he declined to join the U.S. military during the 1967 Vietnam War for religious reasons. The heavyweight champion was arrested, and the New York State Athletic Commission promptly revoked his boxing license.
- His most famous fights included the one he won in an eight-round ko against the unbeaten 25-year-old champion George Foreman in 1974 to reclaim the heavyweight championship which had been stripped of him during his 1967 suspension.
- Ali dominated sports two decades ahead of time and Parkinson’s Disease, caused by thousands of hits to the brain, destroyed his glorious body, silenced his powerful voice and ended his storied career in 1981.
- He fought in three separate decades, finished with a 56-5 record and 37 knockouts and became the first man to win three heavyweight titles.
- In his autobiography, The Greatest: My Own Story, Ali claimed that after being denied service at a ‘white-only’ restaurant and battling with a white gang, he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River.
- His thrilling 1975 fight with Zoe Frazier, known as ‘Thrilla in Manila,’ is considered one of the best boxing battles ever. Ali won in the fifteenth round of that fight.
- Muhammad Ali developed Parkinson’s disease because of the injuries that he suffered throughout his career.
- BBC crowned Ali as ‘Sports Personality of the Century’ in 1999, while Sports Illustrated called the three-time heavyweight champion ‘Sportsman of the Century.’
- On 8 March 1971, at Madison Square Garden, Ali lost the first professional fight of his life to Frazier. The battle has been known as ‘The Century War.’
- Married four times, Ali has two sons and seven daughters.
Why Muhammad Ali was ‘The Greatest’
The legacy of Muhammad Ali went far beyond being merely a world-famous heavyweight boxer; he fought against injustice and equal rights. However, as someone who said: ‘I am the best, I said Ali welcomed some scrutiny even before I realized I was.’ This has been especially true with respect to social problems outside the ring.
Here are three reasons why he was just a decent boxer and three reasons
Why Muhammad Ali was ‘the best’: he was fine, but not the best
Stats prove otherwise
Ali was a great fighter who had an immense influence on American culture, but his boxing numbers show he wasn’t the greatest boxer. For his 61 fights, Ali won 56, and 37 of those were knockouts. Whilst these are fantastic numbers, it was better for other boxers: Harry Greb won 262 fights!), (Sugar Ray Robinson won 173, and Harry Armstrong won 150. Rocky Marciano weren’t losing a fight.
The nature of the fights makes a big difference in a sport like boxing, because any fight is injurious and dangerous. A closer look at Armstrong and Robinson’s boxing stats shows they have faced better fighters than Ali did at the time, according to their weight.
His reputation is primarily due to his out-of-the-ring deeds
Being called the greatest would be about the fighting skills of Ali alone. Some, however, associate these with his out – of-the-ring deeds. Ali changed the world. He was a fighter for democracy and opposed bigotry. He also had charisma and elegance which were unparalleled. He was a self-promotion master, and smart enough to know how to use the media for his purposes. For his brave and picturesque figure this made him loved by fans and the media.
That all produced a mythical figure. The picture of Ali was one of an uncontested champion, a human larger than life. It doesn’t say though that he was the greatest fighter. He himself once claimed Sugar Ray Robinson was great, pound for pound.
Ali’s figure had been enormous but contentious.
It is worth remembering that given his commitments to racial equality, Ali’s out – the of-the-ring image was far from impeccable. He’d tried to swim a little too far against the current. Many of his quotes and comments were on the edge of racism; one such example is ‘the white people are my enemy, not the Vietcong.’
Ali, too, was in vain. He proclaimed himself to be the greatest boxer (when he was still Cassius Clay), and several times he was quoted saying how fine, beautiful and talented he was. He often disrespected his opponents between his showman-like characteristics. Sure, it’s part of the psychology of boxing, but at times he took it too far. He said before one of their fights: “Joe Frazier is an Uncle Tom. He’s working for the enemy. He also found Frazier an hideous man who ought to give his face to The Wildlife Fund. Good sportspeople should honor their adversaries.
He was the greatest:
Boxing is about endurance, and it was Ali who was the toughest.
Toughness was one of the main attributes of Ali. His exceptional ability to take a punch is best articulated. Nobody, like Ali, knew how to take punches, which requires bravery and determination. The best example of his bravery is his epic fight ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ against George Forman. Forman was one of the most effective punchers in Boxing history. Ali embraced the ‘rope a dope’ technique during their fight, where he encouraged Forman to take shots on him just to tire Forman out. Ali punched after punch, only to take down Forman in the 8th round. The fight, generally considered the biggest sporting event of the 20th century, set Ali’s status as the best and greatest boxer of all time. That is why Muhammad Ali was the best
Ali’s most popular quote is floating like a butterfly, sting like a bee. More than anything, this quote reflects his unique and outstanding style of boxing. Ali wasn’t boxing; inside the ring he was tap-dancing. He moved or would move like no other heavyweight boxer. His combination of heavyweight body, speed, and reflexes was innovative and made artistic his boxing style. Not only did he bring new methods into the ring but he also added a degree of elegance that transformed heavyweight boxing and made him three times world champion. This is Why Muhammad Ali ‘The Greatest’
He’d had the toughest rivalry
Ali was stripped of his world title after refusing to be sent to Vietnam, and was suspended by the World Boxing Federation for 3.5 years. Heavyweight boxing had already reached what is considered its golden age when he returned in 1970. The age featured greats of all time such as Joe Frazier, George Forman, and Larry Holmes. Ali has not only adapted himself to the age, he was the best in it. He (twice) defeated Forman and Frazier and retained the title for around five years.
The Bottom Line: Muhammad Ali was the best and the prettiest of all boxers. But he was also a controversial figure, and wasn’t the biggest boxer to enter the ring, as his stats show. And what do you think, numbers or charisma What will decide the reputation of his boxers and others.
This is Why Muhammad Ali was ‘The Greatest’
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