Boxing Loses The Greatest, Muhammad Ali Dead at 74
The man they called “The Greatest” is gone.
Goodbye to a Legend
News quickly broke late in the week that boxing legend Muhammad Ali had been admitted to a Phoenix hospital with respiratory issues.
Boxing stars have been paying tribute to Muhammad Ali, who has died at the age of 74 https://t.co/dwUtF5lYaZ
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 4, 2016
Ali had been battling Parkinson’s disease for over three decades, and finally succumbed to lingering health issues on Friday. Ali was 74 years old.
Strong is His Weakness
Despite dealing with a serious and debilitating illness for almost half of his life, Ali seemed to never waver, constantly putting himself in the public eye, showing up at major sporting events and helping out with numerous charities.
Ali was even public when it came to politics, making a statement as recently as this past December against Donald Trump and his perceived stance against the Muslim community.
As big of an icon as Ali was after his boxing career, there’s little doubt the man born as Cassius Clay was best known for his work in the ring. Dubbed “The Greatest”, it’s tough to argue that moniker, as Ali went 56-5 throughout his career, including an impressive 37 knockouts.
Ali made his mark early in his career, winning his first 31 pro bouts and winning the heavyweight title belt in 1967.
Ali’s amazing run briefly came to an end when a controversial decision to bypass the military’s draft. Ali contested that his religion demanded he not fight in a war was his main reasoning for not fighting in Vietnam and he was quickly banned from boxing. There was even a threat for serious jail time, but Ali’s conviction was eventually overturned and he began fighting again in 1970.
The shock heard around the world came that year, when Joe Frazier defeated Ali, stripping him of the heavyweight title and handing him his first loss as a professional boxer.
Ali responded by reclaiming the vacant title in 1971 and ripping off 10 straight wins, successfully defending his title five times before losing to Ken Norton in 1973.
Ali would rebound again, taking the title back from Norton in 1973, which sparked the second longest winning streak of his career – a dominant 14-fight run that ended in 1978 with a title defeat by the hands of Leon Sparks.
One more moment of greatness arrived in 1978, seven months later, when Ali took down Sparks to regain his heavyweight title. Ali would fight two more times, losing his title again to Larry Holmes in 1980 and then losing his final fight of his career to Trevor Berbick the following year.
The sports world and Ali’s family loses a great athlete and an even better human being, but the silver lining could be that Ali’s personal suffering has ended.
His daughter Rasheda, speaking of her father’s death, noted that her father would no longer be suffering and is now in a “better place”.
The Greatest Man that ever lived. Daddy my best friend & my Hero You R no longer suffering & now in a better place. pic.twitter.com/IASO4u3Ikn
— RASHEDA ALI™ (@rashedaali) June 4, 2016
The boxing legend’s funeral service is planned to be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
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