When Muhammad Ali first donned boxing gloves in the late Fifties as Cassius Clay, he could not have imagined the impact he would make, not merely as a sportsman but as a global figure.
Anyone alive in the Sixties and Seventies couldn’t help but notice this sportsman who, like a select few, broke through into celebrity status. More than that, his pronouncements were given more weight than many politicians of the time.
His ring record speaks for itself: 61 fights, 56 wins, plus Olympic Gold and the WBA, WBC, and NABF World Heavyweight titles. But it was the swaggering, self-confident way he conducted himself in the ring that turned boxing into entertainment. The fact he took on the establishment with his anti-Vietnam views and newly adopted religious beliefs only added spice to the spectacle.
Even after his death in 2016, this previous hard-hitting social activist remains an icon and a role model to millions today, all of whom cannot conceive of a world where Muhammad Ali didn’t exist. Even with his well-publicized health problems causing a lessening effect on his heavyweight character, leading up to his passing, he kept himself in the public eye through his promotion of world peace and through his non-profit Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville.
Ali, a champion in and out of the ring, is still the greatest. This is a tribute to a unique character, the like of which the sporting world will most likely never see again.