Boxing legend Muhammad Ali remembered on 80th birthday
WASHINGTON: The life and legacy of boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been remembered on his 80th birthday anniversary.
Considered the greatest boxer in the world, Cassius Marcellus Clay was born on January 17, 1942 in Kentucky. He later converted to Islam and change his name to Muhammad Ali. He was heavyweight champ a record three times between 1964 and 1978, taking part in some of the sport’s most epic bouts.
His friend John Ramsey described him as “what everyone aspires to be”. “If I had to say his legacy, I think it is more about social justice, about inclusiveness, about trying to bring people together. And that’s rare, even for world leaders. Muhammad, he didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk every day. If I had to say, Muhammad is just what everyone aspires to be” said his long time friend”.
Speaking about her father, Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Hana Ali, claims he was a man of the people. “I think that what lives on more than anything else for the people who study him and love him and admire him and know him, really truly know who he was as a human being, is his heart. Is the fact that he was the people’s champion.”
The fact that he loved the people, you could walk up and touch him. And he wasn’t some, you know, you hear stories all the time about these legends and these heroes but my father was so real. You could literally walk up and touch him and squeeze him and hug him.”
“And you’ll see pictures of him probably and he’ll be hugging people you’ll think it’s his family, but they’re strangers on the street. He genuinely loved people, he needed them like he needed the air to breathe. They are part of his legacy, they are part of what made him great, there would be no daddy and no legacy, no nothing. None of it would have meant anything to him if he had not been able to interact with everyday people the way he loved to do,” said Hana Ali.
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Muhammad Ali died in 2016 and was buried in his hometown Louisville, Kentucky. His funeral attracted celebrities, sports legends and world leaders.
Ali had an illustrious boxing career during which he fought 61 fights and won 56 by the time he was 39 years. His journey to stardom came into prominence with the Olympic victory in 1960 when he knocked out Zbigniew Pietrzkowski of Poland and won the light-heavyweight Olympic gold medal.
Before the Olympics, in 1954, Ali created euphoria after winning his first big fight against Ronny O’Keefe. In a historic boxing match in 1964, Ali defeated Sonny Liston and became the heavyweight champion of the world.
A legendary fight that created history in 1974 was between the undefeated heavyweight champion George Foreman and former undisputed heavyweight champion, Ali. It was called ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ andi he emerged victorious in the eighth round.
Another momentous occasion in Ali’s career was in 1975 when he was declared the winner after the 14th round against Joe Frazier in Manila match. In 1978, Ali defeated Leon Spinks in a rematch and became the first boxer to win the heavyweight championship three times.