Saturday, 4 June 2016

Muhammad Ali, boxing great and cultural icon, dead at age 74!

Former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, whose record-setting boxing career, unprecedented flair for showmanship, and controversial stands made him one of the best-known figures of the 20th century, died on Friday aged 74. 

Ali’s death was confirmed in a statement issued by family spokesman Bob Gunnell late Friday evening, a day after he was admitted to a Phoenix-area hospital with a respiratory ailment. “A part of me slipped away, the greatest piece,” George Foreman, a former heavyweight boxer who fought Ali, said on Twitter after the news of Ali’s death. 
Boxer Roy Jones Jr. also said in a Tweet: “My heart is deeply saddened yet both appreciative and relieved that the greatest is now resting in the greatest place.” 
Ali had long suffered from Parkinson’s syndrome, which impaired his speech and made the once-graceful athlete almost a prisoner in his own body. Ali proclaimed himself “the greatest” - as well as “the boldest, the prettiest, the most superior, most scientific, most skillfull.” 
Few could argue with him at his peak in the 1960s. With his dancing feet and quick fists, he could - as he put it - float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He was the first person to win the heavyweight championship three times. 
Ali became much more than a colorful and interesting athlete. He spoke boldly against racism in the ‘60s, as well as the Vietnam War. Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 17, 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., a name shared with a 19th century slavery abolitionist. 
He later changed his name after his conversion to Islam. Ali is survived by his wife, the former Lonnie Williams, who knew him when she was a child in Louisville, along with his nine children. 
********************************************
Muhammad Ali was not only a boxing champion, he was a championship talker. Following are some quotations from Ali:

             * “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
             * “It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”
             * “Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.”
             * “At home I am a nice guy but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”
             * “I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning, and throw thunder in jail. You know I’m bad. Just last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.”
             * “I’m not the greatest. I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ‘em out, I pick the round. I’m the boldest, the prettiest, the most superior, most scientific, most skillfullest fighter in the ring today.”
             * “I know I got it made while the masses of black people are catchin’ hell but as long as they ain’t free, I ain’t free.”
             * “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”
             * “I may not talk perfect white talk-type English but I give you wisdom.”
             * “If Ali says a mosquito can pull a plow, don’t ask how. Hitch him up!”
             * “I’m the onliest person that can speak to everybody in the whole world. My name is known in Serbia, Pakistan, Morocco. These are countries that don’t follow the Kentucky Derby.”
             * “Sometimes I feel a little sad because I can see how some things I said could upset some people. But I did not deliberately try to hurt anyone. The hype was part of my job, like skipping rope.”
             * “Now the things that once were so effortless - my strong voice and the quickness of my movements - are more difficult. But I get up every day and try to live life to the fullest because each day is a gift from God.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Secure your future!