Legendary world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali has died at the age of 74 or respiratory complications. Yesterday he was put on life support but it wasn’t enough for the Champ.
Muhammad Ali was a legendary hero for several generations including myself. His legendary quote and favorite saying rings through my head, that is, “I float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee.” He made those words famous throughout his amazing boxing career.
Ali had other attributes other than boxing. He often stood up for the underdog and was the voice for those who have no voice. For that too he will be remembered. He inspired generations of youth to begin their own boxing careers and he was the hero and role model for many of them. He will not soon be forgotten.
Ali was a Muslim much of his life and a funeral will be held today in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky in accordance with Muslim tradition of burying the dead within 24 hours.
As a young man Ali learned to value hard work, how to act with conviction, and how to have compassion at the same time. This was a truly MASCULINE (not macho) man! He was strong yet tender, ruthless in his fights yet compassionate, stubborn at times but wise and intelligent. These are the traits of a truly masculine man and Ali not only displayed them because he lived them every day of his life.
In recent times Ali fought what was perhaps his greatest foe Parkinson’s Disease but even then that foe did not stop the Champ from moving on with his life. He often appeared in public and he knew the world loved him no matter what. He also knew that he was the role model, inspiration, and hero for millions and therefore could not hide himself from the public eye. This was a GREAT MAN without a doubt.
Ali’s name became a household word in the homes of millions and even billions. Formerly, he was known as Cassius Clay and he often thundered to the thrill of the crowd that he was the greatest. And indeed he was! He also did a little show biz and fit right in. When he stepped on stage the audience most often went wild.
Ali began boxing at age 12 after his new bicycle was stolen and he vowed to the police that he’d find who did it a whup ’em. He was only 89 pounds at the time but that inner fire and spirit we often saw in the boxing ring was already burning brightly within him. In 1960 he won the light weight gold medal in the Olympics.
Sadly, in those days America was full of racism and blacks still had their own water fountains and restrooms separate from whites. That didn’t stop Ali either! Sadly, after a fight with a white street gang in anger he threw his gold medal into the Ohio River almost having given up on America and his career. Later, however, he said he simply lost the medal.
This man was one of the Greats and he will be missed. The fire that burned within his soul even in his last days was amazing. He went from an 89 lbs weakly to the world’s #1 strongman. He broke down barriers socially and racially. He stands in the same league as Dr Martin Luther King and others and I’m sure he’s up there in Paradise with Dr King. One of the last GREAT MEN has passed….let the world mourn…………a resounding YES Ali….you were the GREATEST and still are in the minds of many including my own!!