September 18, 2014 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports)
Muhammad Ali – The Greatest of All-Time
The Greatest City of All-Time Louisville KY.
When you grow up in Louisville, KY. you learn that Louisville is known for two things, Muhammad Ali and the Kentucky Derby. Mr. Ali was born Cassius Clay Jr. to the proud parents of Cassius Clay Sr. and Odessa Grady Clay on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, KY. He grew up with his family in a small white house in western Louisville, KY. Ali’s father, Cassius Clay Sr. was a great artist known for painting religious pictures and well-known businesses. Early on in life Ali and his father would paint some famous building sides together.
The Greatest Learns to Box from local police officer
Ali’s mother Odessa Grady Clay would often tell the story of how Muhammad Ali got interested in boxing. Over the years we learned that when Ali was just 12 years old he and a childhood friend attended the Louisville Home Show to partake in the free hot-dogs and popcorn available to the visitors. Upon his return from the event he noticed someone had taken his bicycle he rode up on. This made Muhammad Ali very upset, so he went to report the incident to a police officer who worked during the Louisville Home Show Named Joe Martin. Joe Martin was also a boxing coach. Martin said Ali wanted to beat the person who stole his bike. That was when Martin informed Ali that he might wanted to learn how to fight first. Joe Martin would help train Ali in the evenings, six days a week after Ali got out of school. When Martin’s Gym would close at 8pm, Ali would find another gym to train in. The early pictures showed a young slim and confident boy determined to becoming the The Greatest boxer of All-Time.
The Greatest enters the OLYMPICS
It was in the 1960 Olympics that Muhammad Ali became famous around the world as a boxer. He was just 18 years old, with an unconventional fighting style. Ali would use his speed and footwork to avoid punches. He would also be known for keeping his hands below his waist instead of up around his chin like many fighters were taught. The 1960 Olympics is were held in Rome, and this is where a young Cassius Clay would win the light heavyweight gold medal in a unanimous decision against Poland’s Zbigniew Pietrzyskowski. This made Ali the best young amateur in the world. Another famous story is that after coming home to Louisville, KY, Ali would throw is gold medal into the Ohio River after being faced with racial discrimination in the country he had just represented overseas in Rome. His current wife Lonnie Ali has been asked many times about what Ali’s answer is to the story of him throwing the gold medal into the Ohio River.
“He’d say yes,” Lonnie said. “And then sometimes he doesn’t answer. He never says no. I’ve never heard him say no.”
The Greatest Enters the profession of boxing
After the Olympic success a group was formed by local Kentucky businessmen to sponsor Ali for professional fights. Ali signed his first professional contract with the local businessmen and received a 10,000 signing bonus. The Louisville Sponsoring Group paid his expenses and got a piece of his winnings too. His first fights were not very impressive, but he became famous because of the things he would do to bring attention to himself. The attention he received from talking trash, bragging, and predicting what round his opponent would go down, would be the reason he earned the nickname The Louisville Lip. Here are some of the lines he would say to help promote some of his fights.
“I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale, only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”
“There’s not a man alive who can whup me. I’m too fast. I’m too smart. I’m too pretty. I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.”
“If you dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize.”
The Greatest makes the impossible happen
February 25, 1964 is the date of the impossible happening for the young Ali. Ali was scheduled to fight for the Heavyweight title of the world against then Heavyweight champion Charles “Sonny” Liston. No one thought Ali had a chance at winning this fight. This was a fight that many predicted would end the Louisville Lip’s career. Sonny Liston would enter the fight looking for the quick knock out. When Liston became frustrated and fatigue from the quickness of Ali, he refused to come out of his corner for the 7th round giving the young Cassius Clay is first Heavyweight Championship Belt. Ali would run around the ring pointing and yelling ” I shook up the World” “I shook up the World”
THE GREATEST & THE NATION OF ISLAM
The other thing no one knew was that Cassius Clay had become interested in The Nation of Islam. During that era, The Nation of Islam was a very controversial group who was led by the The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Elijah’s number one lieutenant at the time was Minister Malcolm X. Cassius Clay had become very close to Malcolm X and would go to watch him speak on many of occasions. Malcolm X would inspire and mold the young boxer to become a Muslim in the Nation of Islam. After defeating Sonny Liston in the Title bout, Ali would announce to the World his conversion to Islam. This is the day he would change his old slave name of Cassius Clay to the name he is known for today Muhammad Ali. The shock and anger from the public of his conversion cannot be explained in this day and time. Many people were very disappointed in this decision of Ali, because they perceived The Nation of Islam views to be racist. In the 1960’s it was not a popular decision during that era of time. Many people even viewed the decision as dangerous and feared for Ali’s life at the time. It was The Honorable Elijah Muhammad who name Cassius Clay Jr, Muhammad Ali as a reward for winning the Heavyweight World Championship. The Nation of Islam gained control of Ali’s life and most importantly his finances. Ali would follow the rules and advice of the Nation of Islam for years to come.
The Greatest Gets Banned from Boxing
Ali would go on to become a super-star type athlete. He was known all over the world as Heavy-Weight Champion. He would tell everyone who’d listen that he was the greatest boxer of all-time. In 1965, Ali would knock out Sonny Liston in their rematch fight in Lewiston, Maine. By 1967 Ali would refused to be inducted in the Army, after receiving a draft notice for the Vietnam War. Although Ali could have received special treatment by using his boxing skills to entertain the Troops, he’s religious beliefs disagreed with killing, even in war. Ali was quoted as saying “No Viet Cong Ever Called me Nigger”. 1967 in the month of June, Ali was found guilty of draft evasion. He was sentenced to 5 years in jail and fined over $10,000. Ali remained out of jail on bond while fighting his appeal, but was stripped of his title and banned from professional boxing for the next 3 1/2 years. Ali would lectured throughout the country while watching his heavyweight title switch from fighter to fighter. The American Public would become dissatisfied with the Vietnam war over the years, and Ali was able to get his banned from boxing lifted in the early 1970’s.
Conclusion of The Greatest
After the hard years of being banned, Ali would go onto fight Joe Frazier in 3 legendary fights in where Ali would proclaim Joe Frazier as the 2nd Greatest Boxer of All-time. It was not until October 30, 1974 in the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire, Africa against hard-hitting George Foreman that Ali would regained his Heavyweight title against an opponent not even his corner thought he could beat. Ali is now 72 years of age and fights with just as much dignity and pride for his health against the Parkinson’s Disease he battles daily. In the last 50 plus years since shocking the world against Sonny Liston for the Heavyweight Championship, Ali has proven to be exactly what he said he would be during that first title match, “The Greatest of All-Time!”
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