Perhaps the greatest sportsman to have walked planet earth, Mohammad Ali, self proclaimed “Greatest Boxer” just passed on, aged 74.
Having spent five days in the Pheonix-area hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for respiratory complications, Mohammad Ali was confirmed dead minutes ago. The breathing problems he was having was reportedly made even worse by his Parkinson’s disease, diagnosed way back in the 80’s.
Known for his ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ move within the boxing ring, Mohammad Ali has been boxing favourite for the better part of the twentieth century, winning a whooping 56 out of 61 ring fights, winning 37 of those on Knock Out, and losing a meagre 5, clearly the best record held by a boxer.
Having garnered a reputation as a controversial and polarizing boxer within and outside the boxing ring, Ali was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated, and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC.
Also known as ‘the people’s Champion,’ Mohammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, a Christian. He began training at 12 years old as a boxer, and at age 22, Cassius Clay had won the world heavyweight championship in 1964, being the youngest boxer ever to win that title. And he still holds the record till date.
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Shortly after that championship, Ali joined the Nation of Islam, an African American Islamic religious movement founded in Detroit, United States, and then changed his name to Mohammad Ali.
Till date, he remains the only three-time lineal heavy weight champion, having won the title in ’64, ’74, and ’78. Ali was known as sharp mouthed, regularly taunting his opponents before each fights, with cutting speeches and sharp belittling remarks. He once said to an opponent before a fight:
“If you even dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize.”
Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome in 1984, as a result of his activities in the boxing ring, something common among long time boxers.
The Greatest is no more with us. And left to mourn him are his family, his fans, and the entire world.
More news to come. Stay tuned.