Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Saluting the Greatest - Happy 70th, Muhammad Ali























Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.; January 17, 1942) the American former professional Boxer, Philanthropist and Social Activist Considered a cultural icon, Ali was both idolized and vilified.
Originally known as Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964, subsequently converting to Sunni Islam in 1975, and more recently practicing Sufism. In 1967, three years after Ali had won the World Heavyweight Championship, he was publicly vilified for his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S. Military, based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. Ali stated, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong... No Viet Cong ever called me nigger" – one of the more telling remarks of the era.
Widespread protests against the Vietnam War w had not yet begun, but with that one phrase, Ali articulated the reason to oppose the war for a generation of young Americans, and his words served as a touchstone for the racial and antiwar upheavals that would rock the 1960s. Ali's example inspired Martin Luther King Jr. – who had been reluctant to alienate the Johnson Administration and its support of the civil rights agenda – to voice his own opposition to the war for the first time.
Ali would eventually be arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges; he was stripped of his boxing title, and his boxing license was suspended. He was not imprisoned, but did not fight again for nearly four years while his appeal worked its way up to the U.S.Supreme Court, where it was eventually successful.
Ali would go on to become the first and only three-time Lineal World Heavyweight Champion.
Nicknamed "The Greatest," Ali was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were three with rival Joe Frazier, which are considered among the greatest in boxing history, and one with George Foreman, where he finally regained his stripped titles seven years later. Ali was well known for his unorthodox fighting style, which he described as "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", and employing techniques such as the Ali Shuffle and the rope-a-dope. Ali had brought beauty and grace to the most uncompromising of sports and through the wonderful excesses of skill and character, he had become the most famous athlete in the world. He was also known for his pre-match hype, where he would "trash talk" opponents, often with rhymes. In 1999, Ali was crowned "Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated and Sports Personality of the Year by the BBC..

























Clay won six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, an Amatuer Athletic National Title, and the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Clay's amateur record was 100 wins with five losses.
Ali states (in his 1975 autobiography) that he threw his Olympic Gold Medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at a 'whites-only' restaurant, and fighting with a white gang. Whether this is true is still debated, although he was given a replacement medal at a basketball intermission during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where he lit the torch to start the games.

























Ali is generally considered to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time by boxing commentators and historians. Ring Magazine, a prominent boxing magazine, named him number 1 in a 1998 ranking of greatest heavyweights from all eras.
Ali was named the second greatest fighter in boxing history by ESPN.com behind only welterweight and middleweight great Sugar Ray Robinson In December 2007, ESPN listed Ali second in its choice of the greatest heavyweights of all time, behind Joe Louis.
Muhammad Ali has been married four times and has seven daughters and two sons. Ali met his first wife,Cocktail Waitress Sonji Roi, approximately one month before they married on August 14, 964. Roi's objections to certain Muslim customs in regard to dress for women contributed to the breakup of their marriage. They divorced on January 10, 1966.
On August 17, 1967, Ali married Belinda Boyd. After the wedding, she, like Ali, converted to Islam and more recently to Sufism, changed her name to Khalilah Ali, though she was still called Belinda by old friends and family. They had four children: Maryum (b. 1968), Jamillah and Rasheda (b. 1970), and Muhammad Ali Jr. (b. 1972).
In 1975, Ali began an affair with Veronica Porsche, an actress and model. By the summer of 1977, Ali's second marriage was over and he had married Veronica. At the time of their marriage, they had a baby girl, Hana, and Veronica was pregnant with their second child. Their second daughter, Laila, was born in December 1977. By 1986, Ali and Veronica were divorced.
On November 19, 1986, Ali married Yolanda Ali. They had been friends since 1964 in Louisville. They have one son, Asaad Amin, who they adopted when Amin was five.
Ali was a resident of Cherry Hill, New Jersey in the early 1970s. Ali has two other daughters, Miya and Khaliah, from extramarital relationships.
As a world champion boxer and social activist, Ali has been the subject of numerous books, films and other creative works. In 1963, he released an album of spoken word on Columbia Records titled I am the Greatest! He has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated on 37 different occasions, second only to Michael Jordan. He appeared in the documentary film Black Rodeo (1972) riding both a horse and a bull. His autobiography The Greatest: My Own Story, written with Richard Durham, was published in 1975. In 1977 the book was adapted into a film called The Greatest, in which Ali played himself and Ernest Borgnine played Angelo Dundee. When We Were Kings, a 1996 documentary about the Rumble in the Jungle, won an Academy Award and the 2001 biopic Ali garnered an Oscar nomination for Will Smith's portrayal of the lead role.
For contributions to the entertainment industry, Muhammed Ali was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.
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