Even though his boxing career ended more than three decades ago, the cheers of “Ali, Ali” still ring in the Greatest’s ears every time he makes a public appearance. Muhammad Ali, who turned 70 years old on Jan 17, may be stricken with Parkinson’s disease and gets around by wheelchair today, but he’s still got the same energetic fighting spirit that he always had.

Everything that needs to be said and written about the great heavyweight champion has already been done. History hasn’t changed at all and the icon, formerly known as Cassius Clay, will go down in it as one of the most remarkable people to walk the face of the earth, as well as being one of its most recognizable. He inspired thousands of young men to become boxers and is still doing so today.

Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis wrote a letter to a British newspaper on Ali’s birthday calling him not only the greatest boxer to ever grace a ring, but the best ever sportsman and athlete. Lewis said he studied all of history’s best boxers while growing up, and came to the decision early on in life that Ali was the most brilliant of them all.

Lewis said Ali put boxing on the map and promoted it globally by fighting all over the world and by fighting quite often, even in exhibition matches, to help build up the sport’s popularity. He also said Ali had a huge impact on society as a whole, not just in the sports world. He was just as popular outside of the ring as he was in it.

There’s not really any need to retell the story of Ali’s career, from an Olympic gold medalist to heavyweight champion of the world unless you’re relatively young. And if you don’t know who Ali is and what he’s accomplished in his 70 years then it’s highly recommended that you check out a few You Tube videos and read several articles on his remarkable life.

His triumphs in the ring were always accomplished on the world stage. When Ali fought, millions of eyes were watching and millions of ears from America to Timbuktu were listening to every punch he threw and every punch he ducked. But Ali transcended sport. His boxing career represents just a fraction of what Ali stands for. He was stripped of his title and suspended from the sport for three years after refusing induction into the U.S. Army and stood up for what he believed was right, even if it meant he had to go to prison and give up his career.

Ali’s birthday predictably launched debates around the world as to if he truly was the greatest boxer ever. Some people say his record of 56-5 with 37 Kos shows he lost five fights. It’s true, but he lost three of his last four bouts before retiring. All five of his losses came to men who were at one time in their careers the heavyweight champion of the world. These were Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Leon Spinks, Larry Holmes, and Trevor Berbick. He avenged his losses to Frazier, Norton, and Spinks, and beat both Frazier and Norton twice. However, he was at the end of his career when losing to Holmes and Berbick in his last two fights.

There are thousands of Ali stories to be told and with five parties planned to celebrate his birthday, including television specials and documentaries, we’ll get the chance to hear many of them. But even though it’s more subdued these days, Ali’s amazing journey continues. And the world’s a better place because of it.

Written by Diehard Sports via FeedCrossing
Written by FeedCrossing, Content News Source (Archive/RSS)

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