The Greatest of All Time

Published on 23 January 2023 at 21:26

In honor of the birthday of the greatest boxer and humanitarian of all time, I would like to discuss the
aura that is Muhammad Ali. Born, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.( January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016),
Muhammad Ali introduced a new wave of heavyweight to boxing. He gave the world a style and
dazzle that many try and fail to emulate. His greatness is such that all fans and pundits alike
place him as a top 2 fighter, regardless of weight. Most times, he is not number 2. He saved
lives, offered his own, and because of that he is great. But how great?

The Ali of the 1960’s was a fast, elusive, fleet footed workhorse. Well known for dodging blows
with absolutely no defense, just movement. He danced around Patterson and peppered him
with straight rights. He made the fearsome “Bear” Sonny Liston look listless. was heavyweight
champion at 22. He would rhyme pre fight promos against his opponents, and then pick the to
dismantle them. Newer fans to combat sports may recall this in Connor McGregor’s early
career. He was the undefeated heir to the throne left cold by Rocky Marciano. Then, he gave it
up in his mid twenties. He refused being drafted into the Vietnam war saying, “ You want me to
go across the world and kill folk, but you won’t stand up for my rights and religious beliefs at
home”. If for this and nothing else, he deserves more than respect, but adoration.

At the time of Ali’s refusal to the United States draft and subsequent suspension from boxing, Ali
was the highest paid heavyweight champion in history. Ali returned in October 1970. He was still
great, but in a different way. Gone was the speedy fighter. He didn’t dance anymore. He didn’t
float like a butterfly. But he could still sting like a bee. Wars with George Foreman, Joe Frazier,
and Ken Norton showed that Muhammad Ali was still the best of his era, but not with being
elusive. He could take all the punches. Whether it be the onset of Parkinson’s, age, or time
away from the ring, Ali was not the same fighter. But why is he remembered as such?

Often people Muhammad Ali, they division of hybrid version who possesses the speed and
granite center both. What is the reason for behind this Mandela effect? He has the same name
for sure. The body matches. But the skills are different. This newer version also did something
he wasn’t capable of doing before. He lost! He lost three times in what should be considered his
prime. It is because Muhammad Ali represented an era. He was an unapologetically black man
who drew the ire of whites. At a time when race was a blatant and accepted point of derision
globally, this black man was hated most of all. This era of Ali talked a man from jump in ng out
of a window, when onlookers we’re jeering and goading the Amanda into suicide. Ali went to
Iran and offered himself as a trade for hostages. He was the same. He was still better than
everyone. But now, he was a hero. If he lost, it didn’t matter. He could win back the title
whenever he chose. And he did: twice.

Impact. That must be it. The man cut promos like Gorgeous George did. He showboated and
styles and profiled like Rick Flair. Ali kicked ass like we do in our imaginations. His philosophy of

fighting, leaning towards hit and don’t get hit, inspired Floyd Mayweather Jr. Swag, talent,
charisma, and a penchant to win are all things that are looked for in heroes. But when one man
has it all is when that career transcends time. The last two fights of Ali’s career only count in the
essence that he tried to win. The values of trying and failing, and persevering against larger
does in and out of the ring have etched the silhouette of a legend who engulfs what any fighter
mythical or not can do, Muhammad Ali included. That is not an indictment against Muhammad
Ali or any fighter or person of interest. It is just rarified air for a person to be judged as an
embodiment of their entire life while living. And in passing, the legend is no different.

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