No better to kick things off than to talk about the most inspirational sports figure of all time…
Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay into an African American family in Louisville. He started his boxing training at a tender age of 12. He won a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in 1960. This was his first record. Thereupon he started performing as a professional boxer. As Cassius Clay, he won the WBC and WBA titles in the year 1964. Later on, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali after being an Islamic. He became an inspirational figure for the Afro-American community during the Civil Rights.
After his initial victory in the Summer Olympics, WBC and WBA in the early 1960s, he couldn’t participate in boxing championships for around 4 years owing to his arrest that followed his draft evasion charges. He opposed the Vietnam War and denied to join the U.S. Military. He was back in the ring in 1970. He lost his first fight against heavyweight champion Joe Frazier in the year 1971. However, he won fighting the same champion in the year 1974 and his victory offered him lots of fame. Throughout his career, he has won many titles. He had won the WBA heavyweight championship 3 times in his career. He was also 6 times winner of the Ring Magazine’s prestigious title of Fighter of the Year. He was honored with International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. He also won the Fighter of the Year award by the BWAA. In the year 2005, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2002 he was awarded the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ali had decided to retire several times in his career, but every time he made a comeback. However, his final fight was in the year 1981 which he lost against Trevor Berbick.
Media and controversies
Ali has faced lots of controversies associated with his personal life and conversion. He had openly opposed the US government’s war policies. Also, his arguments in the ring and trash talks created lots of publicity. However, all the controversies and even his arrest made him more popular on an international level. He died in 2016 but even today, Muhammad Ali and his life history continue to inspire sports fans across the world.