The day that Muhammad Ali, formerly known as Cassius Clay decided to be a boxer was the day the world found itself a new hero. As a young African-American boy seeking out revenge for his stolen bicycle, his decision to stand up for himself and learn how to fight would propel him to become one of boxing’s greatest legends.
Today, Evolve Daily examines 4 Reasons Why Muhammad Ali Is The Most Inspirational Martial Artist Of All Time:
1) Because he is the G.O.A.T of boxing.
At the age of 18, Ali was 100-8 (amateur boxing). He had already won two Golden Gloves championships and went on to win the gold medal in the 1960 Olympics. Throughout his career, Ali would continue to receive many accolades, including the WBC and WBA World Heavyweight title (which he successfully defended 10 times), the NABF Heavyweight title, and The Ring World Heavyweight title.
In 1967, due to his resistance to conscription during the Vietnam War, Ali was stripped of his titles and suspended for three years. After being reinstated with his boxing license, Ali went on to defeat Jerry Quarry for The Ring World Heavyweight title via knockout.
2) Because he stands up for what he believes in.
In the early sixties, then Cassius Clay became heavily involved in The Nation Of Islam, an African-American organization that proudly asserted their equal rights as citizens of America. This was at a time when tensions were high, especially with regards to race. His affiliation led Clay to change his religion, and later on his name, to Muhammad Ali. He would go on to fight for his cause, which, a few years later, turned into opposition against the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, because of this, Ali was sentenced to 5 years in prison, fined $10,000 and banned from boxing for 3 years.
Throughout his career, Ali would never shy away from the press, ready to voice his beliefs to the world, no matter how unpopular they were at the time. Although this would eventually cost him his titles and boxing license, Ali believed that they were secondary to his causes. Through this time, Ali showed tremendous courage, casting influence on those who were facing oppression. He gave them the hope and strength that they needed to stand up for their rights, proving that anything is possible.
3) Because he is a hero.
Everyone talks about how Ali seemed larger than life. Even in the beginning of his boxing career, his constant quips and taunts earned him the nickname “The Louisville Lip”. Although he had this reputation going for him, he was also known for his endearing relationship with children. He would never hesitate to entertain them, donating the entire proceeds from his public training sessions to the children.
Much later on in his life, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed Ali as a UN ambassador to the world to draw attention to the needs of children and in the cause of tolerance and peace. Many people saw Ali as their hero, a good man who had been betrayed by his country because of his beliefs: freedom and equality; what America supposedly stood for.
To this day, Ali serves as an inspiration to many, especially the oppressed and downtrodden. Even after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Ali continued to use his illness as a platform to spread awareness about his disease, promoting positivity to those who need it most.
4) Because of his unrelenting warrior spirit.
After being out for almost 70 months, Ali returned to the ring, despite claims that he was no longer the greatest. He proved his critics wrong by knocking out Jerry Quarry in the third round. Determined to get back into the thick of things, Ali faced Frazier in what was known as “The Fight Of The Century.” Although he lost the fight, Ali would go on to win his next 10 fights.
In fact, his rope-a-dope boxing style is also testament to his warrior spirit. With this style, Ali would lean on the ropes and succumb to constant beating until his opponent tired himself out. This gave Ali the opportunity to surprise them by answering their punches with reserved power in the later rounds. In 1975, Ali would meet Frazier in the ring once again and finally defeat him.
Despite the many setbacks Ali faced in his career, he remained unfazed, determined to prove that he was truly the greatest, despite all odds. Never has a boxing legend made such an impact as Muhammad Ali did. Through his courageous efforts both inside and outside the ring, his unwavering passion for fighting for equality, Ali’s status as a hero will forever be cemented in history. There is no doubt that he is truly “the greatest” there ever was.