Boxing is a he-mans sport, more particularly heavyweight boxing. It has a glamour that is hard to beat. The icing on the cake is professional heavy weight boxing and the world champion is a man who is adulated all over the world.
The world heavy weight boxing crown is a much sought after title and many legendary names like Joe Loiuis, Rocky Marciano, Ben Johnson among other have held this title. Most of the time the title has been held by an American of the negroid race. One boxer who has left an indelible mark is Muhammad Ali. He was born a black christian and named Cassius Clay. Clay was brought up in an atmosphere of racial prejudice and he found that as a black his opportunities were limited. In addition he faced discrimination at every count. This perhaps had a deep effect on his psyche and later he converted to Islam with the name of Muhammad Ali.
Ali burst on the boxing world by bragging a lot. He had the gift of the gab and he used it to good advantage. That won him a bout against Sonny Liston. In the first bout Ali knocked out Liston and laid claim to the world title. They met again but Ali again floored Liston with a simple punch, which in history has come to be known as the phantom punch.
But Ali has a rare distinction. He is the only man to have won a heavy weight title three times. Floyd Patterson won it twice , but in a bout with Ali was knocked out. Ali met two other legendary fighters in George Foreman, and Joe Frazier. These were legendary battles, but Ali prevailed over them.
Earlier Ali was stripped of his boxing title as he refused to go to Vietnam with the US army. But he won it back. This was also the period that Ali turned to Islam and had 4 wives. Ali retired undefeated from the ring and took to charity work for Islam. But presently he suffers from Parkinson’s disease and is mostly confined to his residence.
Ali was definitely a great boxer, though Americans are hard put to explain why their icon converted to Islam. Despite this Ali ranks as perhaps the greatest boxer of all time. His adage was ‘dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee’. This was Ali at his best when he entered the ring.