Cassius Clay Sr. gave his son a new red-and-white bike in 1954, which was soon stolen. The 12-year-old, Cassius Clay pledged ‘I’m gonna whup whoever stole my bike!” A policeman who was looking into the theft told young Cassius Clay that he better learn how to fight before he challenged anyone. After a brief training with Joe Martin, an instructor, Cassius won his debut match in a three-round decision. Young Cassius Clay dedicated himself to boxing with an unrivalled fervour. According to Joe Martin, Clay set himself apart by two things: He was ‘sassy’, and he outworked all the other boys.
Muhammad Ali or Cassius Clay Jr. was born in 1942 in America into a middle-class family. This black American was an endowment to his poor parents, his father a sign painter and mother a part-time cook and cleaner. Who knew one day he would be known as the greatest heavyweight champion of the 20th century! He won 56 matches and lost merely 5 in his 21 year professional career. Among those 56 matches 37 were perfect knockouts. A three-time world heavyweight champion in 1964, 1974 and 1978 died on 3rd June, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. He said that he always wanted to be ‘someone’, someone who was more than a boxer.
Ali’s career in boxing set out at the local police station, where serendipitously he met Joe Martin. Joe Martin was an officer as well as an instructor. Here he was to file a complaint but maybe God had planned Joe to become his first trainer in the field of boxing!
After he won against Sonny Liston, he converted to the Nation of Islam. He felt that the right time was yet to come to speak about his conversion. Finally, a right day came when he revealed about his conversion to Islam publicly.
Ali was an outspoken person. He spoke candidly on issues of race, religion politics etc. He spoke against the terrorist attack of 11 September, 2001. This outspokenness of his came into being due to the fact that he was a bystander of how black people in his own nation were treated. He was brought up in an environment where blacks were slaved and it was a disgrace for him to watch them at an early stage. He couldn’t see his own people die like this every single day.
So when the armed forces invited him to fight the Vietnam War, he repudiated. He never wanted to join hands with those people who were actually his alleged perpetrators. He believed in peace and equality. Subsequently, he became a contentious figure. Later on, he was sent in for trial and therefore, he was away from boxing from March 1967 to October 1970.
Apart from being a great boxer, Ali was also a great human being. George Foreman rightly called Ali “the greatest human being”. He was a devoted humanitarian and provided 232 million meals to the destitute in his nation and outside, wherever he got a chance to play. Even after retirement his charitable works didn’t come to a halt. He has contributed to Make- A-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics and lately to Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center.
He was and will remain a true inspiration for many. He was a leader for African Americans, Muslims and boxers. His fans included renowned names such as Elvis Bertrand, Russell and Nelson Mandela. He exhibited improbable courage despite physical disability in 1984. He was suffering from a respiratory disease and was declared dead at the age of 87 this year.
It is usually very rare to find a concoction like Ali who tasted success both on and off the field. One of his famous quotes is “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
Muhammad Ali consecrated his life to his incredible work. Unlike others, for example, film or sports stars who live all for fame and money but good works, he always did what he thought was right to do at that moment. His mentality was quite different from selfish and money-minded people of this world. He was a focused person and knew what he was doing.
His ultimate mission was to fight for the injustices of black and poor people and rescue them from their cages. Another of his famous quote is “Service to others is the rent you pay for room here on Earth.” He has undoubtedly and definitely lived up to what he has quoted, which proves that he was a man of his words. He will be immortalised always as an exemplar of great mankind that was once on this Earth.
Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; somebody who observes but is not involved in something
Synonyms : eyewitness, spectator
Contextual Meaning(s) : adverb; characterized by openness, and sincerity of expression, unreservedly, straightforward
Synonyms : honestly, frankly
Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; a new and unusual mixture
Synonyms : mixture, blend
Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; the act of starting something for the first time
Synonyms : introductory, launching
Contextual Meaning(s) : adjective; lacking all money, resources, and possessions necessary for subsistence
Other Meaning(s) : lacking something, lacking a particular quality, e.g.; destitute of ideas
Synonyms : poor, impoverished
Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; a natural ability or quality
Synonyms : gift, talent
Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; an ideal example of something, worthy of something being copied or imitated
Synonyms : example, model
Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; make famous forever
Synonyms : remembered, commemorate
Contextual Meaning(s) : adjective; not likely to be true or to occur or to have occurred
Synonyms : doubtful, unbelievable
Contextual Meaning(s) : adjective; amazingly impressive, extraordinarily wonderful, e.g.; a marvellous example of Baroque architecture
Synonyms : wonderful, amazing
Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; Someone who perpetrates wrongdoing
Synonyms : culprit, wrongdoer
Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; cast off, to refuse to acknowledge as belonging or pertaining to oneself
Synonyms : disown, renounce
Contextual Meaning(s) : adjective; Improperly forward or bold
Synonyms : overbold, smart
- Set out
Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; take the first step or steps in carrying out an action
Synonyms : commence, begin
Contextual Meaning(s) : adverb; in a serendipitous manner; fortunately; by lucky chance
Synonyms : accidentally, fortunately
Contextual Meaning(s) : adjective; eminent beyond or above comparison
Synonyms : matchless, nonpareil