Muhammad Ali

Feb. 7, 2005, midnight | By Fidan Karimova | 15 years, 9 months ago

Photo: Muhammad Ali, famed boxer.

Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Clay on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. One of the most influential moments in his young life occurred when Ali was 12. He met policeman Joe Martin, after Ali's bike was stolen, and the young boy told the officer that he wished to beat up the person who took his bicycle. Martin suggested, however, that before Ali took any action, he should first learn how to box and defend himself. From then on, Ali began to attend Martin's boxing gym regularly. In a short period of time, he became the best in his age group; by age 18, he had won all the possible amateur titles and qualified to participate in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, from where he brought back a gold medal.

What made Ali particularly different from other boxers were his swift feet. When he would get into the boxing ring, people would marvel at how it seemed he was dancing, while still being able to throw quick punches at his opponents. Another unique feature Ali possessed was the ability to predict precisely in which round his opponent would fall. In 1963, Ali met Drew Brown, who became his personal motivator; it was with Brown's help that the slogan "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee" was created.

In 1964 Ali failed the mental aptitude test to be in the army. However, when the army lowered the level in 1970 because the U.S. needed more soldiers in the Vietnam War, Ali was qualified to participate in the war. He appealed for conscientious objector status because according his religion, Islam, Ali was not allowed to fight in war. When asked by the media what he thought about the war, he simply said, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong." For refusing to join the army, he was banned from boxing, forced to pay a fine and was sentenced to five years in jail.

He was later able to get permission to continue fighting and took to the ring again. When he returned, Joe Frazier was currently the heavyweight champion, and the first time Ali faced Frazier, Ali lost. He then set a goal to beat Frazier and went on to win ten fights straight in order to reach the status where he could fight Frazier. Ali, however, did not prepare for the fight with Ken Norton because Norton was a novice boxer. During the battle, Norton broke Ali's jaw. Ali then underwent a great upset but made up his mind to make a comeback. He kept his promise and beat Frazier two times, advancing to the world title fight with George Foreman, who had also beaten Frazier in his turn.

After his successful career in boxing, Ali retired but decided to fight one last time with Larry Holmes, who had been his sparring partner when he was just starting out. At the same time, Ali was being tested by a doctor, who told him that he would have problems speaking accurately from time to time. The doctor gave him permission to fight, however, but the physician did not know that this symptom was a sign of a severe disease, and blows to the head could worsen the problem. In the end, his fight with Holmes had to be cancelled because Ali was too exhausted to fight because of the drugs he was taking for a hypothyroid condition he did not even have.

Ali is now officially retired and has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. His daughter, Laila Ali, is following in her father's footsteps and is an accomplished boxer like her father, who is to this day known as one of the world's greatest boxers.

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Fidan Karimova. Fidan is a SENIOR!!! She is happy to be a part of the Silver Chips staff, considering that it's the best high school newspaper ever! She would also like to point out that she is one of two Azerbaijani students at Blair and proud to … More »

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