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Ali floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee with all comers. Ali opponents expressed their thoughts on the man that called himself the greatest in the documentary Facing Ali - (Network Entertainment, Lions Gate Entertainment, and Spike Sports in association with Muhammad Ali Enterprises photo)



Ali repeatedly bragged about how pretty he was. After 21 years in the ring, 61 fights on his way to compiling a 56 W 5 L record that never changed - (Library of Congress - New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper - photo)



Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984 but his legend remains - (Anthony DiPierro/U.S. federal government photo)





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The Louisville Lip Hit Hard with his Mouth & His Hands - He was despised in his own country for his refusal to serve in the US military but was adored abroad. He stuck to his principals and eventually won over his detractors. His bold manner was copied giving strength to the weak


Tuesday January 17, 2012


When it comes to icons in sports Muhammad Ali stands tall among them all. The man who claims to be the greatest of all time turned 70 today. In his century Ali is looked upon as being one of the greatest people of all time not only for his accomplishments in the sport of boxing but more for the principles that he stood for.

Who would have thought back in the 60's when the then Cassius Clay turned Muhammad Ali took on the US government and refused to be drafted into military service. He's not afraid to fight as he proved in the ring in taking on all comers including some of the greatest group of fighters in any era.

His rationale in refusing to serve was he had no problems with the people of Vietnam they didn't do anything to him. He reasoned why should he fight for a country where he's called a nigger. He felt he had more in common with the Vietnamese since they also were people of color and were being tormented by outsiders in protecting their country.

Ali's fights with Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and George Foreman are some of the greatest fights of all time. His quick quips and animated persona gained the attention of the world. To many he was the greatest and his barbs brought joy and laughter to many oppressed people internationally. James Brown sang it, I'm black and I'm proud," and Ali lives it.

It was he that influenced the black athlete and later athletes of all nationalities to say that they were the greatest as well as being extremely vocal about their affirmations. By his actions and survival in a bitter world of discrimination Ali can be credited to giving strength to many who felt weak, abused and unnoticed. Where many disrespected him in his own country he was revered in others.

When I was traveling through Europe in the mid 70's I visited Florence, Italy. While bargaining for a Florentine leather bag the vendor became upset with me and blurted out, "You Americans come here and steal our art. The only Americans that are worth anything are Angela Davis (the then human rights activist) and Muhammad Ali.

I was stunned and didn't by the bag not out of disrespect but because I didn't have the money. What came out of the exchange was realizing how much Ali was loved by people in foreign lands more than he was in his own country.

Eventually that sentiment changed as Americans became more enlightened about the illegal Vietnam War and came around to respect his point of view. Who would have thought that a person who was once considered a draft dodger and a traitor to his country would represent his country and carry the Olympic torch up the stadium steps and light the beginning of the 1996 Olympic Games n Atlanta, Georgia?

Ali states (in his 1975 autobiography) that he threw his Olympic gold medal which he won in the 1960 Olympics in Rome into the Ohio River after being refused service at a 'whites-only' restaurant, and fighting with a white gang. Whether this is true is still debated, although he was given a replacement medal at a basketball intermission during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Ali repeatedly bragged about how pretty he was. After 21 years in the ring, 61 fights on his way to compiling a 56 W 5 L record that never changed

I had the pleasure of meeting Ali at an ACE Awards party when he was with Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. Having Parkinson disease he didn't speak but he approached me, threw a fake punch and smiled. His magnetism and greatness was felt as he shook my hand. As many punches as he took some are surprised that he has lived to be 70 years-old today. Muhammad Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1984 but his legend remains.

Ali defeated every top heavyweight in his era, which has been called the golden age of heavyweight boxing. Ali was named "Fighter of the Year" by Ring Magazine more times than any other fighter, and was involved in more Ring Magazine "Fight of the Year" bouts than any other fighter. He is an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and holds wins over seven other Hall of Fame inductees. He is also one of only three boxers to be named "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated.

In 1978, three years before Ali's permanent retirement, the Board of Aldermen in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky voted 6–5 to rename Walnut Street to Muhammad Ali Boulevard. This was controversial at the time, as within a week 12 of the 70 street signs were stolen. Earlier that year, a committee of the Jefferson County Public Schools considered renaming Central High School in his honor, but the motion failed to pass. At any rate, in time, Muhammad Ali Boulevard—and Ali himself—came to be well accepted in his hometown.

In 1993, the Associated Press reported that Ali was tied with Babe Ruth as the most recognized athletes, out of over 800 dead or alive athletes, in America. The study, conducted by Nye Lavalle's Sports Marketing Group, found that over 97% of Americans, over 12-years of age, identified both Ali and Ruth.

We can only say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the GREATEST.


For Ali fans there is a MUST BUY video of his career titled Facing Ali. The film shows some clips of some of the great fights in his career and interviews with his opponents and their thoughts about him. Interviews include boxers George Chuvalo Sir Henry Cooper, Howard Cosell (archive), George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Sonny Liston (archive), Ron Lyle, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers, Leon Spinks, Ernie Terrell, and Malcolm X (archive). Joe Frazier was the only person that expressed his disgust with Ali. The odd thing is Frazier passed away this past November at the age of 67 while Ali lives on. The good news is that they resolved their differences before Frazier passed.

Cooper briefly discusses the cumulative effects of boxing on Muhammad Ali's health. He states that Ali suffers from "Parkinson's Syndrome" rather than Parkinson's Disease. Cooper cites Ali suffering frequent blows to the back of the head. George Chuvalo stated that Ali's condition is either from boxing or a predisposition for the disease.

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